New York is more accessible to travelers with disabilities than ever before. The city’s bus system is wheelchair-friendly, and most of the major sightseeing attractions are easily accessible. Even so, always call first to be sure that the places you want to go to are fully accessible.
Most hotels are ADA compliant, with suitable rooms for wheelchair-bound travelers as well as those with other disabilities. But before you book, ask lots of questions based on your needs. Many city hotels are in older buildings that have been modified to meet requirements; still, elevators and bathrooms can be on the small side, and other impediments may exist. If you have mobility issues, you’ll probably do best to book one of the city’s newer hotels, which tend to be more spacious and accommodating. At www.access-able.com, you’ll find links to New York’s best accessible accommodations (click on “World Destinations”). Some Broadway theaters and other performance venues provide total wheelchair accessibility; others provide partial accessibility. Many also offer lower-priced tickets for theatergoers with disabilities and their companions, though you’ll need to check individual policies and reserve in advance.
Hospital Audiences, Inc. (tel. 212/575-7676; www.hainyc.org) arranges attendance and provides details about accessibility at cultural institutions as well as cultural events adapted for people with disabilities. Services include “Describe!,” which allows visually impaired theatergoers to enjoy theater events.
Another terrific source for travelers with disabilities who are coming to New York City is Big Apple Greeter (tel. 212/669-8159; www.bigapplegreeter.org). All of its employees are extremely well versed in accessibility issues. They can provide a resource list of city agencies that serve those with disabilities, and they sometimes have special discounts available to theater and music performances. Big Apple Greeter even offers one-to-one tours that pair volunteers with visitors with disabilities; they can even introduce you to the public transportation system if you like. Reserve at least 1 week ahead.