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Accessibility in NYC


maraena

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On the suggestion of another poster on the NE boards, I came over here to ask about NYC and accessibility. I was in NYC a couple of years ago but wasn't monitoring accessibility at the time. Now that my mom is going and has (thank goodness) agreed to a scooter, I'm interested in perspectives on accessibility. Mom can walk short distances slowly (fewer than 4 blocks without a rest) but gets very tired and has back/knee/ankle injuries that can be aggravated by impact.

 

For the record, we're planning to come in a couple of days early. I haven't yet reserved a scooter but it appears it won't be a problem for it to be delivered to our hotel prior to our cruise.

 

Plans:

 

We'll spend one day at Staton/Ellis Islands to see the Statue of Liberty/Immigration tour. (I've done this before and enjoyed it.)

 

That evening we're looking at shows. More than likely it'll either be South Pacific or Guys and Dolls.

 

We'll probably make a quick stop at Times Square so Mom can see it. (In my opinion, that can be done in under and hour.)

 

I'm looking at hotels in the midtown and Times Square areas. We anticipate taxis to the hotel from LGA and from the hotel to the Red Hook cruise port. Mom wants to take a subway ride and I preferred the mass transit system so we're going to try to use that extensively.

 

Questions:

1. Is the NYC subway system fairly accessible? I seem to recall using the stairs but I have to admit I wasn't looking for elevators at the time. I don't recall steps into the cars. Would we need to use certain stops for better accessibility considering she'd have a scooter? Also, is using public transit a viable option at all for travel between hotels and shows, Ellis/Staton, Times Square, restaurants, etc.?

 

2. I booked the Statue/Ellis tickets online last time I was there and picked them up at will-call to avoid the long lines. I plan to do the same this time. However, I can't recall if the ferries over to the islands were accessible or not. I seem to remember some steps but can't be sure if that was just because I moved between decks. Anyone happen to know this answer?

 

3. Anything else I should know about getting about NYC with a scooter? Is a scooter even a feasible plan? I just don't remember seeing any on my last trip and I do tend to notice wheelchairs/scooters because I'm in the special education field. I just don't always notice accessibility unless it's a blatant violation. (And I do remember that there were some curbs which, at crosswalks, did not ramp down but forced a step off.)

 

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

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You can get around NYC streets and such just fine in a scooter. You don't see many around but it is a perfectly fine way to get around. Subways might be a problem. Bigger station (ones where there are several different subway line) typically will have an elevator to get you to the platform but you have to find the correct entrance. If you go to mta.info you should be able to look up which stops have elevators. You will not be able to ride a scotter directly from the platform into the subway. There is a small step and sometimes a gap. The easiest way would be for her to walk into the car and then carry the scooter in. From what I can remember the Statue of Liberty ferry does have a ramp that will allow a scooter to get on and off. I think there was actually a person in a wheelchair when I went, although I'm not 100% sure. Most, if not all, the broadway theaters require you to go up or down stairs. I don't know if they have elevators to the different levels or not. I would call the theater you are interested in and ask, I'm sure they can make arrangements for you. You should be fine during your stay in NYC, just do some research ahead of time on specific places you want to go so there are no suprises.

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Questions:

1. Is the NYC subway system fairly accessible? I seem to recall using the stairs but I have to admit I wasn't looking for elevators at the time. I don't recall steps into the cars. Would we need to use certain stops for better accessibility considering she'd have a scooter? Also, is using public transit a viable option at all for travel between hotels and shows, Ellis/Staton, Times Square, restaurants, etc.?

 

2. I booked the Statue/Ellis tickets online last time I was there and picked them up at will-call to avoid the long lines. I plan to do the same this time. However, I can't recall if the ferries over to the islands were accessible or not. I seem to remember some steps but can't be sure if that was just because I moved between decks. Anyone happen to know this answer?

 

3. Anything else I should know about getting about NYC with a scooter? Is a scooter even a feasible plan? I just don't remember seeing any on my last trip and I do tend to notice wheelchairs/scooters because I'm in the special education field. I just don't always notice accessibility unless it's a blatant violation. (And I do remember that there were some curbs which, at crosswalks, did not ramp down but forced a step off.)

 

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

 

In my experience, the subways are NOT mostly accessable and very few have elevators.

 

You also need to be well prepared for a walk to just get to the boat loading for Ellis Island, along with the security lines, which can be extensive. IF you are doing the Statue of Liberty Access?? Then be prepared for AT LEAST an hour in another security line, with no seats. Then climbing stairs. LONG walk to the boat docks. The boats are accessable without stairs, but you do have to manage the ramps.

 

I've seen scooters in Manhatten, Since you have been there before, you should have an idea what it's going to be like?? Key would be to have a very lightweight, small one. Not sure about the access for a cab, and if available, you really need to think big about tipping.

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An alternative to the subway (the above posters are correct about the scarcity of elevators) is a bus, since all city buses have wheelchair/scooter lifts and the drivers are very good at getting you on/off and locked down inside. If your mother has difficulty with stairs, you should be aware that in many NYC restaurants the restrooms are in the basement level and only accessible by stairway.

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They do have a special designated area for wheelchairs and scooters in broadway theaters but you need to call and make arrangements in advance. They have a handicapped accessible restroom on the main floor in the theaters also. I don't recall ever seeing a scooter on a subway. The subway platforms are too narrow and crowded and there is always a gap between the subway car and the platform. Instead of a scooter, would you be able to push your Mom in a wheelchair? There are lightweight folding ones that aren't really expensive, I believe they are called transport chairs. You could fold it up and place it in the back of a cab, and your Mom can use it when she gets tired to sit. Just an idea.

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