Your suburban counterparts may use their strollers intermittently, but here in the city, strollers are as essential as subways. The perfect urban stroller must be a svelte workhorse—able to fold neatly into your tiny hall closet or vestibule and light enough to haul up subway or apartment stairs—and be durable enough to survive the curbs, potholes, package-schlepping and weather extremes of daily use.
BEST BUDGET STROLLER
It's not the cheapest model around, but the MacLaren Triumph ($160) is one of Albee's most popular collapsible strollers for a reason: It's ultra-light—just under 12 pounds—and has a carry strap (which makes boarding a bus or a subway while carrying a little one totally doable). Plus it'll last until your child is 55 pounds, so well into school-age. (You can definitely buy a good-enough stroller for under $50, but they won't likely make it through more than a year—or at least a kid, whichever comes first—navigating these city streets.)
BEST MID-RANGE STROLLERS
Tania, a saleswoman at Albee, told us that this UPPAbaby G-Luxe stroller ($259.99) is one of the most popular strollers for kids over 20 pounds and three months. It's only 15 pounds—just about the size of a bowling ball, or a typical bag of groceries—and easy to fold. Watch how it works on StrollerMama, a popular baby product review site, which says the UPPAbaby G-luxe is the lightest reclining stroller on the market. And it has a UV sunshade, which is no joke considering how much strolling NYC parents actually do. (If you live in Park Slope or the Upper West Side, you've probably seen it everywhere already.) Bonus: We know from strong word-of-mouth that UPPAbaby has great customer service and will answer all sorts of questions.
Our love for the ultra-light and compact Mountain Buggy Nano ($249) can be summed up in this explanation one NYC mom gave us: "It's really small and if you put hooks on the wall or in a closet, it can even hang and [stay] off the floor." In the world of NYC parenting and apartment living, that's called a slam dunk. It's also got a carrying bag and strap, and you don't need a carseat adapter for the infant stage as it's already infant-ready. Not needing to have more than one stroller is another thing space-starved NYC parents can get behind.
Full disclosure: This reporter has had the Baby Jogger City Mini for five years and has used it for two kids. I can recommend it personally. It handles well—I can push it with one hand while sipping a coffee with the other—and collapses readily. It's a little heavy to carry up subway stairs once it's collapsed, but if you're only looking to buy one stroller for your kid(s) this is a contender. It also has a roomy undercarriage storage, which any NYC parent can tell you is key to multi-tasking in the city. (You can stop-and-shop along your stroller route.)
You can also attach a boogie board to the back for older kids to ride, but be forewarned that it's rather awkward for the stroller-pusher (i.e. you). Note, the double City Mini is really popular in the city, but it's side-by-side nature means it doesn't always maneuver easily in smaller NYC store aisles.
One NYC mom told us she most appreciates the Jane Nanuq umbrella stroller's ($249.99) kickstand feature (so it can't roll away). The stroller, which is less than 14 pounds, comes with a cup holder, which is a good thing, because parenting little ones requires a lot of caffeine (says this reporter/mom who's been up since 5:30 am, ahem).
BEST HIGH-END STROLLERS
Our group of moms recommended the Babyzen Yoyo ($468.98), and giggle confirmed that it's their most popular foldable stroller. This one is tailor-made for small spaces—it's collapsible to the size of a carry-on, which also makes it the choice for frequent travelers, given that it's also the only airline-certified carry-on size stroller on the market at the moment.
This isn't a collapsible stoller, but it's the high-end multi-purpose stroller giggle recommends most. The Bugaboo Donkey is available in both a single and double—double shown above—and can be used from the newborn stage to the older toddler stage. Best yet, it's easy to maneuver down city streets—the all-terrain wheels can handle both sand or snow, so cobblestones and uneven pavements are cake. But it doesn't come cheap, so consider this an investment that'll last you through numerous babies: The single runs $1,398 apiece; the double, $1,854.