Yes, this is an actual headline from today’s NY Daily News, my old newspaper which has really embraced its tabloid ways of late. The story attached to this headline is about a bar on the outskirts of Park Slope, my nabe, which until recently had been “kid-friendly,” meaning that parents could come and drink adult beverages with their kids in tow. Sound strange? Maybe but, remember that there is a popular blog called “Mommy Wants Vodka.” Apparently, a lot of mothers (and fathers) of this generation need a nip or two to get them through a day with Buster.
When this bar, Greenwood Park, first opened, lots of people had a problem with kids hanging around a bar watching their parents get sauced. But those doing the most complaining were NOT other parents — they were mostly young and childless who just did not want to be around noisy kids at a bar. Noisy adults, okay. Anyway, the parents in the crowd resorted to snickering “Just wait until they have kids, buddy, then we’ll see how much you drink.”
But now this 13,000 square foot bar — that boasts a large outdoor garden — has decided to ban kids after 4 p.m. Why? According to The News article, it’s because of teachers in the surrounding schools who want to have an after school drink without their students staring up at them. Of course, now the parents are protesting.
That’s Park Slope for you. There are so many parents and so-called Super-Mommies around here that any establishment that frowns at strollers is going to be deserted by the twittering parents who pass the word faster than you can say “and she’ll have milk with a sippy cup and a straw.” It’ll be interesting to see how long this bar can stand up against the Parent Brigade.
I was thinking about all of this as I read Amy Sohn’s new novel “Motherland” which takes place in Park Slope. It’s a sequel to her previous bestseller “Prospect Park West.” I enjoyed “Prospect Park West” because it was funny and really skewered this neighborhood in just the right way. But “Motherland,” I’m not so hot about. For various reasons, I found it un-funny, probably due to its ugly characterizations. In Sohn’s world, there is practically nothing redeeming about living in Park Slope, never mind that she lives here herself.
The characters in this book have affairs, do drugs, have anonymous sex, get divorced on a whim — in short, they do pretty much everything except care for their kids who are portrayed as a major obstacle preventing parents from acting like teenagers. The book left me with a bad taste in my mouth. If this is really how Sohn sees Park Slope, it’s amazing she doesn’t move. The neighborhood has much to recommend it and it’s not for nothing (as they say elsewhere in Brooklyn) that it’s been named on more than one list as the best place to live in New York.