Accessible New York
Basically there’s too much to say about this weekend in one post so let me break it down for you, starting with getting around the city in a chair….
Ok so I’m not solely confined to the chair anymore however Manhattan is a big place and to cover any sort of distance on foot was almost impossible. This meant it was basically chair by day and crutch/FES by night.
If your looking for comfort then you are never more than 3 minutes away from an Uber. The SUVs (4x4s) have all got plenty of space for the chair in the trunk (boot), but are quite expensive and the traffic on manhattan usually makes it almost pointless to go via automobile (car). Undoubtably the quickest way to get around the city is using the subway (tube). The idea of it is much scarier than the reality which is often the case with most things. Only about 50% of the stations are accessible (have elevators (lifts), however they are spread evenly across the city so you can always get near to where you want to go. The main thing to watch out for is the gaps between the train and the platform. They are surprisingly variable, most can be traversed with a simple flick up of the front wheels however some would require a 30m run up and a stunt man. The best thing about it is that you don’t know what you’re going to be faced with until the train arrives or the doors open…. luckily I had Lois with me, the ability to standing transfer and my new mobile chair so managed to negotiate all of the crevasses without complication. If you’re by yourself the main thing to keep in mind is that most people are more than happy to help, many will offer but don’t be afraid to ask, you will be surprised how courteous the majority are. Oh the only other thing is to hold your breath when you go in the elevators (lifts), as many seem to mistake them for the bathroom (toilet).
Cruising the sidewalk (pavement) is relatively straight forward as the city is all pretty flat. The volume of people can make it slow going at times but again everyone seemed to be very considerate and I managed to avoid running over too many feet. Day 113 continued…..
There are a few curbs without sloped access to keep an eye out for, but if you have a quick look around there will always be one nearby. Also they have kindly put countdown timers on the traffic lights so you can leave yourself plenty of time to cross, or play chicken, whichever way your inclined.
We did a number of touristy things such as going to the top of the trade centre, the 9/11 memorial museum, the high line etc. All of which were not only accessible but we were whisked straight to the front of the cues, put in separate elevators (lifts), chaperoned everywhere and generally given VIP treatment… I sometimes found it awkward just cruising past the poor people who had been cuing for hours, Lois on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed it and I think is even considering getting a wheelchair of her own 😏♿️.
The bottom line is NYC is completely accessible. All you need is some low level wheelchair skills, a helping hand and a bit of get up and go. 🇺🇸
P.s. I’ve accumulated a lot of useful info sent in from past and present New Yorkers on things to do/see/drink/eat etc… so if you’re thinking of going and want a few shortcuts give me a shout. ✌️