This was written by my dear friend Nina Pike Echeverria:) It was never published anywhere so I thought I post it here. It is a really cute article about Metro Minis
“A toy shop and boutique on Park Avenue? Are you sure?”
My disbelieving friend and I turn the corner of 75th Street and there, hidden in plain sight on one of the prettiest streets on Park Avenue, is Metro Minis.
Immediately apparent, a treasure trove of natural toys – mostly hand-crafted in the US and Europe from wood and cloth. Toys for newborns, infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the $15-$30 range. Colorful toys that almost beg you to pick them up and play. Toys that do more than one thing for more than one age group. Nothing that makes more than a squeak! We even find the perfect party activity/take-home gift she’s been looking for — little wooden “Made-by-Me” vehicles to put together and decorate for $5 (Maple Landmark in Vermont, USA).
The next thing we notice is the remarkable selection of re-usable water bottles; all colors, sizes and shapes in metal, and glass with silicone sleeves. And stainless steel sandwich containers for children and their grown-ups! Re-usable, lined cloth baggies for chips or vegetables, bamboo traveling utensil sets… I believe I have walked into casual, practical gift heaven.
My friend asks what a great toy is for a new baby, and a saleslady replies confidently that newborns don’t need toys at all, but to support a newborn’s physical, emotional and social development, she says, a baby carrier is the best way to go. “We have 50 different kinds of baby carriers available to try on, either with the baby or with a weighted demonstrator doll.”
Fortunately, this low-pressure toy saleslady is one of the two co-owners. Joanna McNeilly, a mom of two small children herself, now employs a staff of eight moms and dads. She oversees day-to-day operations of the store and its busy schedule of classes and community events.
“Metro Minis is a natural family boutique specializing in baby carriers, cloth diapers, natural toys and reusable food storage.”
“In fact,” she continues, “We have the largest selection of baby carriers and cloth diapers available to see, feel, compare and contrast with moms who have used them.”
With the surge in popularity and recognition that holding small children turns out to be easier and healthier, especially for New York parents who walk, train, bus or cab it; it is more important than ever to pass the knowledge of babywearing safety. “So,” Joanna informs us with a touch of pride, “Metro Minis moms are certified and licensed partners of both Die Trageschule, [Dresden, Germany] and The Babywearing Institute [Utah]*.”
You didn’t know there were European and American licensing programs to teach standardized best practices in wearing your baby? Then you owe yourself an education (or at least some browsing and a chat) at the Upper East Side’s premier natural family boutique – Metro Minis.
*Update: Metro Minis are no longer affiliated with Babywearing Institute, but both Joanna and Bianca attended courses there. Joanna is officially bringing Trageschule Dresden courses to the USA in 2012.