Monday, October 18, 2010

Navigating Manhattan With Kids Pt. 1



(If you have kids and live in Manhattan, please disregard this post.  Also, please be my friend.)


The Subway


I don’t have a picture of the subway, but I am assuming that you have all seen it in movies at some point at least, yes? 

It is fast, it is loud, it is…a giant death trap.

Seriously, folks the subway platform has no railings!  No railings I tell you! 

Basically this means that someone (read: Joseph, Joseph, and Joseph) can run (/fall/jump/trip) right onto the tracks in about 4 steps.

But, I am getting ahead of myself.



First up: Stairs*


There are only a few stops on each subway line (the path that each train takes) that are wheelchair accessible, and I would have to walk quite a ways to reach one from our hotel.

So that leaves 2-4 flights of stairs, depending on the station.

I’m not so good at math (I had to have ONE weakness, you know), but 1 mama + 2 kids + a stroller + stairs = not good.


This is what I do:


I have Isaac strapped to me in a chestpack.

I get Joseph out of the stroller,

I put my backpack (diaper bag) on my back,

Joseph holds the stair railing with one hand (eewwwww I know!) and my hand with the other.

With my free hand (the one not holding Joseph) I pick up the stroller.

You following so far?  The ENTIRE STROLLER in one hand!  Can I get a “WOWZA?!”



And then we descend into the ground.

This takes about a million years. 

Joseph says goodbye to New York City and all of the buildings, then talks about how we are going “down down into the hole!” and takes his time on each step.

When we make it to the bottom, I am covered in sweat.  Well, since I am breastfeeding, I sweat most of the time, so I should say that I am covered in MORE sweat than usual.



Next, if I don’t have any money left on my Metrocard, I get a new one, while Joseph pushes about a million buttons on the Metrocard kiosk next to me.  (eeeeew again, I know!)

At this point I strap Joseph BACK into the stroller, because we are about to enter the death-trap-subway-platform.



Remember that this station is not wheelchair accessible, and I can’t push the stroller through the metal round-about things you use to get in (like at an amusement park, you know?).  

I have to get the attention of the person who works at the ticket booth (heaven help me if no one is there- luckily this has not happened yet) and signal that I need to go through the Service entrance. (a door next to the round abouts) 

I then swipe my card at the roundabouts, rotate them as if someone went through, and then walk over and wait by the service entrance until the attendant buzzes it open for me. 

We go out to the platform and I

a) hug the wall

b) try to attach myself in some way to the stroller so that it doesn’t roll away from me and onto the platform. (imagine the worst much?)



Then, the subway comes screaming into the station about a million miles per hour and comes to a screeching halt.

I now have a VERY short window of time to find a car that has room for me and my stroller and get on before the door shuts.



At this point, I have a lovely air-conditioned break. 

Someone almost ALWAYS gives up their seat for me/the baby-tumor on my chest/the stroller at my feet.  New Yorkers are really nice, I tell you!

I sit in the seat, and Isaac leans out of the chestpack, smiles at everyone, and tries to grab the subway pole (eeeeewwwww!  Isn’t this whole process just so disgusting?!)

Or else, he grabs the people sitting next to us. And their purses, headphones, zippers, hair, etc.

This can either go well, or horribly, depending on the type of person sitting next to us. 

Serious businessman or a homeless person = horrible,

 people on vacation or ladies just back from shopping = well.

Meanwhile, Joseph sits in the stroller and talks about the train ("Are we on the 1 mama?  Is this the 2?  The R?” ) and wants to know if every single stop is our stop.  (“This one, mama?  This is our stop?  This one?”)



Finally, we reach our stop, and I follow those same steps in reverse.

After we reach the surface, I walk to our destination.  We have a wonderful time (or, you know…not so much), walk back to the subway station and then it is stress, sweat, repeat.

Ta da!

You have successfully navigated the subway with 2 children!!

Now who wants some birth control?



I tell you, if it wasn’t for all of the awesome pizza/cheescake/indian food, I would weigh about 100 pounds.

But I would be SO hungry.

So there you go. 





* 8 times out of 10 someone helps me by carrying the stroller down/up the stairs for me.  Isn’t that wonderful?! I thank them by talking to them the whole time we are going down the stairs about what a great help they are and how much I appreciate it and about the weather.  Remember that in awkward situations I just can’t shut up… 


Jen said...

Ok, so this is MORE than impressive. You go girl!

septembermom said...

You're super mama! Look at me (native New Yorker) who still has not brought one of my kids on the subway yet! Tell Joseph and Isaac that they are veteran NY travelers already :)

Nichole said...

I remember seeing moms hefting those dang strollers all over the place in NY. Always thought they were tougher than tough!

Rachel said...

You poor woman :) At least your posts bring me back to somewhat sanity!

Jenners said...

You are amazing. Amazing, I tell you. I bow before your awesomeness. You should write a book. (Seriously. You are so funny.)

suzy said...

the most awful, but most wonderful story. thank you friend. here are your NY adventures that you were dreaming about! coming to life!