This post is for my (few) readers out there that do not live in NYC.( Actually, I only have like 5 readers total, so maybe 2 of you are reading this.. :)) If you live in NYC, you are welcome to read this, but you already know about the things I am going to post. I have been thinking about posting about this topic for a quite awhile because I think that until you have lived in NYC or some other very large city, you have no idea what it is like to get around the city with children. I still don't have all the pictures I wanted for this post, but I decided to go ahead and write the post anways.
I am going to attempt give you an 'insider's' view to getting around NYC with a baby &/or toddler. Now, I must first give props to my NYC friends... as you read this post, you will see why I am giving them props. I have several friends that have 2 children and a few with 3. Its hard to get anywhere with 3 kids, but in NYC, its even more difficult. Yet, these fearless moms navigate this city like pro's! (Susan and Carmen!)
Around the 'hood.....
When I am just in my neighborhood, getting around is not so difficult. Jonah rides in one or our two strollers and I walk everywhere we go. On a typical day, I'd say we do stay in our neighborhood and we stay within a 1 mile or so radius of our apartment.
We go to Central Park, we go to different playgrounds in the area, run errands to stores, etc. This aspect of getting around is not so bad and in general, I enjoy the walking. We have a BOB jogging stroller, which is an awesome stroller, and I prefer to use this one unless I am going in a smaller store or a really crowded area. We also have a Maclaren stroller which is the stroller I use pretty much anytime we leave our neighborhood. Here's a picture of each of the strollers I use. I couldn't resist posting the one of Jonah sitting in front of a big fan in a store we went in, hence the crazy hair. :)
Taking the subway....
I'd say that on average, Jonah and I take the subway (just the two of us) once/week. You may think, oh taking a subway, so easy... you just hop on the train at the station and you get off the train where you want to go. Well, yes, in some ways it is easy, but throw a stroller and subway stations without elevators into the mix, and no, its not so easy. I generally carry the stroller with Jonah in it up and down the stairs to get to the train. There are, by far, more subway stations without elevators than there are with. Here are a few pictures of me getting to the subway. At first glance at this picture, I look happy, but look a little closer -- under my breath I am cursing the person who thought it'd be a good idea NOT to put elevators in the subway station. ;)
Once I get down the stairs into the train station, there's another challenge. In this picture you can see the turnstiles that you have to go through to get to the train. There is a locked gate for the handicapped or for people that have something that won't fit through the turnstiles, such as a stroller. Convenient, right? Well, not really, you have to get the MTA worker behind the window in the 'office' to open the gate for you. Let me tell you, they are generally more than happy to accomodate [insert sarcasm here]. In some cases there is no one in behind the window, so then you have to try to beg someone who has already gone through the turnstile to open the gate for you so you can get your stroller through. Some people look at you like you are trying to keep from paying your subway fare....NO, that is not the case people!! I am just trying to get around NYC with my child! Here's a view of the turnstiles and the gate:
Once through the gate, we are finally ready to go get on the train, unless of course there's yet another set of stairs to get down to the platform. Then I will once again pick up my stroller with my 28lb toddler in it and carry him and all our stuff down the stairs... pretty hard to look graceful doing it :) (But just imagine if you have 2 or even 3 kids!) When we are finally on the platform, the excitement begins because Jonah loves waiting on the 'choo-choo'. Here are a few pictures of him waiting on the train...
And here is a picture of Jonah on the subway. You can tell his little lips are saying 'choo-choo!' The boy loves his trains!
Taking the bus....
So, if I am by myself and not in much of a hurry, the bus is definitely my preferred method of transportation in NYC. In most cases, I can find a seat, its somewhat relaxing and there is something to look at out your window. However, Jonah and I rarely take the bus. In order to take the bus, I would have to get Jonah out of his stroller, make sure there's nothing in the bottom carrying compartment of the stroller, fold up the stroller, while somehow keeping tabs on my (almost) 2 year old, and then get Jonah, the stroller, our stuff and myself up the bus steps and onto the bus. NOT easy. The times I have taken the bus with just me and Jonah, I have used my Pikkolo carrier which is probably one of the best purchases I have made since having a baby. If only I had known about it sooner... I would've bought it earlier!! Its great! I can carry Jonah on my back using this carrier. I don't have any pictures of just me and Jonah on the bus, but here is a picture of Jonah on the bus one of the times all three of us took the bus somewhere. Jonah seems to enjoy the bus too, but I think he prefers the 'choo-choo' if given the choice.
Taking a taxi:
This is probably the second easiest means of transportation in the city. I'd say the easiest is just walking everywhere you go. However, that is not always an efficient (or warmest) way of getting where you need to go. Riding in a taxi still means that you have to manage getting your child out of the stroller, the stroller into the trunk of the taxi, and then both of you and all of your stuff safely into the taxi. When I am by myself, I usually set Jonah in the taxi, throw my stuff in the seat with him and then quickly put the stroller in the trunk. Its either that, or have him stand on the side of the sidewalk while I put the stroller in the trunk. If you can manage to not have a stroller with you, getting a taxi is much less complicated. As some of you may know, and others of you have asked, you do not have to have a car seat to take your baby or child in a taxi in NYC. I know this sounds horrible and is definitely not the safest, but just think about the level of complication it would add if we did have to have a car seat everytime we wanted to take a taxi.... I for one would never be taking a taxi. Here are a couple of pictures of Jonah in a taxi... we just hold onto him for dear life and pray that we don't get into an accident. We don't take taxis all that often, but living in NYC, its almost inevitable that we will take a few taxi rides.
Well, there you have it. I think I have covered the major modes of transportation here in NYC. Not as easy as you thought, right??