Culture / News

Not your average mama; she’s ‘BronxMama’

Susmita Chakraborty

Nicole Perrino and Martha Katechis from BronxMama.

Motherhood can be difficult without the necessary resources. Nicole Perrino was a new mother in 2006 when she first started looking online for things to do with her baby near her home in Parkchester. Her daughter, Briana, had just been born, and she was hoping to find ways to ease her way into motherhood by making connections with other parents.

She came up with nothing, and so Perrino decided to take matters into her own hands. With that, the BronxMama was born – a blog that provided a list of activities and events that parents can do with their children in the Bronx. A decade later, the blog has now expanded on putting The Bronx on the map by connecting brands with Bronx families and helping local Bronx businesses make connections with local families. It has now become a lifestyle blog that provides extensive content — from local events to giveaways to reviews to travel ideas to job/volunteer opportunities and more for — Bronx families.

“I came into the blogging world when it was just changing for the world of influencers,” said Perrino. “Brands were learning the value of working with smaller outlets to get their message across. Because of BronxMama, I’ve developed a resource for my community and through this, I have been able to travel and spend more time with my family.”

Raised in Queens, Perrino lived in Virginia and California as a teen, and in 2005, at the age of 17, she moved to Parkchester with her then-boyfriend, now current husband. Inspired by her friend Luigia who had already started her own blog, Perrino started her blog during the summer of 2008 as an undergrad, two years after her daughter was born. She graduated from John Jay College in 2010 with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, but immediately switched to public administration for her master’s there. Since Perrino had started BronxMama, she wanted to connect her educational background with her other life as a parenting blogger. While it initially began as a small personal blog with parenting links here and there, BronxMama was soon getting positive feedback from mothers living all over the Bronx.

“When I started writing that summer, I got comments right away and it’s because people started searching exactly what I was writing,” Perrino said. “And since there weren’t many blogs that put all the parenting resources and links in one place, people were very receptive towards it.”

Over the span of 10 years, Perrino’s BronxMama has expanded tremendously. With 4,204 visitors viewing her blog per month, more than 4,000 Twitter followers, and thousands of likes on Facebook, BronxMama reaches parents across the borough daily. In fact, after she added more information for fathers, she now has more male followers than female. Perrino has also received attention from various media outlets. She was featured in the NY Daily News, News 12 The Bronx, Brick Underground’s Best NYC Neighborhood Blogs, and so many more. Additionally, Bronx Times acknowledged Perrino as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in the Bronx in 2006. These social outlets helped expand her audience, motivating her to produce more content.

“What drives me to keep going is when more people started to recognize me at events and took the moment to thank me for providing them with these resources,” Perrino said. “It feels great receiving support from people in person for the blog.”

In addition to BronxMama, Perrino is the executive director of public relations for Windows of Hip Hop, a Bronx based economic development project promoting the educational, communal, and historical perspective of hip hop. She also serves on the board of advisors for the Bronx Children’s Museum as a parent leader.

Perrino went from being a solo part-time writer to working as a full-time on the blog along with five contributing writers and an intern who cover events and product reviews.

Contributor Martha Katechis, from Bedford Park, met Perrino through their daughters and joined the team in 2012. Katechis has a background in IT, works full-time as a data scientist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and writes for BronxMama part-time from home. Growing up around Bedford Park, Katechis always had a love for community life, especially in the Bronx.

“I like how BronxMama is a website that gears towards family so they can know that there are still really good things here in the Bronx,” said Katechis. You don’t always need to travel to neighboring boroughs. You can just shop local and be local.”

Charlene Arias, another BronxMama contributor, added, “I’m so proud to work with Nicole who has accomplished so much with her blog and has put the Bronx on the map by recognizing that the Bronx is a great place to raise a family. We have options, diversity, culture, and shopping. Nicole has highlighted all of the Bronx’s potential early on in the blogging world.”

Perrino currently lives in Throggs Neck with family. She wishes to eventually have an office of her own that is dedicated to expanding her writing projects and that can serve as a space for her team. Perrino is currently producing a six-week long event at the Bronx Zoo with her colleague at Windows of Hip Hop this spring. And she will continue to celebrate all things Bronx.

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