After living in Manhattan for more than 15 years, entrepreneur Erika London made the tough decision in 2020 to leave the city that she had called home since college to be closer to family on Long Island. The mom of two bid a fond farewell to New York City in her children’s book Queen of the Concrete Jungle.
We caught up with the first time author about her love letter to NYC, why she’s donating 100 percent of the proceeds from Queen of the Concrete Jungle to Moms for Moms NYC, and more.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Queen of the Concrete Jungle and why you decided to pen a children’s book.
EL: I have always wanted to write a kids book, I just didn’t know about what. Seeing the life sucked out of my city during the pandemic, without any idea of when or if it would come back, and what it did to the families around me inspired me to write this love letter to NYC and its moms to bottle up the magic that defines it through a child’s perspective.
What do you hope readers take away from the book?
EL: This book was written for everyone who has ever had (or still has) a love affair with NYC and I hope that it captures all the wonders that make it the best city in the world and everything we will always love it for. This book resonates with anyone that has ever left a piece of their heart there and taken a piece the city with them in it’s place.
You’re donating 100 percent of the proceeds from Queen of the Concrete Jungle to Moms for Moms NYC. Why was that a cause you wanted to support?
EL: This book was dedicated in part to all NYC moms because without our mom tribes, where would we be? Moms for Moms NYC is an incredible organization that supports single moms in need throughout the city and I am so happy to have partnered with them on this passion project.
You made the challenging decision to leave New York City last year. What was the toughest aspect of leaving?
EL: NYC has been my home for the last 16+ years, the toughest part is no longer waking up in the place that you love being in most. Nothing compares to the energy that NYC exudes, the convenience it offers and the opportunities it boasts.
What are some of your fondest NYC moments?
EL: Countless memories.. beginning with my college days at NYU, millions of outings, celebrations and adventures with family and friends, meeting my husband, starting dozens of businesses and having two children there. NYC has been the perfect backdrop for all of it.
In addition to writing Queen of the Concrete Jungle, you also founded WeShield during the pandemic. What led to the founding of the medical supply company?
EL: When our restaurants were shut down and our friends, family and frontline workers around us were in dire need, we did whatever we could to use our network to source PPE supplies and help as many people as possible. Several successful donations later, our reliability and competitive pricing became more and more attractive to different organizations and we quickly grew into a company of over 70 employees. We now source medical supplies to hospitals, healthcare networks and government agencies including the DLA, NYCHA and the VA and retail and entertainment companies including Gucci, the GAP and Hard Rock.
You wear so many hats – advisor, entrepreneur, investor, author and mom – so what projects are you currently focused on?
EL: As the world reopens, our focus at WeShield is on helping businesses reopen safely with the proper PPE supplies, including a partnership with the NYC Hospitality Alliance where we are donating free opening kits to NYC restaurants as well as reopening my own Sushi by Bou restaurants across the East Coast and resuming our expansion plans. I also have a couple more passion projects in the works.
When in the Hamptons, what are your go-to spots?
EL: Tutto il Giorno, Wölffer, Big Olaf and any beach with a sunset!
To purchase Queen of the Concrete Jungle, visit www.amazon.com.