New York is a strolling city. The general public may not promenade like once it did here in the Biggest of Apples. But for City Mamas, strolling is a way of life. We don’t put our kids in car seats, drive to the Super Target, get them out, strap them into gigantic shopping carts with racecar kid seats, and then push them down aisles wide enough to fit two Volkswagen Beetles side by side. Nope. We stuff them in jackets, hats and gloves, wrangle them and their strollers down the stairs from our third floor walk-up, out the ten ton door, and then down the precipitous cement steps to the street. But that’s just the beginning. Then we stroll the ten blocks in the rain or snow to the grocery store, hope someone will hold the door open for us as we go in, and then make the treacherous trek to the cereal shelves, through aisles that barely accommodate us and our strollers. Let alone more than one stroller or…heaven forbid…a stroller and an old lady cart.
Shopping in New York with a stroller is one hurdle short of an Olympic event. And if your kid happens not to be smiling and cooing angelically during your trip, you’ll find yourself negotiating surly New Yorkers who glare and resentfully hold their baskets over their heads as you smush by. Oh, and then you’ll pay eleven dollars for a box of cereal. Yeah the city is hoot.
As a result, however, our strollers rock. They have to. We need strollers that will turn on a dime, roll smoothly, negotiate uneven pavement without hurling our children into oncoming traffic, and take up as little precious real estate as possible. Before we had our baby, my husband and I started keeping track of the strollers most New Yorkers were pushing around. So here, in no particular order, are the three most commonly spotted strollers in New York City. This list is in no way scientific or even all that thoroughly researched. And for the record, it is also not sponsored or financed by any of these three companies. It’s just the accumulated knowledge of my observation on the street, at playgroup, at music class, and in the grocery store.
The Maclaren– Did I say no particular order? Well, honestly, this is the stroller I see the most often of all. Maclarens are everywhere. We got a Maclaren Techno XT just like this photo for a baby gift (thanks Granny), and I honestly could not live without it. It is rugged and utilitarian but it drives like a friggin’ Porche. These are the most affordable of the top three NYC strollers. That said, they still aren’t cheap. But if you use your stroller every single day like I do, you need a good one. And this is a good one. The only slight bummer is that the guy at the Children’s Museum folded it up really ferociously once and the hood part at the top bent a bit. Still works fine. It’s small enough and light enough that you can fold it up and lug it on the bus or into the subway fairly easily. You won’t find the others on this list doing that so often. I can’t say enough about this stroller.
Bugaboo Frog Stroller – Over six hundred dollars for a stroller??? Are you flipping kidding me!??! No. I’m so not kidding you. And let me just say that this is an incredibly commonly seen stroller. It is no bargain. But it is amazing. My friends who have these, love them. They are also everywhere in New York and for good reason. I don’t want to get into details about what exactly is in the big huge nasty crud-filmed puddles that line the curbs of New York City sidewalks. No one wants to go there. Especially not your precious tot. Now take a look at the wheels on this baby. This stroller was made for city streets. If the Maclaren is a Porche, the Bugaboo is a Ferrari. It drives like a dream. It has oodles of compatible accessories that all fit together beautifully (check out the footmuff stroller bunting) and if you’re looking for the best of the under a thousand strollers (oh, yeah, they go higher) and you’re not planning to haul it up and down loads of stairs, the Bugaboo is the way to go.
Phil & Teds Double Stroller– Believe it or not, there are brave city parents who choose to have (dum dum dum) a second child. The old side by side double strollers have been nearly completely replaced by Phil and Teds double strollers, for obvious reasons. You don’t come down the sidewalk like a Mack Truck, causing people to leap into traffic or flatten themselves against buildings to avoid you. And you can actually make it through the door of the D’Agostinos. This stroller is sleek and sexy and absolutely everywhere.
Now I can’t tell you how to spend your baby budget. There’s a bunch to buy and put on your baby registry and only a limited pool of cash. But if you’re a City Mama, or a City Mama-to-be, or if you just plan to get out there and walk a lot with your baby, I can’t think of a better way to spend your money than on a really good stroller. Your back will thank you.
Got a stroller you think can take on these giants and maybe not break the bank? Leave me a comment and let us all know!