Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Please No Strollers"

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of Feb. 25, 2008

By New York Times\Alex Williams

February 10, 2008

THESE days little children are brought along to places that would have been considered inappropriate a generation ago: four-star restaurants, cocktail parties, rock concerts. But for all the sniping from adults who resent this territorial invasion, the onslaught shows no sign of letting up. In fact, one of its latest flash points is the local bar.

When the owners of Union Hall — a moody, dark-paneled bar and brunch spot in Park Slope, Brooklyn — recently posted a sign that read “Please, No Strollers” under another one reading “No One Under 21 Admitted,” they did not see it as a declaration of war with the neighborhood’s sizable population of young parents.

“The word gets out that this is a place for baby buggies to go, we end up with 8 to 10 strollers, or 15,” said Jim Carden, an owner. He explained that the goal was simply to make sure that the preferred transportation for toddlers of the stay-at-home parents who had adopted the lounge as an afternoon hangout would not crowd out the regular patrons.

Perhaps he underestimated the neighborhood’s vocal and proactive parents. Local parenting blogs were soon bristling with denunciations.

The move by Union Hall is not the first time a local business invited censure by taking on the stroller class. Last year, the two-story Barnes & Noble on Seventh Avenue posted a sign restricting strollers to a designated area on its ground floor; the sign was removed after a neighborhood outcry. In 2005, a bartender at the Patio Lounge, a bar on Fifth Avenue, posted a sign — still known as the infamous “Stroller Manifesto” on local parents’ blogs — that asked, “What is it with people bringing their kids into bars?”

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