By Gordon T Hughes Jr.
The other morning, I was sipping a cup of coffee at my favorite haunt, Panino Mucho Gusto Cafe, when a young mother in yoga pants opened the door and pushed her baby into the petite cafe, in a gigantic, what I would call, baby carriage.
Now, the cafe is not spacious, and this contraption took up most of the floor space between the tiny tables. There is a special unwritten code, however, for folks with babies: you must give them space and deference. I believe that’s just as it should be.
That said, today’s perambulators are nothing like the baby buggies I was hauled around in when I was seven months old. By the way, I am seeing more and more seven-year-olds being pushed around in these things. Haven’t they learned to walk at that age? But I digress.
My pram was painted white. Yes, painted with what I am sure was a lead-based paint. It was not some fused black titanium vehicle. As a matter of fact, when my pram was repurposed for my younger brother, the paint was chipping, so I know it was lead-based paint. My dad sanded it down and repainted it white again.
There were probably a couple of Disney characters like Donald or Mickey that dad had to paint around. Back then these buggies were called baby carriages, not prams and most certainly not perambulators.
Well, after my encounter with this eight-wheeled nuclear powered baby limo, I got to thinking about all the different prams I have seen in the West Village and what a wide range they have.
Now, there are a lot of nannies who push them around and they dress like nannies in kind of nanny-like uniforms if you will. Mothers, I would estimate, at least in the mornings, are 87 percent wearing yoga pants and tank or tube tops. It’s always cute to see babies on Hudson going north and south, to and fro, as it were.
The really interesting thing is what these babies are being conveyed in. Nothing made of wood any longer, that’s for sure. All are metal but in different sizes and different shapes. It’s kind of like when the first rain drop falls and guys come out of the woodwork with umbrellas, most of which fall apart with the first wind gust.
So, there are small prams that look like they are ready to fall apart at the first crack they hit on the sidewalk. Then you move up to the convertible type with top up or down option. These by the way come with a one-or two-seat option. Some are side-by-side, others front and back.
You need to move to the better engineered model to get a three-seater, but they do make them. I have seen people pushing their dogs in these things. Now we move into high-tech models with as many options as a Range Rover.
My favorite, and the one in which I would like to be chauffeured around the Village, by you know who, is the eight-wheel stretch limo pram. It has the top up or down feature but on very hot days has AC. On cold days, a seat-warmer and full heating system. It also comes with a blue-tooth feature which allows the little darling to listen to his or her favorite lullabies and a digital screen to play video games or just watch a cartoon.
So, all in all, there is a great variety of rides for every youngster in the West Village.
And by the way, the first record of a pram was in 1856 in London. Although the noun perambulator comes from the Latin perambulare, I still call it a baby carriage.