Strollers in Brownstone


    so we just had our little baby girl. we live in rowhouse with 5′ high stoop and 4′ deep basement. it means wife needs to pull the stroller up or down the stairs. and she had problems with it. she got crazy stokke stroller just because it alegedly easier to pull up the stairs. but I do not see how.

    so the question is: what you do about pulling stroller up the stoop? any particular tips about stokke stroller? she also asked aboul building rails to roll the stroller up the stoop. does it make any sense?

    73 Replies

    1. Sell Stokke. Get ErgoBaby carrier, then Maclaren Volo. End of discussion. We tried to make a fancy stroller work when we moved to a walkup. No way.

      Seriously, the ErgoBaby is your friend if you live in a walkup.

      The Volo is only 8.5 lbs and you will learn to fold it with one arm whilst holding baby in the other.

    2. Yes congratulations, Bobjohn. Don’t get mad at what was spent on the Stokke. CMU can get as sanctimonious and scathing about this as he wants, but there is pressure in society and an entire industry who capitalizes on worried and overwhelmed new moms simply wanting to do the best they can for their babies. A couple people are saying the Stokke can take stairs okay with practice, so take their words for it. Once Summer arrives and your wife is ready to take the baby on the subway or bus she can get a second, lighter weight stroller. Again, here is where CMU is wrong. If you actually pay attention in Park Slope, you’ll see almost everybody has an Uppa GLite or Maclaren which can be folded for travel.

    3. Honestly, you probably won’t be using this stroller much. The carrier is easier, especially when baby is small. Once the baby is around six months you can use a lighter stroller. We have the quinny zapp and we love it. It’s only 13 lbs and easy to handle. With the infant car seat strapped in it became about 30 though- which is why I didn’t use it much- I also live in a brownstone on the top floor.

      SUV strollers are pretty ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as all the people who just happen to not have children yet who think they know anything about what it involves. Give me a break. Clearly breeding interests you because you are all always the first to comment on these threads.

    4. hi all. I am astounded by the number and the tone of the replys. I also never looked at the wives credit card bill. So thanks for educating me on how much this stupid thing costs. :(. I cannot tell what she were thinking. I promise, we do not have SubZero fridge.

      She ordered car seat with adapters for this stroller. I guess she will be able to get the car seat separately from the base and then the base as people suggested. Obviously the base is heavier then normal stroller so it will make more problems then solve. It also barely fits at the back on my station wagon.

    5. Congrats bobjohn! I know nothing about stroller technology by I have one observation from my house in Clinton Hill. My neighbors have two little ones and they leave their stroller at the base of the stoop all day long on nice days. The family goes in and out and they use the stroller as needed. It’s never gotten stolen, and judging by the comments on this site you’d think this was one of Brooklyn’s most dangerous areas. Clearly it’s not, and this seems to work for them. Good luck.

    6. My neighbors had that stroller and they managed our steps, which are the same steps that caused me to break my ankle in two places maneuvering them, a toddler and an umbrella stroller — so I would say the Stokke does something right. Just make sure your wife does not wear clogs. Clogs are evil.

      Another suggestion: get a simple sling, like a hotsling or something, and for stairs, put baby in sling, lug stroller up. Yes, it is a pain. But you know what’s worse? Subways.

      As your baby gets older all of this will get a LOT easier. In a few months I promise you will laugh at these early dilemmas!

    7. I know nothing about strollers, but I just wanted to say Congrats to you Bobjohn. Congrats to you and your Missus. Enjoy your new baby 🙂

    8. Go back to pennsyltucky, where you all belong.

    9. First, congratulations on the new addition.

      Second, I have sympathy for first-time parents trying to figure out what kind of stroller to get for NYC living. We opted for a Chicco travel system and a small umbrella stroller for the subway and bus trips. Well, the travel system has a great infant carseat, but it turns out the stroller, once the kid is out of the carseat, is pretty narrow, and my wife found it hard to maneuver on the street. The umbrella stroller was lightweight, but still needed two hands to fold up, plus the handles were a bit too low for me, and my back would hurt if I had to lean over, particularly going down hill.

      So we ended up ditching the travel system and getting a Baby Jogger City model. It folds with one hand, though it’s still too heavy for my wife to manage alone with the baby, unlike the umbrella. There’s no optimal solution, unfortunately.

      Third, we didn’t look at Stokke because, frankly, I refuse to pay more for a stroller than I did for my first car.

      Finally, my suggestion re. the steps issue is to use a carrier (there are several on the market — go try them at BuyBuy Baby or Babies R Us before you buy) while your little one is still little. When she starts to get heavy, but before she can walk (after walking is easy; she goes in by herself), either bring her in first, then the stroller, or go back to square one and try another brand. Maybe your wife is strong enough to manage baby and a one-touch Baby Jogger model? Go try them all out knowing what you know now (or will know in the future). If you end up out $1200 minus resale value on the Stokke, consider it the price of an education in parenting.

      Hey, anyone need a slightly used Chicco travel system?

    10. For the first few weeks with a newborn, everything is overwhelming. Give it a few more weeks and you/your wife will be changing a diaper in two minutes on whatever surface is available and you will also know how best to get up and down the stairs. Cut to a few years down the line and you will almost forget to meet the school bus because you were wasting time reading mean comments on a blog. In other words, this too will pass. (Although no one should spend more than a couple hundred on a stroller. Try not to make the same mistake with the highchair, first bed, potty etc)

    11. congrats Bobjohn 😉 i don’t have anything to add but i’m sure this is an exciting time for you

    12. Some people get pallid hypochondriac kids. Some call it the luck of the draw. Some don’t.

    13. I wasn’t talking about adult comfort – I’ve never ridden in a stroller. Kids older than babies (toddlers and beyond) ride in strollers. And you can see when their back is supported, and when it isn’t, and how antsy they get when their spines are uncomfortable for a long period of time, and how not antsy they are when supported properly – the difference between an umbrella stroller sling seat, and a more supportive seat in a sturdier stroller (they are heavier, but not necessarily any wider on the street, than cheap umbrella strollers.)

      Some people get that spines and necks need to be supported – just like they get what bouncing said spines (child or adult) up and down stairs does to the bones. Storage and portability are important, but you can get those in strollers that support the kids well, too.

      And frankly, I think many who complain about strollers on the street complain about all of them anyway, whatever the size. It’s the presence of kids they object to, not really the strollers.

    14. Ah, Noki, it’s no different than my ranting on Vikings and SubZeros. It is what it is.

    15. hey, I was offering practical advice. also the winter kit is awesome. wish i had one for my office chair.

    16. “Strollers that are comfortable and have functionality (i.e., not cheap umbrella strollers with a sling of fabric for the seat) are awkward. That’s a fact, whatever brand they are. Parents (and babysitters) learn to deal with them”

      Unless your baby is already vegan he’ll have rolls of tubbyness keeping him comfortable. Imagined comfort from an adult point of view and actual comfort for a baby are different things. As far as funtionality is concerned, that inlcudes storage and portability. In fact, they are probably the two most important additional functions, the rest is badger-spit.

    17. Mopar is the only one who simply got it right. Congratulated this poor new father, looking for advice from a bunch of cranky, projecting, class-anxious wankers, about how to get around Brooklyn by way of stroller. He had NO idea into what morass he was wandering. I did, however, just from reading the lead sentence. And sure enough, Jaguar and others did not fail to deliver in spades. Many of you can be crushingly foul.

      Bobjohn? Congratulations! How wonderful. I would recommend using the Stokke when you know you’re not going to be taking a cab or subway and enjoy it. It will probably be impractical in the long run, but perhaps you can list it on Craig’s List and recoup some of your expense. DEFINITELY get the lightest weight Maclaren that makes sense for you. We use the Volo all the time because I can lug bags, the stroller AND the kids down the subway stairs together. Only thing that really works for me. Also, definitely get a front pack for the first 6 months or so. I don’t recommend the Bjorn, as it gets uncomfortable quickly. Try the Ergo Baby Carrier with the infant attachment. I could comfortably carry my youngest up to THREE in it. Also, the Bugaboo truly is a wonder should you have the room and the cash. It is like our mini van, seriously.

    18. Why doesn’t he stay home with the baby and let his wife go back to work? That way he doesn’t have to deal with the stroller/stairs issue?

    19. Strollers that are comfortable and have functionality (i.e., not cheap umbrella strollers with a sling of fabric for the seat) are awkward. That’s a fact, whatever brand they are. Parents (and babysitters) learn to deal with them.

      I wish others would accept that they are awkward on the crowded sidewalks and deal with that, and stop complaining about them.

      I wouldn’t call this an SUV stroller – (I like stokke products – their high chair is brilliant) – though its base does appear to be a bit heavier than many strollers.

      But that shouldn’t matter – I’m one who doesn’t believe kids should be daily bounced up and down stairs in a home in a stroller. Sometimes, on other stairs, it may be necessary once in a while, when you are out. But every day, multiple times a day? No way. Sure “everybody” may do it – as stated above – but that’s also stated for everybody spanks their kids, emotionally abuses at them, leaves them at home alone for a few minutes, etc. – “everybody” does a lot of things that thinking people wouldn’t do to kids.

    20. CMU, yeah i’ve been to both of those places via the internet and EEEEKS!


    21. rob, that’s funny. Recommend you walk the streets of say downtown Nashville or Atlanta sometime if you want to see blockages of flesh.

    22. Well, mopar, that’s a little tricky. OP did not (maybe) buy it, but his wife did and for brownstoner blog purposes, we have to treat them the same. It’s not a counseling service, after all.

    23. quote:
      You don’t live in PS or you’re blind. Most of the strollers around here are HUGE. Try walking past them in COmmunity Bookstore or Key Foods where the aisles are narrow.

      i guess cuz im in soho all day and it’s a zoo of people non stop that maybe when i get home to park slope i just don’t notice these ginormous strollers that you say are all over the place. and i doubt the strollers are any bigger than most of the asses (yes literal asses) that are always blocking pedestrians and traffic in soho.


    24. It’s a fantastic stroller and she will get used to it. I purchased the same when I had a baby shortly after major back surgery (mid-pregnancy). I lived on the second floor of a walkup and would have been unable to lift her up the stairs in a traditional stroller or carseat. My physical therapist told me about the Xplory and said that I would be able to pull it up using my legs and shoulders thus avoiding the bend and lift that would re-injure my lower back. It took some getting used to but once you master the technique it handles like a charm. We were flying up and down to our apartment not to mention subway stairs all over town in no time, and your wife will be too. It’s just a matter of practice (and the mechanisms will loosen up over time).

      Congratulations on the new baby and good luck!

    25. Maybe, but the OP isn’t the one who bought it. He’s a new parent and is just asking others to share their tips and knowledge about strollers.

    26. Sorry, did not mean to be mean to anyone (well…) but buying an SUV stroller and complaining about its mobility deserves ridicule.

    27. rob>most of the strollers i see in park slope arent big at all and most people seem to carry their babies in sling like things? j

      You don’t live in PS or you’re blind. Most of the strollers around here are HUGE. Try walking past them in COmmunity Bookstore or Key Foods where the aisles are narrow.

      > especially with all the pressure to spend a gazillion dollars on a stroller

      What bloody pressure? From your mother-in-law? From the stroller-mafia? That’s the weirdest statement so far.

    28. rob>most of the strollers i see in park slope arent big at all and most people seem to carry their babies in sling like things? j

      You don’t live in PS or you’re blind. Most of the strollers around here are HUGE. Try walking past them in COmmunity Bookstore or Key Foods where the aisles are narrow.

      > especially with all the pressure to spend a gazillion dollars on a stroller

      What bloody pressure? From your mother-in-law? From the stroller-mafia? That’s the weirdest statement so far.

    29. You don’t bump the stroller up or down brownstone stairs, you lift it up and carry it. It’s very awkward and puts little Sadie at a funny angle, but it’s the only thing that really works. You just give the stroller a big bear hug.

      If the stroller is too big to grasp this way, you have the wrong stroller.

    30. Congratulations on your baby girl! I never had the courage to bump the stroller up and down stairs. I used the car seat snapped into the frame until my daughter was old enough to hold her head up and then switched to the maclaren. Hang in there – this will all start to get easier …

    31. OK, I had to chuckle at Rob’s 2:24. He’s got a point. You all know what the definition of a yuppie is, right? Someone who makes more money than whoever is using the word. It’s a sliding scale word.

    32. Please don’t be mean to Bobjohn. He is a regular poster and English is not his first language. Also, I thought he was an engineer — maybe he works as an engineer for a bank?

      Bobjohn, I don’t know anything about strollers but would like to say CONGRATULATIONS on the new baby. How exciting! Yay!

    33. collapsible stroller – has thing so kid can lie flat.
      umbrella stroller – just a lightweight fabric sling (like an umbrella.) Not so comfortable for long periods of time.

      On second reading, it seems these people may own the house, and the basement their garden level. which makes the question so much sillier. they can put the stroller any d*&% place they want! (and buy as many different types of strollers as they need. most people I know have both a sturdy collapsible like a mcclaren, and an umbrella for when they occasisonallyi need less bulk/weight. didn’t realize everybody also had a jogger for the park and snow – maybe homeowners, not apartment dwellers – they are bulky to store.)

      It’s the I’ve got a brownstone, I’ve got a baby, an expensive stroller, and life is so hard … so I can see why this detoured to a discussion of ps.

    34. i disagree on the ‘chuck the stokke, buy a jogger / umbrella stroller’ advice. we’ve had the buggaboo chameleon for 5yrs (now for the second kid), never had another stroller. hate umbrella strollers with a passion b/c they are a complete pain to handle on the streets. one caveat – we don’t have a car and i rarely take the bus, so no need to collapse the stroller often.

    35. Rob, your unprecedented concern for brownstoner’s babies is laudable, however your bedbug-mania is OTT.

    36. Why make fun of this guy? Trying to determine the best stroller for city living is hard, especially with all the pressure to spend a gazillion dollars on a stroller. The Stokke is the silliest stroller on earth btw. It looks like you’re pushing your child around in an office chair.

      OP, here’s practical advice from another parent (not somebody who never had kids like most the comments here): Go ahead and use the Stokke during the initial newborn months but get rid of it as soon as baby can hold her head up and go in another stroller. Everybody who splurges on some huge expensive stroller always always ends up with a Maclaren. Everybody also has a jogger whether they jog or not, for pushing across the grass at the park or for getting through huge snow drifts in Winter. I don’t jog but thank God for our jogger or this snowy Winter we’d have never gone anywhere.

      As for bouncing up and down stairs, goodness, everybody does it. The jogger bounces up and down stairs very easily. Always get the lightest weight one you can when you have to navigate stairs. For an umbrella stroller, the brakes and other things on most of them catch on stairs either going up or down one or the other or both, so you have to carry the whole stroller with baby in it. Or carry both separately. So again, get the lightest weight one you can. The Maclaren bounces down stairs well but pulling up the tab to collapse the stroller gets caught.

    37. quote:
      Buy it second hand just to be even more unstressed about it disappearing.

      no do NOT buy a second hand stroller!!! unless you know the person you are buying it from! there was a story on the news awhile back of a woman who bought a second hand stroller and her baby was eaten alive by bedbugs!


    38. how old is your baby? your wife will get used to it. don’t know how the stokke stroller handles but we have a buggaboo and i had similar problem when we moved from elevator / doorman building to a brownstone with a stoop. i just pull the stroller up the stairs – my baby would actually sleep through it so couldn’t have been that bad. honestly just a question of practice.

    39. OP, isn’t that top part supposed to pop off so you can easily bring the baby up the stairs, set it down inside the door, and then grab the rest of the stroller and bring it upstairs without the baby? is your wife not able to detach it?

      for the haters above, check out the limited addition sheepskin “winter kit”.

    40. With a cumbersome stroller, you take the baby out, bring her inside, come back and get the stroller. And as soon as she is big enough you get a MacLaren umbrella stroller…. Big ass strollers and stoops are not a winning combination. My daughter ended up in the ER after tumbling down the stoop while strapped into her stroller (not on my watch, of course).

    41. before y’all turn this into a ps stroller rant (oops too late), note that:
      a- poster is from bay ridge and
      b- mentioned not ps.

      but by all means let’s make this a (retread) conversation about entitled ps moms and their double-wide strollers.

      bc it’s so so interesting.

    42. collapsible standard McClaren, easy to carry both baby and collapsed stroller if need be. Also, when collapsed, it doesn’t take up much room. I don’t know about the dreamt-up head bobbing probelem – all those collapsibles have an adjustement so the baby can be virtually flat. Moreover, due to the odd Stroller-anxiety status sufered by many brownstoners, no-one is going to steal it if you carelessly leave it around. Buy it second hand just to be even more unstressed about it disappearing.

    43. Jaguar, I think you’re kidding, but hopefully a three year old should be walking up the stairs, so should a two year old. 🙂

    44. quote:
      Yes, I do hate large strollers with more wheels than a Mack truck and disc brakes. Gives Park Slope a bad name

      most of the strollers i see in park slope arent big at all and most people seem to carry their babies in sling like things? just my observation tho. i find it funny people will rag on 1200 dollar strollers but heavens forbid someone rags on seriously overpriced dank brownstones in shitty ass neighborhoods or worse 15 dollars a scoop ice cream, then it’s it’s well it’s just what the market will bear and who is it to you what people can afford and if you dont like it find a better job or ooooooh youre just jealous. hahah it seems like ridiculously overpriced strollers are the only thing people are allowed to rag on these days, not youre overpriced apartments?


    45. Dear Brownstoners:
      Sometimes when I return to the grocery store with my toddler, I have too many bags to carry up to the apartment. Should I leave my son in the backseat of my Volvo station wagon and carry half the bags up and then go down to get him, or should I take him upstairs first, give him a book to read (he’s three, but reads on a ten year old level of course), and then go down to get the groceries? What would you do? Oh, I forgot to mention I have garage parking so do not need to double park or leave my son in the car on the street. Oh, and assume the doorman is not working that day, it’s a weekend. Any advice?

    46. I recommend a baby bjorn for the first 4 or 5 months, and then a maclaren techno xt (light and easy to fold/carry.) don’t pull a stroller up or down the steps. If you can’t carry it with the baby inside, it’s too heavy.

    47. What’s up with all the hostility?

      Strollers for that age baby suck – they are all big. I carried my baby around in a Bjorn or Ergo carrier because I could not stand lugging around a big stroller. Soon you will be able to move to a Volo (only $100, haters), and your life will be a lot easier. By the way, I never bumped the kid up or down steps – I’d take him out and collapse the stroller. No biggie. I live on the 4th floor of a walk-up, and if I can do it, anyone can!

    48. if you are anything like my neighbors you just stand at the foot of your stairs til someone comes along and you ask them to help you up the stairs lol


    49. If you can afford a $1200 stroller, maybe you can hire a coolie to carry up the stairs for you you fucking retard.

    50. Because, MM, you don’t live in Park Slope. Or the upper West side. Entitlement runs amok here, hand-in-hand with Mommy (and Daddy) insecurity. Hence the SUV stroller.

    51. Is this April 1 or did some moron seriously write to Brownstoner to ask how to lift a stroller up the stoop? If you can’t figure that one out without help, then you really have no business procreating in the first place. Do you need advice on how to throw the nappies out too?

    52. I’m afraid you bought the stroller that is least friendly on stairs. Just think suspension. Strollers with air filled tires tend to be the best when you actually need to do the stairs with them.

      I lived in a 2nd floor walkup with infant twins. By far the best option for handling stairs is just as IMBY said. If your carseat is a “snap in” type, spend another $100 (or check the b-boards to buy used) for a Snap-n-Go. It’ll be the best thing you ever did for your wife (besides your contributions towards your baby girl)…..although do not make this the Push Present!


    53. SUV- Supersized Unconscionable Vehicle.

      Yes, I do hate large strollers with more wheels than a Mack truck and disc brakes. Gives Park Slope a bad name

    54. Use basement entrance. 1. Open door. 2. Remove baby and place in safe place inside the house. 3. bring in the stroller.

    55. It is going to be a process of trial and error for you to decide what will work with a stroller and a brownstone. There are many ways to do it but it really depends on what you can manage and are comfortable with – those strollers can be really heavy and I’ve seen and experienced the stroller tumbling down the stairs (sans kid). I traded in my bigger, plastic stroller for the smaller sturdier Maclaren once my baby was big enough so that I could maneuver the stairs with or without the kid. I think parking it down below is ideal but there isn’t always space or protection from the elements. Most stroller companies say to never go up/down stairs with the kid in the thing but lots of people do it. It is safer to just make two trips – one with the kid, then with the stroller. The Stokke looks cool. Good luck.

    56. I don’t know how small you mean, but my son was in an umbrella stroller from about 6 months. Before that we carried him or used that cloth sling thing. Some umbrella strollers are more laid-back that others, too.

    57. As an ex-stroller-lugger, I noticed you haven’t mentioned the type of stairs – are the steps at a straight, right angle, or is there a rounded lip at the edge? The latter are harder to bump the stroller up, although if it’s only 5 steps your wife should be able to carry stroller + baby, as long as the stroller is somewhat lightweight. I was able to haul a MacLaren Volo + kid up flights of subway stairs, and I’m not Ironman-mom or anything.

      Just from the looks of them, the Stokke seems to be one of the least practical strollers – can you adjust the seat height so your kid can climb in and out once she starts walking? They remind me of dentist chairs…

    58. What would you have done back a few decades when we didn’t have foldable strollers, just those big gorgeous carriages?

    59. You’ll be pros at pulling the thing up the steps in no time. It’s just what people do.

      Can you talk to your building about leaving it under the stoop? Presumably someone has storage under the stairs.

    60. earlier generation,:-)

      of course, maybe the point is that the wife really wants to move to an elevator building, rather than do all the heavy lifting that raising a child in a brownstone walk-up entails. All that carrying is good for building muscles. Not so great for those with bad backs.

    61. SUV – huh? Had to look that up. Cool stroller. (NOT like an SUV – it is more ergonomic, not less like SUVs which are harder to steer around obstacles, being built (mostly) on truck, not car, bases.)

      But, since the child is higher up on this stroller, I would think it would make the stroller harder to carry with the child actually in it – unless one is very tall.

      And, I’d check with stokke, but I would doubt they’d advertise as being able to be pulled up stairs – that just sounds dangerous and dumb.

    62. Babies can’t sit upright in umbrella strollers, there big fat heads just flop over onto their chests.

    63. I learned everything i know about steps and baby carriages from Sergei Eisenstein…

      Best way for a new born is to use a car seat mounted on stroller base, then detach and bring that up and down separately. The base you just muscle up and down, or rely on the politeness of strangers to do it for you. Don’t see the appeal of those Stokke’s, can’t load them up with all the other shit you need to carry.

    64. Great. So you got an SUV stroller (if the website is correct) and are complaining about lifting it 5′? Do you bring it into stores and block the aisles too?

      Get an ‘umbrella’’s cheap and is quite easy to fold up and carry like … an umbrella.

    65. I would think most people take the child out of the stroller first, and then pull or carry the stoller up the stairs (folded or not.) Or carry the child in the stoller when the child is still small, as you see people do on the subway stairs.

      I would think it would be very jarring to a child to bump up the stairs. (I used to do this with my grocery cart, and it sure jarred the groceries.)

      I’d be afraid to pull the child on rails – if the stoller slipped, it would be very dangerous.