Good to see the efforts to turn Manhattan into America's largest gated community are proceeding as planned:
Once upon a time, Manhattan was an island of adult thrills and vices. In the national imagination, it was a place of artists, musicians, socialites, Wall Street bankers -- or of hustlers, runaways, addicts, murderers. But it was not on the radar of the typical white, middle-class couple as a place to raise children.
Now demographers say Manhattan is increasingly a borough of babies, and more and more of them are white and well-off.
The number of children younger than 5 in Manhattan has increased about 30 percent since 2000, said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. The increase is driven by white toddlers, whose numbers have gone up by 60 percent, according to the 2000 census and the 2006 American Community Survey, he said. For the first time since the 1960s, young white children outnumber their black or Hispanic counterparts in Manhattan, demographers say.
"It's surprising," Frey said. "It's a selective part of the white population, a lifestyle of people who want to have children and can afford to live in the city."
Indeed, according to Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, the median household income for this group of children was $280,000 in 2005.
Alphabet City in the East Village, which a decade ago was famous for its post-punk scene and its heroin markets, now is rife with hipster preschools for tattooed and pierced rock-and-roll parents, and baby boutiques that sell $112 onesies made by Italian designers.
"I feel like a wartime profiteer," said Amanda Uhry, the founder of Manhattan Private School Advisors, which charges a $15,000 fee to help parents through admissions -- and whose business has tripled since 2002.
The close is almost too good to be true:
But young Theo Carlston is just happy to play at Citibabes, a SoHo club where parents can use the gym or have a manicure while their children take dance classes or French lessons.
"I'm hiding in my fort!" Theo shouted as his mother discussed the city her family is helping to create.