Thursday, October 30, 2014

It’s a City Thing – Pedestrian Life

Though we have always had a vehicle since we moved to NYC, there are certain aspects of city life that are easier as a pedestrian. Our life right now is not quite as pedestrian as it was when we first moved to the city. Most of that has to do with the ages (and number!) of our children. Little legs can’t travel as far or as fast as Mommy & Daddy!

First Twin Family Park Outing
This is how we got around when our twins were first born – it took two strollers for an outing!

With so many small, mom-and-pop type shops, and so little parking, it’s easier to just walk to many destinations. I usually save up our errands in a particular section of the neighborhood, and then drive there and park. We then walk from the parking spot to complete all of our errands, and then drive home.  If it’s a hard-to-park-in type of neighborhood, we just walk.  And take a long nap when we get home!

When we first moved to NYC we were near a main avenue. All of the shopping, laundry, library, banking, park, and post office that I needed were within walking distance. Though we could easily walk to these stores, there is only so much that you can carry home. I would go to the meat market and fruit market on one day, the library on the next day, and to buy milk or mail a letter the following day. All of my shopping and errands were done in small pieces, rather than a large, stock-up type shopping trip.  I could only purchase what I could carry home or shove in the stroller! I really liked doing my shopping like this, and I even lost 20 pounds from all the exercise!

Brooklyn New York  Elaine 11 months asleep in stroller
L: It didn’t take us long to discover that the family pram wasn’t practical in the City!
R: Sometimes pedestrian life just makes you sleepy!  We carried her up three flights of steps like this to let her continue her nap in the stroller!

Elaine pushing the dolly stroller outside
Life as a pedestrian can get exciting, especially when the “littles” want to be just like Mommy!

Now that we have four small children, it’s harder to walk those long distances to get everything done. We have a large shopping basket under the stroller to facilitate small shopping trips, and I make those trips on nice days. We usually stop at the park on the way home to let the kids run off the rest of their energy.

Many stores do not have parking lots, and some neighborhoods are particularly bad when it comes to parking. Sometimes I spend the extra time and gas money to drive to a store that has a parking spot, just for the convenience. Many times I pay for a parking meter on the street and rush to do all errands within walking distance of that spot. Laundry cannot be done on foot anymore – there are too many bags of clothes to be washed!

Some of you may not be able to imagine life without the mobility that a vehicle offers. I struggled to go from being a two car family to a one car family when we moved to NYC. But when you live here, you learn that sometimes the vehicle just gets in the way. Its hard to park, it costs money, and traffic is slow. Often it is faster, cheaper, or easier to just take the train or get some exercise on a nice long walk. My kids have frequently walked 20 blocks to go a bigger park in the summer. How many suburban kids can do that at 2 and 3 years of age?!?

Living in the city has a big pedestrian side to it. We do find times when having a car is beneficial – bringing people to church, doing laundry only once a week (8 loads on average), and making a big shopping trip. But I love the pedestrian lifestyle and the good exercise it provides!

1 comment:

  1. This post reminds me of an older board game my mom received as a Christmas present 5-6 years ago. It's called "Park and Shop" the idea of the game (planning your shopping trip, based on the "errand" cards you were dealt, driving/parking the car and walking to the different shops then trying to get home before the other players) was very foreign to this small town girl who went to Walmart for pretty much everything! Thanks for sharing and bringing back those memories!