New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Brooklyn Baby

A photographer follows a millennial couple as they navigate life with a baby in 2022.

Dec 15, 2022

Many American millennials are terrified of having babies. Despite living in the tumultuous year of 2022, Magi Figueroa and her husband, Mike Figueroa, decided to bring a child into the world. This project tells the story of Magi and Mike, from their engagement to the birth of their first-born, Ava Jayne Figueroa. 

The sociopolitical and economic conditions of 2022 — including a baby formula shortage, the rising cost of living and the COVID-19 pandemic — complicate a story that already includes postpartum body image, paternity leave and the search for a new home. These images represent the life of a new family living in Brooklyn in 2022.  

“When I first met Mike I remember a friend of mine asking, ‘Who was that guy?’ I responded, ‘I don’t know but I plan on finding out.’ He came in every day.”

A photo of a couple hugging in Central Park.

Magi Figueroa and Mike Figueroa smile for a portrait in Central Park.


They met in June of 2018 when Mike came into her gelato shop, Polosud, on the corner of Broome and Mott streets.

“I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee with my twin sister and partner in crime. I spent all my growing up years as a super book nerd, but with the closest group of friends ever who I’m still friends with today.”

“I grew up in a town in Staten Island called Great Kills. Growing up, whenever firefighters would pass, I remember my mom saying, ‘Wave at them, Mikey, your dad might be on one of them!’ I loved the excitement of the lights, sirens, the adrenaline, and the ability to be the person people come to when they’re in danger, as someone they know they can depend on. Helping people solve a problem and watching them light up with relief has always been so gratifying to me. I enjoy helping people.”

A collage of a woman and a man holding a baby before and after labor.

Magi holds Ava on July 14 and Nov. 18, 2022. // Mike holds Ava on July 14 and Nov. 18, 2022.


Named after her great grandmother, Ava Jayne Figueroa was born at 3:25 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2022. After 15 hours of labor and a failed epidural, Magi said that she will remember her nurses, Marissa and Jessica, for the rest of her life.

A photo of a baby with a pink pacifier looking at the camera.

“It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. But now I honestly feel like I can do anything and am just in awe of myself. And to be honest, Mike was amazing through it — I felt like I was dying and it was as if he was the only reason I didn’t.”

The United States experienced a severe shortage of infant formula in 2022 as a result of a global supply chain crisis. Ava needed Enfamil Added Rice formula for acid reflux, but there seemed to be no supply available in New York City — until Magi and Mike found four boxes at a CVS in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. There, the couple only bought two boxes in case there was another family who also needed formula.

“We talked about how lucky we were to find the boxes for the rest of the day. We ended up going back to buy the other two the following day. We ultimately made the decision as parents that we needed to fight for our daughter.”

The Figueroas signed a lease for their new home, a third floor apartment in Bay Ridge, on Nov. 10. The new apartment provides the family with natural light, a room for Ava and a spare room that they have since designated as a small home gym. Because their previous landlord agreed to break their lease two months early, Magi said that they were able to find an apartment that was perfectly compatible with their needs.

“Body image has nothing to do with your body and everything to do with your mind. There were so many times before pregnancy that I wasn’t at peace with how I looked. When all is said and done, our bodies show up for us every single day. I built arms and legs and lungs and a heart from scratch. I brought a new life into the world.”

Nov. 18, 2022. Mike checks his phone before their first dinner at their new dining room table.

Nov. 18, 2022. Magi takes a break from cooking to kiss Ava goodnight before Mike puts her to bed.

Developed for web by Camila Ceballos

Contact Sheridan Smith at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *