Play Time

Cafés for tots and the people who love them

Fair Trade coffee, tofu dogs, and breast-feeding—together at last! It is certainly not news that procreating yoga yuppies have taken over Brooklyn. The 2005 census confirms what seems obvious if you've strolled down DeKalb recently: Fort Greene has the highest percentage of citizens under the age of two in the entire city. And the borough is being baby-proofed as a result—the boom has spawned a demand for baby eateries. No, not for eating babies, but cafés where parents don't have to shush their high-chaired toddlers through lunch. The kids have their own play spaces, and parents can sit nearby, watching them make a mess—not in their living room.
Williamsburg's Willy Bee's
photo: Nina Lalli
Williamsburg's Willy Bee's



Cafť Boo Bah
Willy Bee's Family Lounge


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  • At Café Boo Bah in Cobble Hill, grownups pay $5 for a day pass to hang out while their kids play in a fantasy version of dining out—at this restaurant, one is encouraged to draw on the walls (one for crayons, one chalkboard wall). Apparently, the staff sees many tired moms joining in that activity. Willy Bee's in Williamsburg has a similar concept and no price to party, although one guy behind the counter said plaintively, "It's nice to at least buy a muffin or something." Both spaces host birthday parties and other events and both have outdoor space as well as large indoor play areas and plenty of toys.