Friday, June 12, 2009

Strollin' for Pizza

You may not have heard of this group, they kind of stay under the radar, probably because they are anchored to the earth through their commanding grip on stroller handles. Yep, these are Moms with babies, more specifically, my daughter-in-law Ashley's group of friends who are Moms pushing strollers and headed across the Brooklyn Bridge for pizza at Grimaldi’s and ice cream on the pier. What a bunch of energetic ladies! I had the pleasure of joining them and the Stroller Brigade this morning on their trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn. It was great fun!

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is nearly as world famous as the Brooklyn Bridge and there was a line of pizza-craving customers already forming and instantly lengthening on the sidewalk when the brigade rolled in nearly 30 minutes before Grimaldi's opened for the day. We definitely didn’t arrive unnoticed.

Living under the radar or not, it’s hard, no it's impossible, to nonchalantly pull 7 strollers, 8 toddlers and 2 babies, 7 Moms and 1Grandma into formation outside a very small and highly popular restaurant on Old Fulton Street in Brooklyn without having nearly every passerby take a second glance, either in admiration or disbelief. And believe me, there was a mixture.

I must confess that I am using the word “formation” rather loosely. Although we were typically riding along two by two, following another set of strollers just ahead, once we arrived or stopped anywhere along our rolling hike, and especially in front of Grimaldi's, it was fairly hodgepodge. Honestly, I can't say that we were in formation at all, but we were all there!

But even more conspicuous than the random arrival for pizza was the line of strollers wheeling across the bridge. One Mom had two children strapped into the stroller and a third child kind of walking/hanging/laying/sleeping across it as well – depending on what part of the walk I am remembering. Another had one in a front –pac and one in the stroller. The others had one in a stroller, but that is really quite enough when maneuvering between bikes and pedestrians and rollerblading folks across the wood planked bridge. I was the lone grandma. Gia in NYC and surrounded by strollers and young skinny Moms. I had a blast!

Grimaldi’s lived up to its reputation with perfect thin crusted pizza topped with fresh melted mozzarella, fresh whole basil leaves and delicious pepperoni, mushrooms and sausage. We followed the pizza with “peaches and cream” ice cream cones.
And the Brooklyn Bridge, well, what can you say about such a magnificent piece of structural engineering and architecture. It's breathtaking. And this picture of Makinlee, taken by Ash, captures the carefree spirit of the day. Skipping, hair blowing in the breeze, the bridge spanning above us, a brigade of mothers out for the day in NYC with their children. Awesome!

I was amazed as I watched these city-living Moms, most of whom were not raised in a large city anything like NY, maneuver through busy streets, over high curbs, under dripping awnings, through crowds of people, between moving cars, and UP flights of stairs WITH strollers. Truly amazing. They are living a good life in the middle of the hustle and bustle of this crazy but wonderful city. I am in literally awe. I mean, I raised 6 kids, but NOT in New York City!

I remember the first time I watched Ashley push Makinlee to the subway, then lift the stroller and heft it down/up/down flights of stairs before weaving in and out of throngs of people to finally push onto the subway and sit among a pot pourri of uncommunicative fellow riders – uncommunicative verbally, that is. Their eyes however were communicating, if you bothered to look. And they were looking at Makinlee, who with her big blue eyes and beautiful blond hair, definitely stood out from the hodgepodge of humanity she was parked in the midst of. She could melt young and old, crusty and tender, and all nationalities.

So pizza and ice cream it was as I joined the under-the-radar Brooklyn Bridge Stroller Derby as its oldest participant.
I was proud to roll across the finish line in semi-formation with the entire brigade.
Stroll on, ladies, keep on pushin those strollers

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