Bed-Stuy Blog contributor Mikhal Weiner is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Annika Kaye, who has started the Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in the neighborhood.
I met with Annika Kaye on a recent Sunday morning to talk about Brooklyn, being neighborly, educational philosophy, but especially about her new initiative – The Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in Bed-Stuy. As Kaye pushed open the glass door, she smiled broadly, making her way out of the June sun to join me at a back table. She folded her sunglasses and set them on the table, looking positively joyful.
Kaye is a lifelong New-Yorker, born in Stockholm, Sweden but raised in Chelsea in a bustling apartment building. “As a child, my concept of community was saying hello to people in the elevator and that was kind of it. We didn’t know anyone else on the block or surrounding our own building,” she told me. Nevertheless, even as a child she found herself creating mini-communities – getting to know her neighbors and babysitting younger kids in the building, even though she herself was, at the time, quite young. “Now, as a mother, I can’t imagine leaving my kid with a ten year old, but back then…” she chuckles. It was another time and another place. Brooklyn is different, though, she says, “Slower pace, greater space, community…it’s a very noticeable difference. Neighbors saying hello to each other, kids coming over for spontaneous playdates, that’s what I appreciate about Brooklyn.”