How Many Tribeca Pediatrics Does a City Need?

In 1994, Dr. Michel Cohen, a 35-year-old Moroccan-French émigré, opened Tribeca Pediatrics in a storefront on Harrison Street in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood.

Dr. Cohen had tousled brown hair and wore thick-framed eyeglasses and clothes by brands such as Commes des Garcons, Paul Smith and A.P.C. He rode around the neighborhood on a bicycle and made house calls to newborns and their vulnerable parents, as if TriBeCa were a quaint village and he a country doctor.

Rather than a sterile medical building, Tribeca Pediatrics’s street-level office was actually the front half of Dr. Cohen’s loft apartment, where he lived with his artist wife, Jeannie Weissglass, and three young daughters, who would run in and out while he saw patients.

Cheery and bright, with vintage wallpaper from Secondhand Rose and toys in the waiting area, the practice was “low intervention,” the phrase Dr. Cohen used to describe his approach to medicine. He prescribed antibiotics to children only when he deemed it absolutely necessary, and, controversially, recommended sleep training babies — that is, letting them cry through the night without soothing — at 16 weeks (he later shortened the threshold to 8 weeks).

In the bourgeois, bohemian circles of Lower Manhattan, Dr. Cohen became a local celebrity. He appeared in GQ magazine, published a book, “The New Basics: A to Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent,” and treated the offspring of fashion-world and Hollywood notables like Annie Leibovitz and Jennifer Connelly.

“I was known as a revolutionary hippie doctor,” Dr. Cohen said recently. “And also because of the way I dressed, and my kids, a little bit more funky.”

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