Illustrator, Alessandra Olanow (@aolanow), lives in Brooklyn with her daughter Coco. She shared with us their favorite neighborhood haunts, how her own childhood differed from Coco’s, and let us in on the most important lesson she hopes to teach her daughter!
What do you enjoy most about raising your daughter in Brooklyn?
The community vibe, for sure. It’s easy to know your neighbors, the baristas, the butchers, the fishmongers, etc. Brooklyn is a friendly place if you let it be, filled with people from everywhere and I love that for Coco. Human connection is good.
Do you have any parent role models? Who?
Hmm, let's see…going to go with the Obamas.
We love your daughter's name! Is there a story or any meaning behind it?
Not really, her dad and I must have bounced a thousand names back and forth, and somehow Coco was the only one we could agree on!
Are there any extraordinary spots that only locals know about?
I’m not sure in this day and age that anything is a secret anymore - but some of our favorite spots are Rucola for early dinner, Brooklyn Bridge Park in the summer for a splash, Books are Magic for story time, and Van Leeuwan for strawberry ice cream.
How is Coco’s childhood different than your own childhood? How is it similar?
It’s pretty different. I grew up living in much smaller cities that were less diverse and I was less exposed to the arts. I was one of four kids, and my childhood was noisy (we were all competing for my parents attention!)
Coco is an only child, living part-time with me and part-time with her dad. I think we just have more bandwidth for her than my parents had. She’s growing up in an incredible city filled with so much art, music and culture and we do our best to let her experience it.
But, it’s similar in important ways, lots of love.
What's the most important lesson you hope to teach your daughter?
Be yourself, kid.