One Mom’s Battle Against the Wack Jobs of Brooklyn Heights

We received a fiery dispatch from a BHB reader/Mom over the weekend. Given the fact that Mrs. Fink and I have had similar brushes with the “eccentric” side of Brooklyn Heights since Baby Fink was born in 2010, we wonder if any of you have had similar experiences. Check out our reader’s tale of Brooklyn Heights Crazy after the jump.

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In my 20’s and 30’s I lived on the Upper East Side. I lived with my boyfriend, we were artists had no kids and were not ashamed to eat Ramen Noodles. So, I would bristle every time a perfectly manicured and accessorized UES mom suddenly stopped their $700 stroller in the middle of the crowded sidewalk to give their darling, adorably dressed charges a cookie. I would grit my teeth and think, “JUST PULL OVER.” So, now that I’m a mom respectfully do my best not to block the narrow jagged sidewalks of my beloved Brooklyn Heights. I say I succeed about 90% of the time.

Now, I’m not proud of this but I have from time to time, been know to shoot my mouth off. Combine that with a mom’s fierce, primal instinct to defend their child and it’s a volatile combination.

But I have NO idea what happened this past week. Maybe Mercury was in retrograde or the planets aligned in some horrible way, but the wack job haters were out in force. And they found ME. Let’s just say I now know how a person could lift a car off their kid.

1) Starbucks arty woman in black says to my friend twice, “2 kids? You should keep your legs shut!” I said “Eccentric is one thing, rude is another. How bout you keep your mouth shut!”

2) Sidewalk on Pierrepont (Mom and daughter push in between stroller and my son and actually moved my son out of the way. The words excuse me never crossed their lips. I am, for once, speechless but when one of them turns around to give me a dirty look from across the street I scream “Don’t touch my kid, how bout “Excuse Me?!”

3) Eastern Athletic (With PLENTY of room on the sidewalk a man pushes between my friend, my stroller and I, steps on my friend’s foot and yells at me “You must have a very strong sense of entitlement! You’re taking up the whole sidewalk” Honestly, we weren’t. He even dared to take a step toward us with my son in the stroller. I turned the stroller away and said “you are going to get in my face when I have my child in the stroller? What is WRONG WITH YOU?!” He kept screaming and entered the club. I almost called the cops to have him arrested…my call to the club manager was pointless. They won’t intervene if an incident happens on the sidewalk, only inside the club.

I’ve given up hope that people will hold doors for us. And it’s only when I have an expression of total panic on my face that someone will assist us down the Subway stairs. But, these incidents this week put me over the edge. So to answer the psycho from Eastern Athetic’s question: YES I do have a sense of entitlement! I am entitled to defend my child! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? How is it ok to TOUCH another person’s child? What happened to “excuse me?” Why is there so much hostility toward women taking care of children? Knowing that any clever retort (real or imagined) I make can’t change bad behavior, why can’t I keep my cool? Has anything like this happened to you? Mama needs a glass of wine.

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  • Cracked Pot


  • Mr. Crusty

    @sonny I agree with a lot of what you say and you make a lot of sense. i would disagree however with one thing you said, “on that note, all you haters keep complaining about kids”

    I don’t think it is about hating or complaining about kids, it is about having issues with their parents. Kids will be kids but we need parents to understand that in crowded cities you have to control your children so that they don’t interfere with others, like when they are screaming or running around in a restaurant. It is not the kid’s fault, it is the parent’s.

    @cracked pot if you have something to say, say it? Am I preventing you in someway?

  • Curmudgeon

    Sorry, ABC after three of my own I think I can judge a kid’s age and that’s not the point. The point is the self-entitlement of some putting others’ out because they feel their needs needs are paramount. That’s known as selfishness.

    No need for the name calling or personal insults. If you don’t agree, just say so and keep things on a civil level.

  • Alex

    I am a childless person who has lived in NYC for 15 years and frankly I put more of the blame on those without children–like me. They shoot down the sidewalk not because they need to get somewhere super fast but only because they use it as a release for their anxiety. So what if a mother is blocking a sidewalk temporarily with a stroller? Are those 5 seconds during which you can walk around the obstruction really that important to you? If you are in such a hurry every day where you need to run down the sidewalk and through the subway then you need to leave your house earlier and/or manage your time better.

    It’s not a mother’s fault that you woke up late and now have to rush through your day. It’s hard to be a parent anywhere, but especially the city. As a single person that will likely never have a child, I’m thankful that others are making the sacrifice that I’m not making. I’m more than happy to cede the sidewalk to them and nod a hello. It really isn’t a big deal.

  • FAKE Mr. Crusty

    If people want to raise kids in the city, they need to learn to not put everyone else at inconvenience just b/c of their choice to raise a child here. If you want all the conveniences of suburbia while raising a child, move to suburbia. Otherwise, it’s the choices you make that will determine your experience. Midtown: expect pushy rude people, esp during rush hour. Walking 2-3 abreast on the sidewalk? Expect people to be annoyed. Sometimes your experience is just being at the wrong place at the wrong time and sometimes, it’s your arrogant obliviousness of the situation that you create in a crowded situation.

  • Janeonorange

    I have two kids, now 9 and 6. We moved to BH from Chelsea six years ago. All I can say is that I NEVER have had an incident where people were rude to us. In fact, most days people try to give us seats on the train (though as previously mentioned, I never had a white guy offer me a seat when I was pregnant). Maybe, just maybe, it is because my own BH Mommy taught me to be polite and stay out of the way of other people.

  • Lydia Gordon

    I would say that Fink and Mom are the whack jobs–Mom for writing this tirade against so-called “rude” people and Fink for wasting time and paper in printing this ranting and raving piece. As the cliche goes, “Get a life.”

  • JDF

    I think many miss the point. I find it hard to believe that when a person becomes a parent, they all of a sudden change their mindset and believe themselves to have a sense of entitlement they didn’t previously have.

    Many seem to want to just lump together a category and say “well, that’s how Brooklyn Heights moms are”. Those who are not considerate of others were likely that way long before they had children. I doubt this discussion would be going on if it pertained to a specific race or religion. So, not sure why it seems okay to lump in an entire group and say that’s just the way they are.

    Before having a child I was always mindful of my actions and how it impacted others, whether it was walking down the street or in other ways. That has not changed now that I can frequently be found to be pushing my daughter’s stroller down the street.

    And those who complain about strollers taking up space and people being rude/inconsiderate are the same people who are complaining about the minor delay they are caused while a parent teaches their child a valuable lesson as to how to buy things at the store and to learn to say thank you. GASP. Teaching manners and how to function in society. Not on your time. Better learn how to function in society at home-those skills shouldn’t be taught…in society. Bit of a catch 22, no?

  • Mr. Crusty

    @JDF “the same people who are complaining about the minor delay they are caused while a parent teaches their child a valuable lesson as to how to buy things at the store and to learn to say thank you. GASP. Teaching manners and how to function in society. Not on your time.”

    The time and place to teach a child how buy things at a store is not when there is a line behind you. It was more than a minor delay, it was an infuriating exercise in indulgence. Their child’s little “lesson” was apparently more important than the adults waiting on line. That is quite a lesson to teach your child – selfishness, being inconsiderate of others, and self centeredness.

    No one is castigating all parents here, just the one’s that are inconsiderate of others that share our city space.

  • David

    C’mon down to Atlanta. Plenty of space. Nice people. Less crowded. Much, much, much (much) less expensive.

  • James

    Children learn from example – not from what they are told, but from what they observe. The parents being discussed here learned from their parents, who learned from their parents, who learned… Hopefully a few of them will have enough sense (courage?) to break the chain.
    And by the way Mr. Fink – I am not an eccentric.
    Also – CVS usually has only one checker available – to assist in the cute “checkout lessons” that occur. Checkout lessons do very little to teach children how to function is society.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    You missed the point entirely.

  • val

    My older daughter is 17 today, born and raised in Brooklyn Heights. Back then, we used lightweight umbrella strollers. When we rode the elevator at Clark Street, the kids would get up, I’d fold the stroller, and they’d stand to make more room for other people. That’s not possible anymore with the giant stroller contraptions. The mindset is to have the Biggest, the Best, regardless of how it inconveniences others AND YOURSELF. This pissed off mom is upset and frustrated by the inconsiderate behavior of others, but if she spend a nanosecond thinking about her own rude behavior, she wouldn’t need as much wine. Whenever anyone, in nearly any situation, feels enraged by others, she/he should start with how she might”ve handled things differently herself to get a different outcome. One notable exception: dealing with Verizon. God, I hate those f*uckers.

  • north heights res

    It seems a little over the top to talk about “defending my child” in these circumstances. That sort of language seems to me to reveal a lot about the mindset of the author, who seems to think her child is under threat from not uncommon urban encounters.

    Agree with those who see a lot of multi-stroller, multi-child gatherings on sidewalks in the Heights, with little regard for the other pedestrians. Also not at all thrilled about the parents who let kids swerve erratically or zoom down sidewalks on bikes and scooters. I get that there aren’t a lot of spots in a city to allow your kids to participate in these activities, but that’s one of the prices you pay for city living. I don’t really think it’s my responsibility to get out of the way of your kid on a vehicle on the sidewalk.

    And while I do try to sometimes help people with strollers and doors, I don’t consider it my responsibility to do so. If you need that kind of help, you’re probably best asking for it rather than waiting for volunteers. Then again, I don’t usually get a lot of offers of help when I’m lugging a 40 pound box of kitty litter up the street, and nor do I expect to.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    The responders to this post were mainly commenting on inconsiderate people and not mothers in general.
    I am the mother of two grown children. I don’t ever recall thinking that because I was a mother that I was somehow better than anyone else.
    Why should I, as a senior citizen, have to walk in the street in order to get to where I am going simply because inconsiderate people are hogging up the sidewalk and oblivious to anyone trying to navigate the already crowded sidewalks.
    This is not a war on motherhood but a plea for everyone to respect the rights of all individuals, the young and the old.

  • Jazz

    Let’s face it folks, this is all the fault of BANKERS. They live here and they are they scum causing all these problems. The 1% will eat us all.

  • Mr. Crusty

    I think we can all stipulate that there is plenty of rudeness to go around.
    The inconsiderate person yapping on a cell phone in a restaurant. The dog owner that don’t clean up after themselves.
    The parents that don’t control their children.
    The store clerks that hold a ten minute conversation with their coworkers while supposedly waiting on you.
    The restaurant servers that make it like they are doing you a big favor taking your order.
    The bike riders that ride on sidewalks and violate all traffic laws.
    The drivers that lean on their horns early in the morning if the vehicle ahead of them doesn’t move quick enough when the light turns green.
    The “white” males that don’t give up their seats for pregnant women.
    The people that throw there napkins on the ground rather than in a trash can.
    The taxi driver’s that refuse to take you to Brooklyn late at night.
    Those that double park on Montague Street blocking all traffic from passing.

    There is no shortage of rudeness. It’s part of the fabric of the city. Can’t let it get you all bent out of shape. So both the author of the Mommy rant above and those that she encountered could have BOTH been rude and inconsiderate in different wants. It doesn’t have to be an either or situation.

    Please feel free to add your particular rudeness irritant to the list above.

  • 2kids

    This whole thread is so sad. Why so much anger? Isn’t our neighborhood more interesting And vibrant with a mix of older people, young people, kids, moms, etc. Many lament the lack of diversity in restaurants and shops here -isn’t same true of people?

    I moved here single many years ago and am now a married stay at home mom with 2 kids. And I love living here. That isn’t to say that I don’t encounter rudeness on a regular basis. I just find it more infuriating and frustrating when I have my kids with me. Living in a city is a challenge for any age or life circumstance.
    But honestly, I couldn’t imagine living elsewhere. I think if we all took a moment to realize we’re in the this whole “city living” thing together – we might be able to take a deep breath, walk around each other and possible smile once in a while. It won’t kill ya

  • CJ

    I would just like to point out that the Mom in this post is missing an obvious disconnect: if she was truly “respectfully do(ing her) best not to block the narrow jagged sidewalks ” then not only would there have been no need for someone to push in between her – but more importantly, there would have been NO ROOM to do so.

    Sorta Q.E.D. that she shares the blame.

  • yoohoo

    No kids ever, but I’m of a certain age who was taught socially acceptable behavior by my parents. The latest experience that seems more and more the “new norm:” In Dumbo on Saturday, I was confronted by two young, stroller-pushing women and a man walking abreast and taking up the entire width of the sidewalk and I had to step into the street to let them pass. When I pointed out that they could walk behind each other on a crowded sidewalk, one of the young women stopped and shouted whether I was satisfied (voicing a request?). Same goes for dog owners and their extension leashes. I call this the other type of “entitlements.”

  • brklynmind

    People have “entitlement” all backwards….Thinking you can go through your day in a crowded and bustling city without being inconvenienced by others is THE DEFINITION of ENTITLEMENT.

    Yes, Moms (and Dads) and their kids get in your way and slow you down, WAHHHH WAHHH

    guess what old man crusty – your elderly and slow pace slows other people down,

    and guess what childless women, you getting to the cashier without your money out or even your elaborate purse open (did you think it was going to be free) slows others down.

    and guess what fat guy, your size takes up alot of room in an already crowded elevator.

    and skinny girl, your breath stinks from starving yourself and makes the elevator worse

    And biker, the sidewalk isnt your parking lot and red lights mean STOP

    and young childless couple, having the cab stop right outside your apartment (again without your money ready) slows alot of down (couldnt you pull over at the fire hydrant 50ft from the ft door?)

    and homeless man on the subway you smell terrible and make my commute horrible

    and man in wheelchair, if you werent selling drugs in ’92 you wouldnt have gotten shot and now wouldnt be taking up the entire sidewalk

    And fat lady with advanced diabetes, if you had taken better care of yourself, the bus wouldnt have to take 5min to lower itself while we all wait.

    I can go on ALL DAY…..

    So instead of being an entitled jerk, try having compassion for others (like Moms and kids) and try helping people, or at least not making things more difficult.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    Your above “rant” has left me speechless.
    Mr. Crusty,
    Would you like to take on brklynmind?

  • C33

    Is “brklynmind” the original complaining “mom” from the article?

  • Mr. Crusty

    WSN you are trying to get me in trouble aren’t you? I was biting my tongue trying not to respond to brklynmind hoping someone else would take up the challenge, but I will just plead guilty.

    Yes, i do feel like I am entitled to enjoy a meal in a restaurant without a child screaming at the top of it’s lungs three feet away.

    Yes guilty, I feel I am entitled to be able to walk the streets of NY without having to navigate around, through inconsiderate uber moms that just block the entire sidewalk with their SUV like strollers.

    Yes, I feel entitled to be able to walk down the aisles of a drug store that is completely blocked off because of a parked stroller.

    Yes, I feel entitled to not have the cranium of a running child on a collision path with my groin while their oblivious parent thinks their progeny simply adorable.

    Yes, I feel entitled that those that live around me would be a smidgen considerate of someone other than themselves and their children.

    I apologize for being such a selfish oaf.

    oh and brklynmind, I have never slowed anyone down with my “elderly” pace. Trust me on that one spunky.

  • Topham Beauclerk


    Atlanta? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s so cheap because serious people wouldn’t be caught dead there.

  • JustANeighbor

    And this is why I’ve moved to Boerum Hill. What an exhausting read!!

  • brklynmind

    No I am not the “mom”, my testicles and not that impressive manhood precludes that.

    Crusty lets look at your (new) complaints without the sarcasm and without the exaggeration.

    I agree you shouldnt have to be subjected to a child screaming on the top of their lungs for your entire restaurant meal – but 1. I doubt that has ever happened (for an entire meal), 2. No one said you should tolerate that (are you using exaggeration to make a point otherwise lost?)3.Should you be forced to eat a meal next to a bunch of loud guys/gals socializing or who have loud laughter or behind (single) people who constantly bang their chair into yours…do you post on blogs about that (I am sure the ans is no)- or only about moms and kids?? (try asking yourself what about YOU makes you so intollerant of parents and kids for goodness sake) – because certainly these other intrusions are just as if not more frequent than a child who is consistently loud for an entire meal.

    Moms block the sidewalk or aisles at the drugstore and you have to walk (or wait) what…an extra 3 secs-5 seconds out of your way…..Do you post and write about the infirm (we will limit it to only those who are infirm due to their own actions). Do you post ranting about obese people, diabetic amputees, people in wheelchairs, homeless people with shopping carts, strong muscular guys carrying all their grocery home (instead of using delivery)??? I bet you never post about these people…

    Do you post rants about people with dogs that walk on “collision course with your groin”, or people whose dogs actually smell you??? or people who accidentally bump you on the subway because they didnt hold on when the train was starting? No I bet you don’t – you (and many others) seem to reserve all their animus for Moms and kids…despite all the indignities, inconveniences and suffering that us city dwellers (and frankly everyone in society) are forced to endure; Your big beef is with Moms and Kids (the kids that will be necessary to pay for your Social Security and Medicare btw).
    As you said – if people would be a “smidgen more considerate” – EXCEPT the person who needs to be more considerate is YOU (and those like you).

  • soulman

    I love this area, but for me, the most annoying neighbors are those cell phone addicts who must text, talk and walk without any consciousness of the rest of us on the sidewalk. I tend to turn sideways when faced with them, especially if I’m wearing a backpack. It’s fun when they bounce off. It’s juvenile, but very satisfying when I’m in a bad mood. Slightly less annoying, but much more dangerous, are those bike riders who ignore all the rules except the one that gives them the right of way wherever they are, regardless of red lights, signs, old people, strollers, kids, dogs and even cars sometimes.

    I actually believe that most Brooklynites are polite, even the teenagers. In my school, kids routinely hold a door for those behind them and even say ‘Thanks” when I hand something out, even a test! Their parents are doing something right.

    Inconsiderate parents, entitled kids, rude & self-centered adults, lazy dog walkers and grouchy blog commenters are a fact of life. Be a good example to others, but get over it. The “aggro” is bad for you!

  • Mr. Crusty

    I think I have said my piece. There are some very considerate parents out. I would even venture to say the majority of parents are considerate and respectful of others. This is not a complaint about parents. It is a complaint about inconsiderate, self indulgent, selfish parents.

    Can you admit that there are parents that are not so considerate? is that even a possibility to you? The author of the article seems to be one of those inconsiderate parents based I’ll admit on minimal evidence. On THREE separate occasions in one day she seems to have been blocking pedestrian traffic and got into verbal altercations. Do you think that was just a coincidence? Her saying that she was going to call the police was another very big clue for me of what type of person she is. The police? Really?

    I didn’t start this “rant” as you called it. The anonymous Mommy did. I responded from a different perspective as did the vast majority of posters on here. It seems to be an issue that ticks off a heck of a lot of people.

    I raised three children and I would NEVER allow them to run around and interfere with adults, get in their way, or to scream for an extended time in a restaurant. I’m sorry, that is just plum inconsiderate. I make no apology for saying so.

  • David on Middagh

    The battle for the city sidewalks reminds me of the James Herriott tale of the farmer who had occasion to visit a large town for the first time in his life. The farmer was used to striding around the empty countryside; the town’s crowdedness caught him off guard. Back home, they asked him his impression. He was glad he had gone, but all the people in the way! “Big steps and little ‘uns,” he had had to take. “Big steps and little ‘uns.”