The Perils of Stroller Storage in the City

Amy Keyishian

vintage pramEveryone has an annoying story of a friend who was denied the privilege of storing her stroller by some lady with 12 cats who thought it cluttered the area she never uses because she’s a shut-in.

If you live in an apartment or co-op, whether you can do things like leave your stroller downstairs so you don’t have to lug it up four flights every day is a really big deal.

Looking through old issues of The New Yorker, I found a hilarious account (allegedly fictional, but it got published for a reason) of a woman going through the same struggle -- in 1940!

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The author, Angelica Gibbs, starts by describing her apartment in terms I can understand even here in San Francisco. I used to live just above a bar called Clooney’s and was awakened by a patron shrieking, “It’s 7:30 on a Sunday morning, and I’m drunk! My mom was right! I’m a DEGENERATE!”

For Gibbs, in the east ‘60s (a ritzy neighborhood), “the street was unusually quiet except from five to six o’clock on winter mornings, when the debutantes were bellowing goodbyes to their young men.”

In this new neighborhood, she gets the cold shoulder from shopkeepers “conditioned chiefly to Chihuahuas and elderly ladies,” and only sees a few babies in fancy “prams.” Her baby carriage is a “rather battered wicker stroller” that she scored from a pal for five bucks (hi, hundred-dollar Quinny from Julie), and she almost immediately realizes she has nowhere to put it. “I planned to keep it in the hallway of our brownstone, pushed out of sight in the dark space under the stair well. The manager of the building soon put me to rights about that.”

Though nobody uses that hallway, it’s “the theory of the thing.” She goes through various machinations with the co-op board (after getting her temper under control -- I love this woman!), the doctor’s offices next door, and the “carriage room” of a big apartment building across the street, where she offered to rent space for a hefty sum. She was turned down by all, the last because it set a bad precedent. Oy!

In the end, she came up with a very New York solution: she paid her super to hide the carriage in the boiler room.

Ah, New York. You are the same creature you always were. And my landlord's crazy hand-lettered signs, left on my stroller, no longer seem nearly as annoying.

Do you live in a city? Where do you store your stroller? Tell us in the comments!

Image via Wolfiewolf/Flickr


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