Kid Stuff Overcrowded in Brownstone Brooklyn


Well-off parents in brownstone Brooklyn are finding there is a wait list for anything to do with children, from schools to camps to extracurriculars such as free swimming lessons, according to the Times.

If waiting in line in the predawn of a January morning for science camp registration sounds crazy, you do not have a New York City child born after 2004. For those children and their parents, especially in the neighborhoods of brownstone Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and the Upper West Side, not getting into activities, classes, sports teams — and even local schools — has become a way of life. If every generation must have its own designation, call theirs Generation Waiting List.

While the leafier enclaves of Brooklyn are the focus of the story, also mentioned is a single mom who lives in Flatbush who could not get her child into an after school program because she had to work during the enrollment period (she is a nanny). Pictured above, crowds at the table for Carmelo the Science Fellow at Atlantic Antic. Do you think the wait lists for enrichment programs and schooling affect those at the top more than others, particularly in the more gentrified areas of Brooklyn, or has this always been the case for everyone in New York City, and now that the affluent are choosing to stay and have children here, they — and the Times — are discovering it?
For City Parents, a Waiting List for Nearly Everything [NY Times]
Photo by Auster Agency

33 Comment

  • “Well-off parents in brownstone Brooklyn are finding there is a wait list for anything to do with children, from schools to camps to extracurriculars such as free swimming lessons, according to the Times.”

    Hey well off parents – maybe you could try PAYING for swimming lessons. God, champagne socialists to a T!

    • While I can’t speak for well off parents, we do exactly that (through SwimJim), as does every other parent I know. Works out to about $160-200 per month.

      We did do free swim lessons for a couple weeks one summer – signed up online, got into two of the three available sessions. Wouldn’t do it again because it’s LCD group lessons, and our daughter (then 2 or 3) was further along than most of her peers.

      Can’t believe how many lemmings fall for these articles, whose chief aim is to re-ignite fictitous tension between parents and the childless.

  • Old pic…that diner isn’t open anymore. PWNED.

  • Comment counter nor working again. How do digital things like that “go on the fritz?”

  • “If waiting in line in the predawn of a January morning for science camp registration sounds crazy, you do not have a New York City child born after 2004.”

    “Well-off parents” should get the people that stand on line all night for isheep products and game consoles and pay them to stand on line for them.

  • maybe just your computer.
    I’d guess the pic was taken at Atlantic Antic. Unless this crowd is waiting to get a tour of the jail(which they are in front of).

  • I rode horseback and shot BB guns at camp. i suppose those type of activities would be banned nowadays.

  • This is a highly overblown phenomenon. One of those articles written to find something to write about. as the father of two children born after 2004 and a Brownstone Brooklyn resident I can testify that this is a ridiculous article. There are so many options for things to do with kids here that if something is full you go to the next one.

  • “At the Brooklyn Public Library in Bay Ridge, 25 children can be accommodated at the free story-time sessions. Parents and other caregivers routinely show up when the library opens at 10 a.m. to get a ticket for the 10:30 a.m. story times on Mondays and Wednesdays. On a recent Wednesday, tickets were snatched up within five minutes. ”

    Wooot, Woooot.
    Shout out to my hood.

    I used to take my kid to the Monday session before they started giving out tickets. That was 2010. It got so popular they needed a method for crowd control. I’ve been there at 10:05am and not gotten a ticket.
    The guy that runs the program is great.

  • I grew up in Brooklyn. We (my 2 siblings and I) never went to camp. Our summer camp was playing on the sidewalk in front of our home.

  • There aren’t enough activities for old retired folks.

  • Maybe I’ll find out when my kid is older and I have to find summer outlets or a place to store him if I go back to work, but it seems that these programs fill up fast cause they’re specialized. Music, ballet, science.

    I’m sure there are lots of ‘camps’ without wait lists. You know, the ones that take the kids to the playground and museums all wearing the matching t-shirts. But the “well-off parents” need to have their kids do “well-off” activities.

  • How about they send them to “manners” class

  • Having just signed my daughter up for camp in brownstone brooklyn I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of camps with no waiting lists (at least not at this point in the season). And, we had the same problem with storytime at the library when we lived in a Manhattan neighborhood that was not stroller heavy – free stuff just tends to be in high demand.

  • Hmmmm. So now I’m just wondering what kind of camp I should start…

  • We were one of the meshugennah people standing on line for Carmelo’s summer science camp. My kid is crazy for Carmelo and we thought–let’s just try it out. Got there at 5 a.m. and there was already a line of 15 formed, and it was maybe 23 degrees out. This camp better be worth it!!! It’s true that the more specialized camps and lessons (Imagine Swimming) have wait lists, but the more generic camps are usually open up until the last day of registration. I really don’t think it is a wealth thing, because it’s not like these camps are any more expensive than the regular camp options.

  • This article about parents waiting in line to enroll their children in science camp has been written every year. My kids had Carmelo as their science teacher for free. My kids are now in college and high school and Carmelo filled up quickly back then when they were elementary school so this isn’t a new development. Anyway, we adore Carmelo and my kids are still in contact with him. He is an incredibly gifted teacher.

  • Last summer the moppet got pneumonia the first day of summer camp, for which there was no refund. This summer I think I want to do something as a family–like, take a transatlantic cruise. It would cost about the same.

  • If they were truly “well-off” their kids would have multi-lingual nannies to read them Neil Gaiman books in French and Mandarin, a vegan chef to teach them how to make quinoa brownies, and in the summer they would all jet up to their summer home on Nantucket or the coast of Maine for sailing on their Hinckley where they will learn knot-tieing and polite condescension. These people are just middle-class folks fighting over a limited supply of free/affordable stuff after realizing how expensive it is to raise a family in NYC.
    Of course there is a waiting list. Existing programs have not been able to keep up with the Brooklyn Baby Boom. If they are willing and able to cough up enough cash, there are plenty of options for “well-off” parents to ship their kids somewhere for “enrichment.” There are far more poor children who would benefit from these programs, but they are the first to get squeezed out of such opportunities when “gentrifiers” decide local programs are some sort of urban status symbol.

    • Um…having come to NYC (straight to Bklyn, baby!) in ’98, I guess I count as a gentrifier. I, however, have never considered Carmelo’s classes a ‘status symbol.’ My kid goes there bc she drinks in everything he says, which is cool w me bc I end up learning things I never knew. (For instance, if you see a water sitting on dirt, it’s actually clay. Who knew?)