Jim Fenzel Art
art design illustration


illustrated blog about life in NYC apartment with 4 kids

Roo in the City:

an illustrated blog about life with four kids in a small apartment in the BIG city

Intro: Roo in the City


This is Roo.

She just turned one.

Roo lives with her mom, dad, and three older siblings in a NYC apartment on the east side of the isle of Manhattan which Roo’s grandma reminds them is not big enough for 6 people (“the kids need their space”, “have you considered a bigger place?”). But Roo’s apartment opens up to the whole big city—the bustling sidewalks, the towering buildings, the local school lots and playgrounds, shops and farmers’ market, and the wonderful, expansive Central Park.

The rest of the family:



Roo’s oldest brother is 9. He’s in fourth grade.

He used to be obsessed with Star Wars, now it’s baseball. And baseball stats, and baseball movies, and baseball books, and baseball cards. Roo loves the baseball cards too. She wants to grab them tightly in her little fists, bend them, eat them. To her dismay, she’s not allowed to touch the baseball cards, even though they’re left everywhere in plain sight and all the things she likes to climb up on. But Roo is undeterred. With a straight face and Sisyphean persistence, she keeps crawling and climbing, crawling and climbing back to countertops, bookcases, windowsills where she knows those cards reside.



Josie is Roo’s sister. Josie is 7 and starting second grade.

Josie wants to pick up Roo, toss Roo, play with Roo—until she doesn’t, or gets distracted. Sometimes Josie forgets a baby’s limitations. But often Josie is the one who really talks to Roo, dances with her, laughs with her, loves her.



He’s 3. He’s already in preK because he has a December birthday.

Benny considers himself a superhero, and he’ll gladly expound upon why: “One, I’m faster than even Charlie. I’m really strong. And also, I might be able to fly, but I’m not sure yet.”

Pretty convincing stuff.


Mom and Dad

Roo’s dad stays at home and draws and writes a bit. Roo’s mom works in an office nearby. They moved into Roo’s apartment 10 years ago when Roo’s mom was pregnant with Charlie. Allegedly it was spacious back then.

So ends post No. 1 of “Roo in the City”—Stay tuned for Roo’s first adventure!

nyc illustration merch (more to come): http://bit.ly/RooInNYC


Thx, Jim