To Stroll or Not to Stroll, That is the Question


This afternoon, Francisco and I were welcoming the Year of the Ox in New York City’s Chinatown.  The streets and sidewalks, which are narrow enough anyway, offered little wiggle room… much less room for a stroller, though plenty of parents tried to push their way through the crowds, who weren’t much interested in parental plights… they just wanted to see those cool-looking dragons.

New York City is not a stroller friendly place in general, though that doesn’t stop parents from buying the SUV version of strollers for their infants and toddlers and trying to stake their claim on the city’s streets. Strollers are status symbols among NYC parents, not just brand names, but also styles. One of the most popular strollers at present is a long-legged number that has the kid facing the parent, at mid-riff height.

Navigating the sidewalks of New York is tough enough under normal circumstances. This is not a place for people who have agoraphobia or claustrophobia, and truth be told, it’s not a place for strollers. People are in a perpetual hurry, they’re not averse to shoving, and even if they love babies, they’re not likely to be patient for the stroller to yield.

But it’s when strollers go underground that things get really out of control.

Women struggling to haul strollers (with a kid in them) up or down the stairs, angling for a position on a crowded platform or in an even more crowded subway car… it’s not a pretty sight.

To stroll or not to stroll?

I’m inclined not to stroll–at least not in Manhattan. But I’m wondering why I don’t see more Moms and Dads wearing baby backpacks or those snuggly thingies. Is there something someone isn’t telling me?

(If so, please leave a note in the comments!)


5 responses »

  1. This is a tough one…A baby carrier isn’t always easy- babies are heavy you need TONS of stuff when out and about with them. To carry the baby and a diaper bag would be difficult and not to mention break your back. I think a stroller is much easier-you can attach the diaper bag to it and still have room for extra’s- like coffee and keys.

  2. Querida Julie: for our little family happiness is…BABYWEARING!!

    It feels sooooo wonderful to have our baby (now our toddler) so close to us…Layla has always seen the world from our point of view…It’s so cool to see her pointing to something, and being able to name it immediately: “that’s a flower, let’s see if it has a good smell”.

    Plus: young babies really need that closeness…They need it in order to feel secure and attached to their moms…

    And Mom’s hands are free!

    Most baby slings and carriers have pockets where you can put the essencials: keys, cell phone, money, and even a couple of clean diapers/cloths. I love our Ergo Baby!

    More info about BABYWEARING:



  3. Finally:
    Does babywearing break your back? Mmmm. People often tell me this, and then I see the same people working out hard at the gym, climbing, skiing or running…But for some reason the idea of carrying their babies around for a couple of years seem a big physical effort that they are not able to do…

  4. I know I don’t have mommy-cred on this (quite yet), but in my years as a nanny, I learned that most strollers are so infuriatingly difficult to manuever–unless you only use them on perfectly smooth surfaces with no one around and a wide margin for turning–that whatever strain the snuggly-thing puts on your back, it’s worth the trade-off. And it’s definitely less lonely and scary for Baby to be riding at chest height, and to be able to see you, than to be pushed along head first into a sea of unfamiliar people’s knees.

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