Grown-upville: Neighborhoods for the new majority
Families were added as a protected class to the Civil Rights Act in 1988, after government studies uncovered widespread housing discrimination against families with children. There's an exception: The law allows residential communities and institutions catering to residents ages 55 and older to exclude children when offering certain services for older people. Even in these communities, though, kids may be guests and stay for brief visits.
"It is a somewhat sensitive subject for us as real-estate agents," says Jason Fien, director of leasing for Platinum Properties, a residential sales and rentals company representing 70 to 80 residential buildings in Manhattan. "We stay away from it completely."
Besides, he says, "I'm sure no one wants to come off like a Cruella de Vil-type kid hater."
Should a client ask, "What type of people live in this building?" Fien will reply: "Walk around the neighborhood, stand outside the building, see who comes out and draw your own conclusions."
Search for a tribe
The best way to find the neighborhood you want, Fien says, is to frame your search in terms of the specifics you're looking for: a hopping nightlife, great restaurants, no garden or yard to maintain and a one-bedroom apartment, for example.
That's what Scott did last summer. She searched for "a place that's thriving, vibrant and socially has a lot of things going on, that's not child-centric."
She found it on Tampa's Harbour Island, where she purchased a condo in a 140-unit high-rise that is itself a thriving community, with yoga classes, wine tastings, progressive dinners, parties, cook-offs and endless group outings to restaurants, bars and concerts. She enjoys the mix of families – singles, retired and child-free.
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Her guide to Harbour Island was Tampa Realtor Matthew Silverman. He and his partner, Mark Silverman, moved there after their own search for paradise, or Shangri-La, seven years ago. The attraction: Families were vastly outnumbered and everyone was ready for fun at the drop of a hat.
"We have a cafe down the street," Silverman says. "Well, really it's a wine and champagne store, but everyone socializes there. And there's an Italian restaurant with a jazz band on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You never see children there. There's Cafe Dufrain — all organic, local food and customized toward people with that same lifestyle. Across the bridge — it's a five-minute walk — there's the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the busiest concert venue in the world and home to the hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning."
Small wonder that his childless clientele has grown from 5% to 20% of his business in the past five years.
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Previously, the Silvermans lived in Tampa's stately, historic Hyde Park neighborhood. They loved the area, their neighbors and the neighbors' children. Still, they were fish out of water.
"It wasn't that we couldn't be ourselves there," Silverman says. "It's just that everyone seemed to feel sorry for us. We had fun with the kids but everyone looked at you with these sad eyes, like, 'You poor thing, look what you're missing.'"
Lighten up everyone. People need to learn how to tolerate others as well as be considerate of others. Its really not that tough, it goes a long way and has a huge positive impact. Heres some examples - whenever i am in a public place and there is a crying/screaming/wining child, I do what i can to help, if i am able, and there is an opportunity to do so. Try making funny faces or funny sounds if they are very young. or a little older, show them a novelty or trick. It takes so little to entertain children and is almost always welcomed by the parents who may find it difficult to entertain their children at that moment.
Parents, please be aware of the impact your children are having on people, when you are in public. Be considerate, if your child is being unruly, please, remove yourselves from others whenever possible, and try to gain some composure.
I am able to have children, but dont, wont, and love kids anyway.
People should be free to live the lifestyle they enjoy, while of course, making an effort to minimize disturbances to others.
I want to go deeper with some comments here with reference to people who have chosen to live without children as being 'selfish' !! Wow... how does THAT compute? If you have children, have no life of your own left, and are miserable, that's your choice. We have choice as well. Mine is to serve others working globally to enhance their lives with quality, grace, beauty and peace. These activities have been performed in the sacrifice of my own life, with caring and selflessness. I think it's overdue, that we can actually go into a public space ~ fine restaurant ~ coffee shop ~ cocktail lounge ~ and (Vegas) Casino, without your screaming little brats, that you refuse to train or monitor!! Many of these venues have no appeal for children, and are frequented by adults, desperately trying to talk to each other, or do business, while you ignore what is going on in your environment, and bring in your disruptive kids anyway! These venues cannot ask you to leave, because, then you'll start yelling 'poor service' or something as ridiculous, so all they can do is roll their eyes while having to serve you. I understand your need for attention, and bullying, since many of you as parents, are actually louder than your children, who are rude and interrupting, while trying to be heard over you. I especially love it when you give them a spoon to bang on the table...perhaps we should all do it. I for one have HAD it with all of you. If you cannot hold some decorum in your life, control your children, take them to the playground, or bring them up the proper way, ALL of us are going to suffer. It often takes a community to raise a child, and if you are going to annoy us by invading our spaces, shattering the air, and adding stress to our days, then we will have to rebel. You don't like it, and become quite belligerent if anything is said to you, but it's time you are told, and asked to leave... by the community !! And, the reports continue to warn about population growth... a very real concern which began in the 70's ... not new. It’s so nice to see that there may be some respite and sanctuary in these neighborhoods away from your insanity. I hope to see so many more. I think I’ll help.
Disillusioned ... again.
I know some people don't do well with children and that's o.k. if they know that. But don't go out of your way to "make a statement" about it and show the world how "intelligent" you are by keeping down the population! YOU’RE KIDDING RIGHT!!!! Our population is shrinking across the board in the U.S. and worldwide. I would welcome any childless couple into our family's life with our four wonderful, amazing, gifts of God children. These annoying children that you say you can't be around will be your future! What's wrong with investing in them! Sadly, I’ve met too many "no kids by choice" couples and I wouldn't mind that they don't want kids, but their ATTITUDES are OUT THERE. They act superior as if they made a super intelligent choice with super organized homes and high priced coffees!! Imagine if their parents decided the same for them! We would have one less person wanting a dog to replace a child, and a trendy neighborhood to indulge their every whim!! Sorry, learn to be with families if you are childless. I am with childless couples all the time and many of them love being with our big HAPPY nest of kids! We always have room for everybody, childless, child like, childish, and on and on! I am close to 50, had my last at 45 and if I were young enough, I would have lots more!
The childless can pat themselves on the back for population control, I suppose. As a proud father of three, I'll pat myself on the back for doing my part to make sure Social Security and Medicare stay solvent for these childless folks when they get old.
My youngest will graduate from high school in 2 yrs. We are looking for a new place to live when we retire. A childfree place sounds GREAT!!
I have said for a long time that there needs to be childfree stores so that I can shop in peace without people dragging the tired screaming children to the store; now it is not the child’s fault that their parents can’t plan ahead for their child’s needs (i.e.-naps & feedings, etc.). But, they have places for people to go and hang out with their children, so there should also be places you can go and hang out without children or people with other dogs, etc.
I should be able to spend my money & time where I choose to, and so should you!
The main topic of this article begs the question: whether or not it is acceptable for people to be able to choose the type of neighborhood they want to live in? That is the very basis of this article as I see it. My basic answer is: Yes. If you're spending your hard-earned money (or easily gained money) you should get what you pay for. It's as simple as that!
However, if we wish to open up the lid on this very neatly canned issue, there are some conflicts between the haves and the have nots. Those who have children and those who do not. Within these categories lie those who have them and didn't wish to and those who wanted them and for whatever reason did not have any. Such is life. We don't always get what we want and we don't always want what we have!
If we can take anything from this commentary and make it useful, it the fact that in this land of freedom, we should respect each other's wishes and try not to impose our reality upon our neighbors. If we could all do this, there would be no need for these cloned communities. One interrelated problem is that there is a definate disconnect between "freedom" and "responsibility". These two should always come as a package deal. The freedom to have children definately comes with the responsibilty for raising them to act as proper and responsibile members of society. In many cases this has apparently been a monumental or impossible task. For example, we see more children being pawned off on their grandparents after the parents have failed at the task of being responsible parents. In the frail, weakened, less mentally acute state of older years, what do we expect grandparents to be able to do with these children who are bouncing off the walls with freedom and alphabetical maladies such as ADHD, ADD, etc?? So they unleash them on the public and now we have people seeking refuge from communities sans children! Quite a conundrum! Good luck to us all.
Some of us are FREE of children. Free of the annoyance, free of the burden, free of the BS. We're childfree, not childless.
If you want/have kids great but, if you don’t want kids that great too. I hate seeing comments about how selfish people are just because they don’t want children. This is America where you have the freedom to make your own choices! Everyone does not share the same dreams and everyone is not meant to be a parent. For example, there are fathers/mothers that don’t take care of their children and fathers/mothers who are abusing their children. Do you really think it was a wise idea for them to reproduce? Stop the psychological bull crap about people who don’t want kids are narcissist and stop the "bible babble" about procreation. You think God wants everybody (including bad parents to procreate?) Life is not black and white; there is always room for shades of grey.