Melissa Errico, founder of the wildly popular downtown mommy group Bowery Babes, was drinking tea at the Noho Star the other day, reflecting on her somewhat lapsed career as a singer and Broadway star, which has included cabaret performances at the Café Carlyle and starring roles in My Fair Lady, Cole Porter’s High Society, Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George and Michel Legrand’s Amour, for which she received a Tony nomination in 2003.
“I was saying to Patrick,” she said—as in Patrick McEnroe: the Davis Cup captain, brother of John, her husband and father of their three children—“that I have nothing to sell anymore, I’m just there. I’m so there. It’s just a sense that everything is O.K.”
Ms. Errico, 38, founded Bowery Babes in 2006, inspired by her prenatal yoga teacher, who stressed the importance of women banding together against the trials and isolation of impending urban motherhood. Now numbering more than 500, the Babes live in a loosely defined geographic bloc including the East Village, Soho, Chinatown and the Lower East Side (though residents of Williamsburg and the West Village have managed to sneak in, along with one stay-at-home dad). Their packed calendar includes weekly art classes, theater days, play groups, and postpartum “adjustment” parties at which wine is served and a counselor is present. (Alas, this reporter was not permitted to visit.)
Wearing a gray cashmere hoodie and a cherubic flush, Ms. Errico was clutching a BlackBerry, which buzzed incessantly. One mother was asking her to forward an email about a friend’s “strollercize” class to the group, which Ms. Errico hesitated to do because another Bowery Babe had her own stroller class. (She eventually relented since the classes were being offered in different neighborhoods.)
“Hey, Katia,” she said, answering the phone once before turning it off. “Is anything wrong? You need a nanny? Oh, how much is a nanny for a 24-hour stint? I can give you a couple of ideas. It’s basically like $150 a day. … I’ll call you back.”
Ms. Errico had less to say about her career—“I don’t really know what to say about it,” she said—than the Babes, of whom, she said, she has “completely the most tender thoughts I’ve ever had in my whole life.”