Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Photo by: Fabio Arangio

Hello, everyone! Since we explored London just a little while ago, I thought it would be great if we turned our attention toward America’s most cosmopolitan city, New York. Naturally, digging through all the great sights, accommodations, and tours that you’d need for a full New York City access guide will take more than one post! So consider this the first in an ongoing series all about handicapped travelers in the Big Apple. We’ll be revisiting it throughout the coming months and offering a big wrap-up sometime in the future. For now, let’s get started on disabled travel in NYC!

You just can’t expect to get around in the city without using its subways and buses, and luckily, disability access is a big deal here. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a Guide to Accessible Transportation which includes information on reduced fare programs for disabled travelers using the city’s buses, subways, and railways. The MTA page also gives a concise rundown of the accessibility features in major stations. There is also a door-to-door paratransit service that offers mobility impaired access in cases where passengers cannot use the public transit options for some or all of their trips.

Once you know that you can get around, you naturally need somewhere to go. This is where things get tricky, because there are so many great options, it’s hard to know what to cover first! One of my favorite attractions in any great city is the theater, so let’s start there. Thanks to the Theatre Development Fund, there are plenty of programs for improving theatre accessibility for the hard-of-hearing, those with visual impairments, and audience members who require wheelchair accessible seating. This is great if you plan to catch one of Broad’s famous Christmas shows this year.

If you are going to be in the area, you’ll probably be interested to know how wheelchair access will shape up at this year’s spectacular New Year’s events. According to NYC Tourist, there is a special viewing area for handicapped visitors along the northwest side of 43rd Street. The nonprofit Times Square Alliance offers Frequently Asked Questions for New Year’s events, which includes a map of access points for traveling quickly and easily to the accessible viewing area. There are also many other useful pointers on dining, shows, and safety during the annual revelry.

Frommer’s has a good introduction to NYC travel full of more general disabled traveling tips. There are two fantastic Internet resources for finding wheelchair accessible hotels in New York. When We Travel has a database of hotels that self-report as having expanded facilities for wheelchair access all around New York state. Moss Rehab Resource Net has a listing of New York hotels with telephone numbers and web addresses. The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality is a handicapped organization that encourages accessibility in the world of accommodations and travel, and offers a lot of great information on a variety of topics.

Well, we’ve taken our first bite of the Big Apple! That’s it for today, but there’ll be more on accessible accommodations, places to see and things to do in New York in future posts. Next time, we’ll be continuing our journey through the wide world of disabled travel with a new topic. Thanks for reading, and keep adventuring.


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