Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Park Slope is for lovers

Rita wants to know why Park Slope is filled with babies. Since I trip over on average 15 strollers each day on the way to the train, I will make a guess.

Park Slope has many things. Between panhandlers, clipboard holders demanding "a minute for gay rights," and Hasids asking passersby if they are Jewish, roughly two-thirds of the people you see on the street here want something, but do not necessarily live in the neighborhood. But unless people come from far and wide to promenade with their strollers (a distinct possibility, now that I think of it), the babies and their parents do indeed live nearby.

What you rarely see in Park Slope, but do see in other areas referred to as yuppie or bourgeois, are packs of women in tube tops, designer jeans, and uncomfortable-looking shoes. Nor do you see the male equivalent, hordes of hopefuls in striped shirts and hair gel. There are not the bars to support an urban heterosexual singles' scene in this neighborhood; just as likely, there aren't single straight folk to support the would-be bars.

Park Slope does not strike me as a symbol of a greater NYC trend, baby-wise. Manhattan neighborhoods like Yorkville, stretches of the Upper West Side, and Murray Hill cater to the not-yet-coupled-off 'recent college grad,' which doesn't have to mean all that recent. Single parents do not appear to be a large element of this demographic. But Park Slope is an awkward place to be neither a baby nor a parent. It would also not be the best place to be single and at the age when one's peers have spouses and toddlers. Everyone walking around is married or otherwise spoken for. Nor would Murray Hill be the best place to be in a couple. Why pay more for a smaller space in a culturally barren location just to be in Manhattan and near a bunch of bars you won't be going to anyway?

The strange thing is that the singles' areas are deemed too stuffy and conservative by those in the baby-having nook, and not vice versa. Park Slope may have fewer random hook-ups, but it is still considered the laid-back and dare I say cool place to live. Cool? Yes, compared to 89th and 1st. The question is really how did having babies become cool?


X. Trapnel said...

Really? I've never noticed a lack of Park Slope bars. I tend to walk over to Smith St., but I'm slightly closer to it; if I lived on 5th Ave. I'd do just fine, I suspect.

Phoebe said...

There are bars, but not many, and they tend to be filled with groups of friends of various sexual orientations, none of whom are dressed to inform fellow bar patrons, 'Hey, I'm single,' as is the case some areas of Manhattan.