Christie Booker arrives at babysitting jobs with jugglers’ scarves, twirling ribbons, a director’s clapboard, and a puppet named George who speaks in a shrill, staccato voice. The 30-year-old Louisiana native is a classically trained actress who moved to the city in 2003, dreaming of a big break and Broadway lights. So how did she end up using her Shakespearean training to narrate bedtime stories to 2-year-olds on Friday nights? Booker works for Sitters in the City, a group of wannabe performers and artists who discovered that babysitting, with its flexible schedules and captive audience, is better than waiting tables. For the kids, the draw is getting Broadway or MoMA in their living rooms. “Having a real job while pursuing a career that requires auditions is tough,” says actor Kristina Wilson, co-founder of the company, which opened last year. “Artists are very self-motivated and energetic. Their whole job is to sell themselves, so they’re naturals with kids.” Actor-singer Erin Kruse, 24, calms her charges with lilting lullabies; Sarah Martin, 30, who has a visual-arts background, sets up crafts tables with construction paper, stickers, and glitter; and a photographer turned sitter brings her portfolio and pages through it with the little ones. The service costs $18 per hour with a four-hour minimum. “It’s a little more expensive than your average college-age sitter,” says Liz Canino, a Manhattan mom who uses Sitters in the City for her musically inclined 2-year-old daughter. “I just love that my daughter is experiencing great music—I don’t have a talented bone in my body.”
646-246-6024 or sittersinthecity.com; $18 per hour.