The Wonder is open for (members-only) business

The Wonder, the members-only play space and parent hang that had everyone, well, wondering since they applied for a liquor license at CB1, opened on Mother’s Day (that was their unicorn!) with a waitlist already in place. It’s the brainchild of Sarah Robinson and Noria Morales, friends who met in the fashion industry and who were looking for exactly this kind of space for themselves when their kids were born a few years ago. (It’s the actual child of $2 million from the VC Female Founders Fund.)

For $450 a month, parents and/or caregivers can bring their kids in for the carpeted romper room, classes, lectures, a loungy reading nook, and of course, breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. This is an urban country club, a la Soho House, but completely kid-centric – except for the liquor license part and an interior room that is adults-only. They even have a motto: “We wanted to make quality time easier,” Morales quipped.

There were 45 families there on the first day; there’s a waitlist now as the team evaluates applications. (The pair said they are moving carefully to see how members use the space and when, so they can understand the flow; they are also evaluating applications for the age and number of kids, to make sure there’s not a glut of one age group.)

There are also some clever features, like the stroller detailing center sponsored by Dyson and bathrooms designed so kids can reach the faucets and the dryers. The place is 8,000 square feet with huge windows facing Hudson and Vestry. Without any children in there to muck it up, it’s a gorgeous space.

The gals may be onto something, and given the buzz, it won’t take much time to tell. They are certainly catching the wave of co-working spaces, which is what bred the idea. And not a single parent will tell you they are happy to just sit alone in their living room all day with their toddler. Plus they rattled off some stats that I just had to check, and sure enough, The Economist had the story: women are spending twice as much time with their kids now than they did in 1965 (it’s still only up to 102 minutes so there must be one of those time-standing-still things going on) and men are spending four times as much (except in France, where the numbers plummeted — go figure). Ergo, we need twice as many things to do with the critters.

As programming steps up, there will be family game nights, charades, lightsaber battles, crafts, and in case you’re wondering who’s running the show, town hall meetings where the kid members get to decide what’s on the calendar next.

The Wonder
174 Hudson
Hours: 8a to 8p



  1. I think this is a great idea in the perfect location. There are so many buildings in Northwest Tribeca that have multi-million dollar apartments but no playrooms for the kids. Those residents had the money but not the space.

  2. It is strange, I went to the website and the address is not listed. Intentional??

  3. “Evaluating applications” for what, the parent’s income bracket? This place sounds anti-democratic, anti-community and of a piece with the conversion of Tribeca into a boring, colorless enclave for the rich. Why live in a diverse city if you don’t want to encounter people unlike you?

    • There’s a waiting list of people already requesting membership, and from the wording it seems that the issue is that they are still determining how the place will function physically. It makes sense to look at age groups and configurations of children. It doesn’t seem like (and I hope it’s not) a situation where the wealthy will “bid” on spots to the exclusion of others. I assume the ability to pay the fee is the only limit to participation.

    • You’ve got a point but who cares – I wish these gals good luck. More room on the piers, parks and walkways for us regular folk. NYC is Raleigh NC now (well in many spots but not all) we just have to get used to it or move.

    • There is no waiting list. They will take anyone who can foot the bill. It’s a tactic to seem exclusive.