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Jackson Heights man starts dads beer meetup to build community

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A Jackson Heights dad is hoping he can help other fathers or even fathers-to-be rescue their social life with a monthly get-together over some cold drinks — after the kids are in bed.

Jonny Goldstein moved to Jackson Heights a little over a year ago after a series of moves to other cities with his wife and 4-year-old daughter. He said he found it hard to maintain a social life in a new neighborhood while being a parent of a small child.

“When you have a small child, or small children, that takes a lot of your time and energy so I think a lot of people’s social lives suffer and that certainly was the case for us,” Goldstein said.

He added that he does come in contact with other families around the Jackson Heights neighborhood and casually will have conversations with families on playgrounds but friendships normally don’t develop during that short amount of time.

“We go to work, come home, make dinner, put kids to bed and then collapse and start all over again,” he said.

With previous experience in helping start other groups and meetups sharing common interests in other cities he has lived in, Goldstein thought it would be nice to be able to get dads in the community together.

He reached out to a friend in San Francisco, mentioned the idea and found out dad meetups had already been taking place on the West Coast for years. This gave Goldstein the confirmation he needed to start his own.

“I thought, ‘Hey, I bet I’m not the only person in this neighborhood who would like some very low-key random socializing,’” he said.

Goldstein then set up the first-ever Jackson Heights dads beer meetup, which took place on July 31 and saw over 20 dads from the neighborhood and also nearby communities coming out to hang out and talk.

Afterwards, he said he received a lot of positive feedback from attendees and many people also thanked him for bringing them together.

“The nice thing is walking around the neighborhood since then, I’ve bumped into guys that I met and I’m sure that that’s happening to everyone that was there,” he said. “Even if it’s that casual interaction on the street, it improves my experience and hopefully their experience, too.”

Goldstein added that the goal of these meetups, which will occur on the last Friday of every month, is to give these dads the chance to have a social life that can turn into friendships or also help out with learning about the neighborhood.

He added that these meetups could also help the dads and dads-to-be hear about useful community information and also meet with other dads who have children the same age or have already experienced raising younger children.

“It’s very low-key and it’s after you put your kids to bed so it’s not disruptive to your parenting,” he said. “I would definitely encourage people in the neighborhood to give it a try.”

Goldstein said everyone is invited to attend the meetups, and dads do not need to be drinkers to participate. He also asks for women to please pass along the invitation to some dads they think would benefit from attending.

The next dads beer meetup is set for Friday, Aug. 28, from 9:30 to 11 p.m. at the Ready Penny Inn, located at 37-07 73rd St. To RSVP email Goldstein at jonny.goldstein@gmail.com.

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