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Stroller vs Subway

How I love the NYC subway!  An underground world that has the oldest and most extensive transportation system in the world, with newspaper stands, quick-bite vendors, small shops, coffee and flower stands, precincts, street performers and the occasional filming.  The underground world has the same hustle and bustle as the world just a few feet above.

During my BC days (lets refer to it as before child and AC as after child) in the underground world I would scurry up and down the long subway stairways, breeze through turnstiles, run to catch the subway, squeeze through the subway doors before they would shut, then slither my way through a crowded subway car saying, ‘sorry, sorry’ (New Yorkers tend to say sorry rather than excuse me) if it was crowded.  And, I loved every bit of it.

Something not so glamorous about the underground world, watching other mothers carry their baby and stroller up and down the long busy subway stairways.  They looked exhausted, hot, tired and it honestly looked like grueling work.  At the time I thought, never me, no way, won’t ever happen!

Now, here I am 7 years later, with a sweet little baby and a stroller, living in Brooklyn, and a strong will to get into Manhattan!  Only one stop from Brooklyn to Manhattan, 5 minutes to Union Square and fifteen minutes to Soho!  Will the stroller stop me from riding the subway?  Or, will I have a whole new respect and understanding for the subway stroller mom?

Today we took the subway and this is what it was like…

Over time I have acquired the fast New Yorker walk.  I can usually see the wind blowing through Madison’s hair, from the speed of the stroller, as I hurry through the city streets.  Attached to the stroller I have a diaper bag with the 30 necessary items for the day, my handbag with mostly Madison’s things, and a lipstick for me.  I usually forget something, but once we are out the door, it’s considered a loss cause for the day, and we will make do somehow, we always do.

As we approach the stairway to the Bedford subway stop, I mentally get ready.  The stairway might be busy with subway goers and Madison is not the lightweight baby she used to be.  I have my standard routine, quickly check to make sure Maddie has a toy, her feet and hands are tucked in, wait for her to flash me a smile so I know she’s ready, take a deep breath, lift the loaded stroller onto my hip, and down we go!  I’m quick, steady, focused, and tightening my grip all the way down.  Dodging a few subways goers coming up and keeping my fingers crossed the subway won’t let out a rush of riders heading up.  Once we hit the first platform, I exhale, glance at Maddie and she’s still smiling.  I would be too if I got carried down the stairs!  We’re getting closer.

Next hurdle, the turnstile.  I position Maddie by the gate, look around to make sure she will be safe for a few seconds by herself, quickly swipe my card, hurry through the turnstile, prop the gate open and grab the stroller.  What gives me strength?  Knowing I’m losing a few more pounds of post-pregnancy weight!  Almost there!  I take a deep breath, prop the stroller on my hip once again, and head down the second set of stairs.  I can see the subway letting off passengers in the distance; I used to hurry to catch it, now I realize nothing is that important to rush.

Now on the main platform, we scurry along passing one of the many NYC subway performers, a couple panhandlers, find our spot, and…wait…here she comes!  Madison used to cry when the train would roar by, now she’s an adjusted city baby and watches it zoom inches away from her, while squinting her eyes from the train’s strong winds.

We enter the train, a few subway-goers ask if I would like a seat.  I usually prefer to stand, like to enter quickly and exit quickly, hopefully not running over anyone’s toes!  While making stops, I move the stroller to let people on and off the train.  Madison will sometimes toss a toy across the isle, I will have to retrieve it, or a nice subway-goer will pick it up for me.  Usually the 2nd or 3rd time it happens, I’m on my own.  Madison, now getting a little restless, is needing something?  I’m not sure what, and pull out all the tricks.  Looks like the cheese puff snacks are the winner.  Only a couple more stops, a lot more passengers, one more transfer, a handful of stairs, and a few more snacks thrown on the ground for mom to pick up and we’re there!

Our day has just begun.  Sometimes we get lucky and someone will help us on the stairs or there might be an elevator.   I have learned a few tricks on packing light, know the best times of day to ride, and I just appreciate and enjoy the time I have with Madison.

In my BC days, I used to grab a handbag and go.  I might have been a little more spontaneous and I might have looked a little more refreshed when arriving to my destination.  Now in my AC days, I have a few more hurdles than I used to, but it’s well worth it and I would not change it for the world.

So, stroller or subway?  I think stroller wins!  We’re still riding and loving it!  I’m officially a subway stroller mom.  Until tomorrow my underground world.

Has something challenged you, yet you have not given up?  I would love to hear about.

Until next ride,


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  1. Jane says:

    Amy – I think I would drive, ha, but the subway is a lot easier way to get around the city than a car. Watch out for the heat down there this week!


  2. Haley says:

    Stroller! Stroller! Stroller wins! I should be using the subway more.


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