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Brooklyn's First 'Baby Fest' Serves Flood of New Families

By Meredith Hoffman | January 24, 2013 7:06am

GREENPOINT — When she first moved to north Brooklyn nine years ago as a single, childless 26-year-old, Jessica Glorieux "never saw kids around" the neighborhood. But since then she said the area — and her life — has leapt to the opposite extreme.

Glorieux, who now has two young children, has recently made it her mission to help other new families in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. She co-founded the local parenting group Brooklyn Bambinos, began the consulting company Motherburg NYC to guide neighborhood families, and started blogging with child-rearing tips.

And now, Glorieux and fellow mother Susan Anderson, who runs the community nonprofit Town Square, are striving to create a whole new parent resource: Brooklyn’s “first ever Baby Fest.”

"It's a Brooklyn-centric baby and kids event," Glorieux said of the expo this April on Leonard Street, next to McCarren Pool.

"We wanted something local, smaller than the massive New York Baby Show," she added, referring to the Manhattan event. 

Glorieux said the Brooklyn fair is intended for families citywide, but said that it would focus on "being green and dressing well," eco-friendly and fashion priorities that were typical for parents in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, she said.

The popular 2-year-old Greenpoint shop Caribou Baby, for instance, will offer a "baby wearing seminar" exploring ways to carry your child, she said.

"On Saturdays you can't fit in the door there," she said of the shop, which offers "green parenting" items like organic wool clothes and cloth diapers.

The expo will also have stroller demos, talks about infant nutrition, and activities for kids like a performance by the troupe "Puppetsburg," she said. 

Plus, it would serve as an "introduction to Brooklyn" for parents contemplating a move to the area.

"We'll have real estate agents doing a seminar for first-time home buyers," she said, noting that many expectant parents chose to purchase their first apartment. "A lot of people are pregnant and realize they want more space."

The expo both serves to highlight the booming baby population and to connect parents to the burgeoning variety of local resources, Glorieux said.

Those resources include the year-old Williamsburg playspace Frollic, performance groups like Puppetsburg, and now a brand new arts and yoga program in Greenpoint, Hosh Kids, formed by the nonprofit yoga studio Hosh Yoga.

"We're starting classes Monday," the studio's music teacher Melissa Boigon said, noting that there were many local young parents looking to enroll their young children in affordable activities.

"We're definitely interested," she said of partaking in Baby Fest.

As for Glorieux, helping parents learn about their options is exactly the goal of Baby Fest.

"When you get pregnant it can feel overwhelming," said Glorieux, whose business, Motherburg, has consulted clients on choosing the right nanny, daycare, and preschool in the neighborhood.

Baby Fest — which the organizers announced Tuesday through the Town Square email listserv and with a new website — has already gotten a flood of positive responses, Anderson said.

"It definitely answers a demand," she said. “Just look around you — there are strollers everywhere. There’s such an explosion of young families around here.”

Brooklyn Baby Fest is on April 27 at 424 Leonard St. More details can be found on the event's website.