Before moving to Brooklyn, we had fairytale visions of what it would look like to live in this great borough of our beautiful city. Images of historic brownstones from The Cosby Show and Sesame Street--yes, we were allowed endless television as children--filled our brains. As it turns out those beautiful brownstones are even more magical in person. Each has its own history, filled to the brim with NY stories. Stoop stories.
Each generation, that story is different. We can't begin to imagine how mothers even lived in brownstones, having to haul those giant prams up and down those flights of stairs. A mother's job is hard enough without the unnecessary heavy lifting. Which is why it's no shocker that once the Maclaren buggy came into the picture, it became the stroller of choice for NYC moms. Maclaren's are just about as ingrained in NYC life as our storied stoops.
Launched in 1965 with its iconic B-01 design, Maclaren was then--and is now--the lightest buggy on the market. It's newly released Mark II weighs in at just 7.3 lbs. Using the B-01's original design brief as inspiration, Maclaren has applied its half-century of experience, engineering and modern materials--which include light, high-strength, water-resistant, rip-stop fabric, a unique aluminum hex chassis and anti-microbial handles--to create the Mark II.
Much like Maclaren's latest stoller, the brownstones have also evolved, each telling a new story. Like the story of a modern mom trying to live the dream and balance it all the best she can. With style.
Meet Stephanie Unwin, COO of the award-winning fashion brand Veronica Beard, who has nestled into her home in Boerum Hill with her husband and two kids. Here's her stoop story.
How does Veronica Beard speak to the modern woman?
It's two women--founders Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard--designing for other women. So when we're sitting in meetings we're always talking about how this woman is wearing her clothes. “Can she drive a car? Can she push a stroller?" We literally say those things because we know that women today have very multi-faceted lives, and at the end of the day we are New York City moms. We know what it's like being busy moms, and we want to wear clothes that are classic and cool. We are our customer.
How do you think your life and career evolved since becoming a mom?
I think that life is just a million times busier for a working mom. I think the challenge for every mom is just finding the balance, and some of us are better at it than others. The founder of Tibi once said to me, “Working moms are very efficient at work because they have to be." So efficiency is one of the things I've learned, but I'm not perfect at it. I still work long hours often and if I work late one night I try and stay in an hour longer the next morning so I can get that extra time with the kids.
What does your typical weekday look like?
I typically wake up with my son around 7:30 then wake up my daughter. We then make breakfast, I get my daughter's lunch ready for camp, and then once I put her on the bus at 8:30 and my nanny arrives, I get myself organized for work and head to the office. I get home from work around 6:30 and get to spend two hours with the kids before bedtime. It's fun hanging out with them at the end of the day.
How did you and your family land in your neighborhood?
We were living in Chelsea for about two years and we knew we wanted a second child. I knew I wanted green space, I knew I wanted to BBQ in my yard. We got very lucky in finding our home before prices sky-rocketed in this neighborhood. We fell in love with our home.
Do you have neighborhood treasures?
We love Boerum Hill. It's a really nice mix between family and up-and-coming restaurants. There's still a nice edge to it. We absolutely love the restaurant Rucola and are always there. I love the children's store Acorn for gifts and my favorite furniture haunt is GreenHouse.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids around town?
We spend the most time in Carroll Gardens. Also Brooklyn Bridge Park.
How do you get out of your house with the kids -- literally? Up and down those stairs!
A lot of hand holding and close watching.
How much do you travel with your family?
We travel a lot. My husband and I are both Canadian, so if we want to see family we have to travel to see them. My parents are in the Bahamas half the year so we make it there 3-4 times a year as well.
How important is it to have a lightweight stroller as a NYC mom?
Incredibly important. We couldn't live without our Maclaren. It goes everywhere with us. It goes to the Bahamas, it goes to Toronto, it goes to Nova Scotia. It's a very well-traveled stroller. We're also well-versed in the park tour of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens, so our stroller has seen a lot of miles.
What are some of your best tips for staying mobile with kids?
We just take our kids everywhere. I think the most important thing is having the stroller.
Do you have a stoop? What are some of you favorite things to do in your hometown?
Photography by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.