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48 Hours in New York
By: Danielle Max | Dec 19 2016
The Big Apple, Gotham, the City that Never Sleeps, The City So Nice They Named It Twice. There’s no end to New York’s nicknames, and there’s no end to the sights, sounds and attractions on offer in one of the world’s busiest and most iconic cities.

Lower Manhattan View, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn | © NYC & Company/Julienne Schaer

Take a Bite out of the Big Apple

Greeter Julie Compton with visitor. | Paul Margolis for Big Apple Greeter

Visiting New York for the first time can be a little overwhelming (even repeat visitors can be overcome by the size of the city). You know the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down, but how do you get between them and what can you do when you get there?

To get a good overview of the city and talk to someone who knows everything you want to find out, start the day with a free meet up with a Big Apple Greeter and have all of your questions answered. The organization runs an Access Program to inform travelers with disabilities of accessible travel options within New York City, and to help travelers with disabilities get the most from their visit by matching them with a volunteer Greeter who will show them a favorite section of the city.

Volunteers include more than 50 Greeters who have visible or invisible disabilities and want to spread their love for New York with visitors from all over the world. To set up a meeting with a Big Apple Greeter, submit the Visit Request Form at least four weeks ahead of your visit.
Go Back in Time

Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Lower East Side, Manhattan | © NYC & Company/Julienne Schaer

Take a trip back to the past with a visit to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which tells the story of the inhabitants of 97 Orchard Street through a variety of guided tours. As well as investigating the building, which was built in 1863, visitors can also join walking tours of the neighborhood to learn more about this vibrant area that was the stopping off point for many of the immigrants who came to New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Due to the age of the building, not all of the tours are wheelchair accessible. However, all of the neighborhood walking tours are suitable for people who use wheelchairs. Braille material is available for all of the tours in the building. As well as its regular tours, the museum offers Private Access tours, which include touch tours, ASL tours and sign language interpreters. Private Access tours must be booked two weeks in advance.

Click here to find out more about the tours.
Hit the Shows

Lincoln Center, Upper West Side, Manhattan | © NYC & Company/Joe Buglewicz

Head over to Lincoln Center to catch a show. The Center, which is home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, is a must-visit cultural destination. It hosts a wide variety of events, including dance, opera, jazz, theatre, film and pop music, so take your pick from the extensive program.

All Lincoln Center buildings are wheelchair accessible, with accessible locations and designated aisle transfer seats available for all performances. Wheelchairs can be borrowed at most venues. Large print and braille programs are available for most performances. Assistive Listening Devices with headsets and neck loops are available at all venues. ASL interpretation, captioning and audio description may be available for select performances and events. Check out the Campus Accessibility Guide for more information.
Be a Coney Island Baby

Carousel, Coney Island, Brooklyn | © NYC & Company/Julienne Schaer

If the weather is good, head out to Coney Island. Once known as the city’s playground, this Brooklyn attraction it is still one of New York’s most popular summer destinations. Enjoy the boardwalk and the beach (there is an accessible beach mat at West 33 St, Stillwell Ave and West 5th St and beach wheelchairs at West 22nd Street and the Boardwalk). Check out the Coney Island Museum or some of the rides at Luna Park. If you get hungry, grab a hotdog at the original Nathan’s, which stands on the corner of Surf and Stilwell Avenues. If you visit in the winter, take refuge from the cold in the New York Aquarium or brave the elements with a walk along the boardwalk to Brighton Beach before warming up with some hot borsht at one of the area’s Russian restaurants.
Park Yourself

Central Park, Manhattan | © NYC & Company/Christopher Postlewaite

Be a true New Yorker with a visit to Central Park. Find a quiet corner to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, visit the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden or just kick back and relax on the Great Lawn and watch the world passing by as you wind down.

Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located throughout the park including the Ancient Playground (85th St and 5th Av) the Dana Discovery Center (110th St between 5th Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard), Lasker (Central Park at 107th St) and Sheep Meadow (Mid-park at 69th St). Click here for the full list of accessible restrooms.
Give Your Regards to Broadway

Times Square | © NYC & Company/Joe Buglewicz

You can’t come to New York without taking in a Broadway show. Given the age of some of the theaters, wheelchair accessibility can be a little hit or miss.

By law, all Broadway theaters must provide a “reasonable accommodation” for wheelchair users. Check out Ticketmaster or Telecharge to see individual theater layouts or call the venue directly to ascertain exactly what facilities are on offer, including access, seating and restrooms. Some shows have ASL interpretations or captioning is available in some theaters. Contact the Theatre Development Fund's Accessibility Programs (TAP) office to learn more about when these special Broadway performances are taking place by calling 212-912-9770 ext. 382. An organization known as Hands On! also sponsors sign language interpreted events around New York City. 
Getting Around
NYC Transportation
New York is served by three main airports, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.Super Shuttle provides wheelchair-accessible buses and vans between all three airports and hotels and private residences in Manhattan. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) operates Access-A-Ride, a public transit service for people with disabilities.

Tourist use of Access-A-Ride requires advance registration, see the MTA website for details. AAR vehicles cannot accommodate wheelchairs or scooters wider than 33.5 inches, longer than 51 inches and weighing more than 800 lbs. when occupied. If you want to be more spontaneous, and don’t want to have to order a ride in advance, Accessible Dispatch is a wheelchair-accessible taxi dispatch service for pick up anywhere in Manhattan. Cabs can be ordered via phone, text, online, or using the company’s app.

It is possible for wheelchair users to get around New York using the subway and bus systems (at a reduced rate).   Buses have lifts, ramps or kneeling capacity.  Out of 500 subway stations, roughly 25% are accessible at a given time, depending on the day.     With planning, it is possible to use the subway system to get to certain destinations, but check wheelchair-accessible subway stations in advance for potential out of service elevators and other logisitics.  Additionally,  in order to use the wheelchair accessible gate at subway stations, you may need an Autogate card, which is obtained from the MTA office at 3 Stone Street in downtown Manhattan or by mail if you are a resident.  Alternatively you are not required to have an Autogate card but then you will need to speak with stations agents to let you through.

You can use the MTA Trip Planner  http://tripplanner.mta.info/ to map accessible routes using the MTA, just don't forget to select the "accessible trip" option.

Click here for more information about accessible New York.
Where to Stay
Stay right at the heart of the action at the Courtyard New York/Manhattan/Times Square. The hotel is located within easy distance of Broadway, Central Park, Macy’s and the Empire State Building, so you won’t have to go far to have fun. The hotel has 11 accessible rooms, three with roll-in showers. The hotel’s fitness facility and business center are accessible
Additional Resources
Click here to read the Official NYC Accessibility Guide.

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