How Do You Manage Subways and Buses in NYC With Two Babies? (You Don't)Rebecca from Fosterhood
Without question, the hardest part of having two babies in New York City (NYC) is transportation. It’s nearly impossible. I haven’t had a car since I moved to the city 14 years ago. Most people use public transportation. I love it. No road rage or books on tape, I can read, sleep and, in past years, even ride after a few too many drinks. Walk a few blocks, hop down a flight of stairs or two, get on the train, get off and go back up a flight of stairs, a few more blocks and I’m at my destination. Easy peasy.
It’s hard enough with one baby, but I’ll skip straight to the two baby explanation.
The bus: Buses only allow strollers if they’re folded up. That means you have to take a baby out of a stroller, hold them with one arm, close your stroller with the other and then use your magically-sprouted third arm to quickly swipe your metrocard for payment. Oops, that’s how you do it with one baby. With two babies, you don’t ride the bus. It’s literally impossible. Even with a friendly stranger to hand a baby over to, folding a double stroller is almost always a 10-person activity. That’s why I don’t ever fold mine. It’s just not happening. I could “wear one and push one” as I say. Meaning one baby can be worn on my chest in a harness and the other can go in a stroller. But I’m still back to holding two babies, a stroller and trying to climb bus stairs.
The subway: There aren’t any rules about folding a stroller on the subway. I’ve seen signs requesting it but I’ve never seen any moms following it. In order to enter the subway station, the manager will buzz a parent with a stroller in through the emergency exit after paying the fare. The issue is the multiple flights of stairs. Unless I’ve got an umbrella stroller and a toddler that can at least stand on their feet (walking isn’t necessary), I can get said child of mine and a stroller up and down various flights of stairs. Frequently, people will offer to help and it seems to be a universal rule to always except help — if only to keep passengers in the habit of helping! Now, back to two babies. Even a professional athlete should not consider traipsing a double stroller down flights of stairs alone — with or even without babies in it. And don’t expect help from strangers. Even attempting to take a double stroller in the subway says “I’m rude or helpless. Either way, I’m expecting someone to miss their train to help carry all of us through the station”. Which is probably exactly why I’ve never once seen a double stroller in the subway. There still is the wear one baby and push one baby in a stroller option but that sends me back to dependency on strangers for the stairs.
A taxi: Expense aside, riding in a taxi hasn’t completely different challenges. First is car seats. They don’t exist. Legally they don’t have to. I don’t know any parents who carry a car seat around with them in the city. It’s beyond impractical. One baby and me in a cab is OK. Two babies crawling around and I don’t think it’s safe.
Walking: This is what I do. A lot of it. Except when it’s zero degrees!
Also from Rebecca this month: