Living In Metuchen
Meet the Napolitano family from Metuchen, NJ
Stats: Michael Napolitano, 42, Owner, Preschool of Rock (11 locations in NJ and NY)
Heather Napolitano, 42, Production Director, Allure Magazine
Kids: Emilia, 9; Sienna, 7
Home: $415K, Bought home in 2011
NJF: How did you two meet?
MN: We were both born in Metuchen and our parents still live here. The town’s only two square miles, and Heather’s father is the local pediatrician. We’ve known each other since we were three, but we didn’t realize our love could be serious until after college. How cheesy! But seriously, we lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1999 before it was hip and safe. We moved to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn and then to Jersey City before moving back to Metuchen in 2010 after Sienna was born.
NJF: Music is a passion of yours. How do you incorporate it into family time?
MN: There are a few ways this happens, sometimes organically. I’m constantly writing songs between Preschool of Rock and my band, Michael & the Rockness Monsters, which results in at least two albums a year. I demo the songs for the girls and they start vamping, writing lyrics and singing parts that I never would’ve thought of. They give me their incredibly honest opinion, as only children can. It’s invaluable in my songwriting process and I couldn’t do it without them. They also play multiple instruments, so we have family sing-a-longs where I play guitar and the girls (including Heather) sing.
NJF: Who takes care of the girls when you’re both working?
MN: Finding someone to watch them used to be a struggle. We had a caregiver for a long time and I was a stay-at-home dad for many years. Once Preschool of Rock started growing, I was able to hire some help.
NJF: What’s your work schedule like?
HN: I work at Allure part-time and go to my office on Mondays and Tuesdays I work from home Wednesdays. I commute by NJ Transit and the PATH. My mother-in-law watches the girls on Mondays and Tuesdays after school until 5 pm when Michael picks them up. The girls are in school all day, so it works out. I work for Preschool of Rock on Thursdays and Fridays.
NJF: What do you love about living in Metuchen?
MN: It’s a hidden gem. The train is quick to NYC, but you can also be at the beach in a half hour or to New Brunswick in 10 minutes. We have so many restaurants to choose from. There’s a huge arts community and the residents here really love the town. People put their heart and soul into the community. I’m also a board member on the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce. People who went to high school here return with their kids. It still has that Norman Rockwell feel.