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This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
“Mom, dad, look! It’s a barge with a tugboat,” 3-year-old Tyler Holmes said, touching a floor-to-ceiling picture window that looks out onto the Hudson River.
Gazing at the frequently passing boats and ships has been among the youngster’s favorite pastimes ever since he and his parents, William Holmes and Allison Wing — she is the founder of Giggle, a chain of children’s stores — moved into this three-bedroom apartment in Battery Park City earlier this summer.
Having recently relocated from San Francisco, the family has put down roots in one of the neighborhood’s “environmentally advanced” residential towers, where apartments have energy-efficient appliances, paints and finishes free from fumes and “volatile organic compounds,” and filtered water from all faucets, showers, and bathtubs. Their building, called the Verdesian, also boasts solar panels for heat management, an air filtration system, and a rooftop rainwater-recycling station. “We have a pretty short list of priorities: good health, education, and family,” Ms. Wing, 40, said, speaking last week from the bright and airy 15th floor apartment. “That’s my philosophy, and that’s our philosophy at home.”
She added, “We care about the environment, but we also care about health, especially because we have a child with a young, developing immune system.”
Ms. Wing, 40, whose childhood home in Bozeman, Mont. — where she grew up as one of 10 children — boasted water fountains throughout, places a premium on livable spaces. “Great design is only part of it,” she said. “It has to function.”
Today her uncluttered apartment is adorned with many of the multifunctional products available at Giggle, a retailer of furniture, clothing, and other items for children. Giggle merchandise must meet least three of 10 of the following criteria: baby basics, good value, healthy, multi-stage, innovative, simple, portable, space-saving, responsible, and tested, Ms. Wing said.
Inside her apartment, there’s a Swedish-designed high chair that transforms into a stepladder, an armoire covered in chalkboard paint, and a frog-shaped storage bin for bath toys.
Speaking of multi-use, the apartment doubles as Mr. Holmes’s office. A former partner in a Bay Area law firm, he is now a stay-at-home dad, and the family jokingly dubs his part-time freelance law practice “Nap Time, LLC.”
Tyler’s room is decorated with dozens of colorful, circular wall stickers. The removable stickers on the room’s white walls are emblematic of Ms. Wing’s efforts to spice up the apartment’s neutral color palate with bold accents like coral-hued throw pillows on the living room couch and citrus-colored linens in the bedrooms.
Unlike many city toddlers, Tyler’s bedroom is not filled to the brim with plastic toys. Rather, it is adorned with a carefully edited selection of books, art supplies, and machine washable stuffed animals. “We’re not huge consumers,” Ms. Wing said. “We stay pretty far away from licensed products.”
The Wing-Holmes family came to New York last year when Ms. Wing, a former brand-marketing executive for Nike, decided to move the headquarters of her three-year-old company to New York City. Giggle has three Bay Area boutiques, in addition to a flagship SoHo store and an Upper East Side location.
Though they gave up their apartment in San Francisco, the couple maintains a house on two, lush acres in Napa Valley. As a nod to their love of California’s wine country — and wine, to be sure — Ms. Wing and Mr. Holmes have a wine refrigerator in their dining room.
Even 3,000 miles from their vacation home, amid high-rise condominiums and residential rentals, Ms. Wing said Battery Park City — which she calls “downtown’s most family-friendly option” — can itself feel like an away-from-it-all haven. She pointed out several parks and playgrounds just a stone’s throw from the Verdesian. “I love Central Park, but you share it with all the tourists,” she said. “Here, it’s private; here, you know everyone. It’s like a little village.”