It's become evident that more and more families are choosing to raise their kids in some of the urban environments their parents fled years ago, NYC included.
And many city restaurants have decided it makes business sense to cater to those very young customers. Some eateries have expanded or added special children's menus, set up free check-in services for strollers and upscaled their gifts (not just crayons).
But an upscale Harlem pizzeria has gone in the opposite direction. It decides on a case-by-case basis when it will serve large groups of children during the adult dinner hour. The restaurant has said business is hurt when parents can't discipline unruly children, and that large groups with kids don't generate enough revenue to cover the bills. Its decision led to a social media uproar.
This isn't some French-reservations-only restaurant, but even pizza shops should be able to enforce rules of conduct. Having said that, banning children at dinnertime seems like an overreaction that would probably hurt business.
It cuts both ways, though.
Parents, I have a 3-year-old daughter. I know it's hard to get kids to act properly. But if your little snowflakes are prone to misbehave in places of business, don't take them there. Kids will be kids, but those with home training will behave.
If my daughter acts up or makes a mess, I'll leave. If you and your children are in a restaurant that doesn't particularly cater to kids, make sure they can handle themselves. Avoid the embarrassment and don't mess up someone else's dinner.
There are plenty of child-friendly restaurants in the city. In fact, there's one a few blocks from where I live in Inwood that serves good food and provides an atmosphere that allows children to wander around a bit and stare at the dessert display. That restaurant gets most of my eating-out budget. Even when I don't have my daughter with me, I stop there.
When I think of a pizzeria where I might host a child's birthday party, I think of the one that welcomes all of my family. With more young people moving into cities, as a recent Brookings Institution study found, eateries that don't want to serve our entire families stand to lose out.
We'll take our business elsewhere.