September 9, 2013 | 10:15pm
Photo: Chad Rachman
Forget standing on line for the new iPhone, limited-edition handbag, or even a Cronut.
The latest must-have for stylish Manhattan moms is a new, pimped-out status stroller called the Buffalo.
The new set of wheels from trendy brand Bugaboo, whose celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham, is set to take over New York’s streets in the coming months.
Self-confessed “stroller junkies” have been clamoring to get their hands on Bugaboo’s new release since it was launched in Europe earlier this year, with hype building on Internet forums and mommy blogs.
So it is no surprise fans flocked to Upper West Side store Albee Baby, which received an early delivery of the Buffalo over the weekend — and The Post was the first to take the eagerly awaited über-stroller for a spin.
Like the baby version of a high-end SUV, Bugaboo’s new “all-terrain” model boasts tough tires promising as smooth a ride off-road as on New York’s bumpy sidewalks.
However, the eye-watering $1,129 price tag may be enough to stop some parents in their tracks.
New features, such as an extendable sun canopy and massive shopping basket — perfect for Manhattan mommies — improve on Bugaboo’s current iconic model, the Chameleon.
Upper West Side mom-to-be lawyer Lynn Bayard, 44, was quick to snap up a Buffalo for her daughter, due to be born next month.
“I was going to buy the Chameleon but didn’t want to make a decision until I had seen the new Buffalo, so I came in as soon as I heard it had arrived to test it out,” says Bayard. “I like the tires, and the ride seems really smooth . . . I already bought the smaller Bugaboo Bee for traveling with a hot-pink canopy, and am going to get this one to match.”
Six months pregnant myself and new to Manhattan, I knew I couldn’t dawdle in checking out this hot launch for my own imminent arrival if I wanted to be in with the baby group “in-set.”
Bugaboos are often described as “the Rolls-Royce of strollers,” so it is no surprise the tech specs on the Buffalo read like a luxury car brochure. (Even Aston Martin has gotten into the stroller market with the release of the $3,000 limited-edition Silver Cross Surf, which makes the Buffalo seem like a bargain.)
I find myself mesmerized by the jargon boasting of “swivel wheels” and “foam-filled tires,” conjuring images of me cruising through the city with one hand effortlessly pushing my contented infant, the other carrying a cappuccino.
The chunky tires and suspension apparently mean I can snake my way through sand and snow with ease should I suddenly decide on an impromptu move to the Sahara or a late entry into the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Buffalo might handle well halfway up the side of a mountain, but how about on the bumpy terrain of the Meatpacking District? Negotiating those cobblestones is surely at the top of every expectant mom’s list of worries.
No need to fret: Albee Baby helpfully set up an assault course outside its store mimicking everything from a cobbled West Village street to the grass and wood chips of a Central Park playground.
To be fair, the Buffalo laughed in the face of all these challenges.
But it is no coincidence that many of the new features of the Buffalo will feel strangely familiar to moms-in- the-know. It seems Bugaboo may have taken some, ahem, “inspiration” from a rival American firm.
Recently, there has been chatter that Bugaboo’s crown might be slipping as homegrown company UPPAbaby edged into first place in New York’s urban environment.
Many parents shunned the Chameleon in favor of UPPAbaby’s Vista model. Like the Chameleon, the Vista offers babies a great ride, a bassinet for use with newborns and a seat that easily reverses so your precious cargo can face toward you or toward the street.
But many moms felt the Vista had the edge over the Chameleon because of the child’s higher seating position, which allows the stroller to be pulled up easily to cafe tables. They also loved the huge, UVprotective sun canopy, generous shopping basket and — crucially — the fact that at $729.99, it was more than $200 cheaper than the Chameleon and came with more free accessories.
The Vista also became a favorite because of its “one-piece fold” and easy-to-maneuver reclining mechanism.
So guess what, folks? The Buffalo can fold in one piece, and its seat can be reclined with one hand. And it appears Bugaboo has enjoyed a growth spurt and is now even taller than the Vista.
It seems with the Buffalo, Bugaboo isn’t taking the challenge from UPPAbaby lying down, matching the Vista feature for feature.
But all the new bells and whistles make the Buffalo a fairly hefty beast. The Chameleon was always lighter to lift when folded than the Vista, but now the Buffalo is heavier than both of them. (On the plus side, you could cancel your gym membership to help pay for it and still have toned arms.)
And options add to the stroller’s already huge price tag.
“Bugaboo strollers aren’t cheap,” says full-time mom Seagal Hagege, 38, who owns the brand’s Donkey model and was road-testing the Buffalo with daughter Sadie, 2.
“With all the accessories and gimmicks I have bought to add to mine — like seat insert and parasol — I probably push about $3,000 worth of stroller. I should get insurance!”
But what do kids think? Dr. Ginger Friedman took her 18-monthold son, Simeon, for a spin in the Buffalo, and the stroller seemed to receive his seal of approval.
“He seems very comfortable,” says Friedman. “I like how it pushes and how high the handlebar comes up.”
But the mom of one says she isn’t about to swap her UPPAbaby Vista for a Buffalo anytime soon. “This is nice, but it is even more expensive than the Chameleon. I have been really happy with the Vista; it is a great stroller. The price point is a lot more attractive to a lot of parents, too.”
Dutch firm Bugaboo launched in the US in 2003 and quickly became the go-to brand for well-heeled parents after its iconic Frog stroller featured in an episode of “Sex and the City,” pushed by Miranda.
Gwyneth Paltrow was a devotee of the Bugaboo, the most ubiquitous stroller among A-listers, and gifted one to Beyoncé when she had Blue Ivy. Yet Sarah Jessica Parker has always favored the Vista, along with Drew Barrymore and Reese Witherspoon.
And Kate Middleton — who recently got a Chameleon for Prince George — will no doubt be devastated to read of the release of the Buffalo, as the heir to the British throne is now riding in a carriage soon to be surpassed by a hotter stroller.
While family-run business Albee Baby is one of the first Manhattan shops to stock the Buffalo, many larger retailers aren’t expecting deliveries until as late as January.
Store stroller expert Issie Santiago reckons the Buffalo is set to explode as the latest phenomenon in nursery gear.
“Once people start seeing this on the street, they are going to go crazy for it,” says Santiago. “I have already had customers calling and asking when we will have it.”
The Buffalo might cost the equivalent of a small secondhand family car, and struggle to fit easily into the trunk of one when folded, but that won’t deter Bugaboo devotees desperate to snap them up.