This post is a collaboration with a new and talented photography friend, Mariliana Arvelo. With six days left in New York City, her pictures of my boys and I in our daily visit to the playground mean more than anything. xo
I've grown to love Brooklyn playgrounds with a fierceness. When you don't have a backyard, and your baby is scootering naked across your new chaise lounge, the playground becomes an all-inclusive oasis. A place of freedom, hard truths, broken toys. The land overflowing with organic snacks. What I didn't realize was what a gathering place of awesome grown-up humans it is, too. Not only did my oldest get to interact with (correction: steal from) kids of all different ages and backgrounds, I got the lucky chance to get brave or be lonely. And I'd rather be Chatty Kathy and try to reach out than be Lonely Mom any day. (Lonely Mom is so, so sad. She's come and gone, but ugh, she's sad.)
I have met the most amazing people at the playground. As I'm typing, I'm visualizing dozens of them—one of my most recent favorites was a mom from my new neighborhood. Just before I slipped Silas into the swing, she pulled out an already damp wipe from her jacket pocket and wiped a muddy puddle from the base of our swing, saving our first kind-of-Spring morning from cold, crying abyss. From that second, we were friends. Co-parents, almost. Our kids 'played' together. It was more about us tracking them under the monkey bars, through the slide—while coming in and out of conversation about our impending move to San Francisco, her story of going back to art school, our kids' milestones. Next to the giant X-O-X-O spinning blocks, we talked about how it's hard, like really, really hard sometimes, to just live here. To be a mom and try to feed and protect our tiny humans. To feel such love and such frustration with a place. The ups and the downs and taking chances on a thankless city year in and year out. And she said it so perfectly, almost in a whisper like she was honoring the confidants we had become to each other, It's New York. We're here. It's amazing.
And it is. It is so amazing.
So many thanks to the amazing Mariliana who captured these amazing photos of my boys and I at one of our last playground jaunts in our neighborhood, ever. It's home away from home, where my monkeys get the monkey out; the place where we get some sunshine after picking up a couple chocolate chip cookies at Choice. (Which, of course, my new friend at the playground recommended. They are as good as or better than warm Jacque Torres cookies!) I have never worked with a photographer who understood wild and skeptical toddlers (Silas) and completely indifferent babies (Sondre) so well. Mariliana is a DELIGHT to work with. If you live in the New York City area, or will be here visiting, I highly recommend Stylish Hip Kids Photography for capturing your family or a big event. Thank you, Mariliana!
And for fun, our favorite playgrounds in Brooklyn in order:
The Nature Playground at Prospect Park (a park made out of fallen trees from Sandy. it even has a sand pit!)
Pier 6 Water Park at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Head out early on a Saturday morning, bike along the water, eat a croissant at Mazzola's in Carroll Gardens for breakfast and a Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory cone for lunch, and have a totally magical family morning.)
Underhill Avenue (lots of toys for little babies to play with)