Your NYC Neighbor – is a way of introducing New Yorkers to a rich community of savvy parents. New York is a diverse City bustling with all kinds of families and personalities. We also love to grab tips and recommendations from moms and dads in certain neighborhoods and throughout the 5 Boroughs, and especially people who have created a product, service or site that helps new parents or appeals to children. Meet Denise the founder of FiDifamilies – a wonderful resource for New York parents.
Tell a bit about yourself.
I joined a startup towards the end of the internet bubble and the end of the Y2K paranoia…January 2000. Though I had never been to the East Coast or NYC, I decided to follow my gut and moved from San Diego, with my suitcase and a job and not much else. It was the best decision I ever made. I will never forget flying over NYC for the first time and being so excited about the adventure I was about to take on. It was such a fun time to be in the City. My startup was in Tribeca, a neighborhood that was just developing. But, a ton of celebs had starting migrating to lower Manhattan and it was pretty common to have a celebrity sighting which was so unlike the lifestyle of San Diego. Once the startup company went bankrupt, which was documented in “Startup.com“, a documentary that previewed at Sundance, I was able to transition to a new job and ultimately worked as an HR consultant and insurance broker in the financial services industry. I still have moments of wonder and can’t believe I have been in NYC for 14 years. My husband and I are raising our 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 year old kids in NYC and I still can’t quite believe it. However, the experiences they have had as City kids are things that I would never trade for a life outside of the City.
Why do you love living in your neighborhood?
I live in the Financial District and it has been really powerful to live in a neighborhood that has survived and is so determined to rebound. The neighborhood, the residents, the business owners all have a strong sense of community. Now that my son is attending kindergarten at our newest public school, it is a ton of fun to walk down the street and run into neighbors or school families on any given day. Our local parks throughout lower Manhattan are full of kids of all ages and we consistently run into families on the playground, whether we are in Union Square, Pier 25, Battery Park or the Financial District. It really makes raising kids in NYC fun and easy. Playdates are easy when you are meeting at museums and family-friendly restaurants.
Tell us about your sites
After the birth of my daughter in 2010, I became obsessed with finding fun things to do in lower Manhattan. With toddlers that had an age gap of 20 months, I knew the best way to keep everyone (as in Mommy) happy was by being busy and entertained. I started an email list of events for a bunch of my neighbors and friends and someone suggested that I list the events on a blog. That transitioned into a full-blown website and I left my corporate job last summer and am the proud publisher of FiDiFamilies.com. The site is a community resource website that lists events, activities, kids concerts, discounts and more. We have partnered with some great brands for unique giveaways and FiDi Families has hosted some fun events during the never-ending winter and hope to offer more sponsored events throughout the year. As a website that provides advertising to local businesses, it has been really fun to witness an increase in family-friendly services, whether it is toddler classes, Mommy & Me options and music and movement classes. Plus, local businesses throughout lower Manhattan have truly embraced family dining and the choices have really been elevated over the last five years or so. The ability for FiDiFamilies.com to promote these businesses through our site and newsletter is an easy way to remind parents that there are amazing activities and places to go in this wonderful neighborhood.
Downtown Magazine NYC
I was asked at the end of 2013 to join the team at Downtown Magazine NYC. I’m their new Lifestyle and Family Editor and its a privilege to work for this luxury life-style magazine that focuses on the many neighborhoods that encompass downtown, including Chelsea, the Lower East Side, the West Village, the Meatpacking District and of course, SoHo, Tribeca, Chinatown and the Financial District and Battery Park. The magazine has great features for foodies, amazing photography and insight into the many well-known personalities that call downtown home. We recently featured Chris Noth from the Good Wife and of course Sex in the City. I had a fun and informal interview with Tracy Anderson, a well-known fitness expert that has a gorgeous studio in Tribeca. The new section is titled Little Apple and will feature kids fashion, must-have items and family related content. And, look for local kids to be featured in upcoming articles.
What promotions are you currently running?
I recently had a successful promotion for family four-packs of tickets to see Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy the Musical. We are getting ready to launch some fun giveaways for some upcoming movies, but mums the word for now. Subscribers to our free newsletter will have a chance to win movie passes, kids activities books and more. And, we’ll offer some giveaways on our website before summer, including toys from the new documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, entitled Madagascar.
What 5 things would you advise a newly pregnant NYC mom to do?
Find snacks that are healthy and easy to transport. There is nothing worse than being pregnant and hungry. Learn to pack a snack and a bottle of water for yourself, no matter how short the trip. My advice to a new Mom is to shop for a fun, trendy diaper bag because it will go everywhere you and the baby goes, so make sure you like it and that it will fit on the handles of your stroller. Shop for basic white onesies – most newborns are most comfortable in this simple one-piece wonder. Not only are they affordable, but they are easy to use and easy to pack.
Ask your friends for their one piece of advice and save them all for easy reference and for some, a good laugh, post-baby. If you are a working Mom to be, it is never to early to start your transition plan while you are on maternity leave. Create a transition document for yourself and your team that is easy to read and allows you to leave and not get a call during your leave of absence. This includes cleaning up your desk, your email and personal items that you might want at home. These little tasks are the last thing you will want to do, when you are eight months preggo, tired, cranky and ready to have a baby!
Useful Links from Denise
GoGosqueeZ.com (I’m their brand ambassador for NYC and it is my “must-have” in our travel bag, in addition to wipes and a bottle of water!
Nickjr.com (great for last minute printables and projects for playdates, road trips and when parents need 15 mins of quiet time, restaurant, home or otherwise)
Babycenter.com (my go-to resource for pregnant Moms, with week-to-week info on growing babies, parentheses.