Williamsburg: Not just for hipsters anymore

Ok, yes there are a lot of hipsters here but just forget about that for now…there are better things to worry about. Williamsburg is very trendy but it still has great energy. Hurry because it won’t have this feeling once the neighborhood is over crowded; there are a ton of new high-rises (some 40 stories high) being built all along the East River and in its’ neighbor neighborhood Greenpoint. Williamsburg is a fabulous place to live or stroll in for a short (half or full-day) visit with family and/or friends. Best things about Williamsburg, Brooklyn are: 1) that you are only 5-10 minutes from Manhattan on the L and 2) it makes you feel like raising your kid in the city is a great decision because you can enjoy city life and still have a “community” of neighbors that greet your child by name as you walk in and out of business. The neighborhood is great because it has both coffee shops, bars, restaurants, deli’s for the single life –style AND enough family-friendly businesses, cool parks to play & picnic in to keep families busy. One can expose their children to Hebrew in South Williamsburg or Polish in Greenpoint. The following are some of the great places that one should visit while taking a trip to visit:

Flying Squirrel – this store moved to nearby Greenpoint in October 2013 Want your kid to be a cool “hand-me-down kid” that knows how you help the environment? This would be the first place to check out. I recommend this fresh, nonchalant store to any parent that wants their kid in cute clothes but also wants to help the earth have less things in it. Flying Squirrel carries new and nearly new necessities for infants, kids and parents including toys, clothing and books by local designers, artists, smaller manufacturers and more. They have a pretty good book selection, great rain gear for kids, baby ergos and other carriers (new and barely used). And one can always find a “MUST” toy like tricycles, bicycle or bouncers that are expensive but your child will grow out of quickly. One will always walk out with a great item for a great deal! Check out their awesome statement about why the store exists on their website. Phone: (718) 218-7775 www.flyingsquirrelbaby.com

Sweet William Sweet William is nothing like Flying Squirrel but it is still a gorgeous store that I recommend visiting. Clothing from Sweet William will look amazing on any child. Your child will walk out of anywhere looking like he or she belongs on the cover of an Anthropologie catalog or in Cookie magazine. Sweet William carries American and European lines such as Tuss, Black Rabbit, Bluebird, Flora, Henri and Wovenplay and adorable stuffed animals from Hansa. I hear that they also serve tea! Clothing ranges anywhere from $20-200. Sweet William is located at 112 North 6th Street between Berry & Wythe. Phone: (718) 218-6946

Area Kids & Mini-Mall Area Kids has a store near you! Apparently an Area Kids store is in the surrounding neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill & Park Slope! Well, this Williamsburg-based store is located in one teeny “mini-mall” that has small mom & pop stores with super-cute products. Area carries cute casual clothing for babies and toddlers and a unique selection of toys. They have a lot of cool t-shirts. If visiting the neighborhood for the first time with your child you can easily spend 1-2 hours in this mini-mall. You can grab a bagel breakfast in the Verb café, take cool photo stickers in the hall of the mall, checkout art or children’s books at Spoonbill, the independent bookstore and finally hit the store that is in every Brooklyn family neighborhood. Area Kids also has a play table for kids to engage in puzzles while you shop. Area Kids is located at 218 Bedford Avenue near North 5th. Phone: (718) 218-8647 www.areakids.com

New York Muffins Everyone must come here and get a cupcake and then try the Vanilla Chai. This is the best coffee shop near the L Train and it has great tree benches outside where you can catch some sun and play cars with your toddler while the baby sleeps. Once my one year old got up at 4:30am and by 5 I had to get out of the house so we headed to Bedford on the bike, this was the only place open. Everyone there greeted us as if it was normal to be up so early and we had a great morning after that. (My recommendation is that one should head there in the AM before hitting Flying Squirrel and Sweet William then hit Area Kids.) New York Muffins is located at 198 North Bedford at corner of 6th. Phone: (718) 599-0202

Penny Licks This is the best place ever! I could not believe it when I saw them here. They just opened at the end of May. Someone said, “they dropped here from heaven”. Penny Licks has organic ice cream, huge gumballs, chocolate covered pretzels, vegan brownies and more. This is going to be a kid’s paradise! Penny Licks is located at 158 Bedford Avenue between North 5th & 6th Street. Phone: (718) 302-1810

Mini-Jake Mini-Jake has fabulous modern furniture, gorgeous rugs and décor for children’s rooms. This is one of the best kids’ furniture stores in the city. They have sheek rockers, modern high-chairs and Alaxander Calder-like mobiles. They also carry very unique toys and have a great trains table for kids to play with while you shop. You can see great photos of their furniture on their site. Mini-Jake is located at 178 North 9th Street between Bedford & Driggs. Phone: (718) 782-2005 www.mini-jake.com

Parks & Rec McCarren Park for picnics and strolls is on the corner of N.12th Street & Bedford McCarren Playground for play is on the corner of Lorimer & Driggs McCarren Race Track for inspiration, fun time & exercise is on Driggs & Union McCarren Dog Park & Green Dome Garden (which is a MUST) is on corner of N. 12th & Driggs Grand Street Playground is also a great, not too big playground between Berry & Wythe. Kent Avenue Park is under construction but great for picnics and views of “the future”. To find out about the schools and daycares in the area write to mexicanamama@gmail.com