Sunday, February 06, 2005

Central Park

Went for a small wanderance in Central Park this afternoon. Walked past the Central Park Zoo and the seals that seemed to be enjoying the sun while swimming around in their aquarium.

Upon this walk I realized how much I hate strollers. You know the strollers I am talking about. The ones that hold a single child in it either asleep, awake, or throwing a temper tantrum cause they wanted this or that. The major problem I have with the strollers, besides holding whiny children, is that it seems to slow down the mothers and fathers who push them. Perhaps it is the large bags of brick a brack that these wonderful parents have loaded the stroller down with. Anywho, they are just dead slow. Add to the problem that it is hard to pass them when in a crowd, nevermind when there are two strollers across.

Welcome to New York City, the city of pedestrians. Along with pedestrians today comes strollers. It also angers me that these wonderful people who push the strollers take the subway. Now lets stop here for a moment. Lets remember when the New York City subway system was built mostly. Yup, the subway system started in 1904, way before someone even dreamed up the obnoxious idea of a stroller. Therefore, many of the stations were built over or were not configured for the idea of an elevator. In fact, the idea of anybody needing devices like wheelchairs wasn't even thought of. Thus, many stairways are narrow and, in some cases, twisty and turney.

Now back to the ongoing saga. I, being the strapping young man that I am, are called upon to help out the poor shmucks who get off at stations without working elevators in order to lift the front end of the strollers (as well as everysingle package on the stroller including child sometimes) and walk up the stairs.

Even better is when the parent wants to attend to the screaming occupant of the stroller in downtown Manhatten. You see in Manhatten every single inch of sidewalk space is required in order to maintain a certain flow of pedestrian traffic. Add a single stopped stroller in the middle of the sidewalk, and chaos looms. It is not just people with strollers that stop in the middle of the sidewalk though that bother me, pedestrians that stop on a dime to look at the windows or some strange building. ARGH!

Anyway, I got on a tangent there with that whole stroller thingy. Back to Central Park. I walked through enjoying the beautiful old trees and clean walkways into the Rambler bird section. I walked up and around a couple of trails until I ran into a dozen people with their binoculors and expensive cameras out looking at, you won't believe it, simple American Goldfinches. I was flabbergasted. One of the most common birds that fight over the bird feeders back home in Canada.

I continued on up through the park admiring the wildnerness within a city of over 12 million people and yet it was very peaceful, except for the strollers! ARGH!


  1. C'mon, Cuz! Take it from your older, wiser, currently-a-parent-with-a-stroller-cousin! Yes, they are annoying, yes they block traffic - but, think about it - would you rather have that screaming toddler lying in the middle of the path, having a full-blown-arms-and-legs-flailing temper tantrum? Talk about your traffic stoppers! OR better yet, have that toddler walking along at an even slower pace (think SNAILS!), clinging to his/her parent's hand?

    Admit it - the stroller is the best place for the "wee folk" to ride - it's safe, it's convenient - and it's the only way to travel with a wee one!

    (And, NO, staying home is NOT an option!!!)

    Yer cuz,

  2. I agree with your Cuz there Mike. Strap them in and keep them from spreading havoc all over the park.

  3. May be faster to have the young 'ons travel by stroller. But do their parents have to travel so slow as well? Come on people pick up the pace!

  4. Like family gatherings? Except we can't make fun of Cheli for waving her hands while she talks.

    Anyway, perhaps the childless pedestrians that cut people off with strollers are just tired of waiting for an opening in order to pass the "stroller inhibited" (does that sound right?...hmm...) parents who take so long.

  5. I feel like I am barging in on a family conversation but...
    Mike, I think you were just complaining to hear yourself complain.
    Maybe strollers did not exist in 1904 when the subway system was built, but baby buggies did. And anyone who has ever seen a baby buggy knows that they are considerably more cumbersome than a stroller. Add to that fact that in 1904 very few streets were paved, so you had slow ladies pushing baby buggies through mud drenched streets -- talk about slow.
    I think perhaps we should give you a small child for a day (say about 11 months to a year and a half old), without a stroller... but complete with all the necessities (from diapers to teething gel to bottles) and send you out for a walk. We can do this as an expirament, and see what your opinions of strollers are after that.
    And one final comment. Did you ever consider that the world is not as slow as you seem to think it is... remember the rest of the world's legs are 5 feet long.

  6. k... in response to that I will just say. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk to deal with your screaming kid. Would you stop in the middle of the Gardner Expressway (Toronto) or the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (New York) in your car right in the middle lane? I don't think so.

    As for the strollers, I have seen people stop right in the middle of a busy Manhatten/Brooklyn sidewalk just to talk to the kid in the stroller or tie the kid's shoe. Meanwhile the thirty or to a hundred people must walk around them. This causes congestion on the sidewalk just like on a road.

    My favourite thing is when people do this in Times Square. Can they not see that they are holding up or slowing up hundreds of people? Picture a crowd of people after a hockey or baseball game streaming out of the stadium, this is like Times Square every weekend constantly. Yet people don't seem to get it that you cannot stop.

    As for my story in Central Park, I was just a little miffed at people who thought it was necessary to take up the whole path with their stroller when other people were also out for a hike. Either the strollers were going slowly (not a problem if you stick to one side of the path so others may pass you) or stopped right in the middle.

    All I am really asking for is a little courtesy from our friends with stollers, either keep up with the pace or stick to the right hand side so others may pass by. If your kid is screaming and you need to stop, please find a park bench or reasonable facimile to go off to the side and stop.

    I hope this clears it up with everyone.

  7. Responding to your comment....

    "Picture a crowd of people after a hockey or baseball game streaming out of the stadium, this is like Times Square every weekend constantly. Yet people don't seem to get it that you cannot stop."

    This sounds like a cattle stampede, is this true if so, I think Times square is the last place I would want to walk my child, strapped in to a stroller or not. point taken.

  8. I think you should respond to Cindy's challenge, Cuz! I'll give your your "'lil cuz" and all his accoutrements and let you go somewhere, like... Niagara Falls on a long weekend - let's see how long you last with your 3 yr. old fella!

    And, yes - I agree - us vertically challenged folks can't physical keep up with you giraffe-types!

    I also reluctantly agree that "stroller operators" similar to vehicle "operators" are a mixed bunch. Yes, there are those FEW parents who make the rest of us look bad, by stopping abruptly in the middle of the path - but, the responsible, considerate parents (like yours truly!), attempt to "signal" their intentions and move out of the traffic flow. HOWEVER, occasionally, you don't have a choice but to make an abrupt stop - think, a fallen bottle!

    Take care!


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