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wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

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posts: 22
reviews: 7
wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

I'm visiting the Big Apple in August, along with my husband. I use a wheelchair, and I am wondering what the best means of transport is for somebody in a wheelchair. Besides seeing the NY sights, I need to make the following journeys, and I am wondering what the costs are and the best way to travel:

JKF to Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn hotel to Brooklyn cruise terminal

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to Times Square

Times Square to JFK.

Are all the major sights accessible for wheelchair-users? Which ones are not?

Can you offer any other travel tips?

Many thanks

posts: 1,880
reviews: 37
1. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

I think NYC is the most accessible city in the world.

You just have to google.

Every street has cut outs for wheelchairs.,

Every bus can take a person in wheelchair, there are over 100 subways entrances with elevators.

I think if you google you will find the info overwhelming.

Queens, NY
posts: 5,900
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2. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

NYC is **not** the most accessible city in the world, because many older buildings have stairs, and very little of the subway system is accessible. But it's perfectly manageable - I just don't want to overplay it. I'd argue that a place like, say, Phoenix, which is almost all one-story buildings and where you drive everywhere, is much more accessible.

That said, the bus system is how New Yorkers with wheelchairs get around. All buses are designed to take wheelchairs and while they're slow, they're scenic and the drivers are very comfortable with wheelchair-riding passengers.

To get to and from JFK and the cruise terminal, you'll have to take taxis. If you have a folding wheelchair, it should fit in the trunk of any standard taxi. If you have something bigger, use a car service like Dial 7 and specify your wheelchair, and they'll send along a van that fits it.

For wheelchair users, the subway system is sort of a novelty because so few of the stations have wheelchair accessibility.

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3. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

thank you for the clarification, jwanderer

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4. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

I just suggested that someone take a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan, which would also be a good idea for wheelchair tour. You would have to take a bus or taxi to get there (Husdon River and W. 42 St.) but on a nice day its a lovely, and comfortable way to get an overview of NYC.


New Orleans...
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5. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

As someone who has spent time in a wheelchair- I'll second JHWanderer. NYC is shamefully unequipped for wheelchairs, but it can be done.

Honestly, I would avoid too many situations where you put yourself on a strict time frame. The bus will be the best way to get around, but it leaves you with no way to predict how long a trip is going to take. While many subway stations claim to have elevator service, the elevators are frequently broken. VERY frequently broken.

If there are particular restaurants you'd like to eat at, please phone ahead to confirm that they have wheelchair accessibility, because many of the places that advertise themselves as offering that online are making false claims.

There have been other wheelchair-bound tourists on this forum who've posted trip reports, so a search of those would be helpful, as well.

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6. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

For what it's worth, I am a tour guide in NYC and last year I was hired as a step on guide for a half day tour where one member of the family of 4 was in a wheel chair.

The family used a company called vega van for transportation to and from the airport and for the 1/2 day tour where I was their guide. The van and the driver were amazing. They had the same driver each time. I believe vega van called Beyond Times Square to hire me.


The rest of the time the family used public buses to get to the places they wanted to go and for their trip to the Yankee Game, they used the Metro North Train to get to and from Yankee Stadium and they said that worked fine.

Hope this helps.


posts: 22
reviews: 7
7. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

Wow! Thanks for all your comments. It seems as though every wheelchair-user is destined to have a different experience whilst travelling around the city. Looks like I have a lot more research ahead of me. Many thanks.

Queens, New York
posts: 25,086
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8. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

This post contains a LOT of information:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k3140063… NYC_wheelchair_friendly_destination-

Scroll down in the thread and you'll find the fabulous FOUR PART "wheely report" from Donnababe.

You'll also find links to wheelchair rental companies and other helpul websites.


Edited: 3:32 pm, June 08, 2011
posts: 22
reviews: 7
9. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.

Thanks for your help. I didn't realise there is so much information out there! I'm really looking forward to my trip.



Queens, New York
posts: 25,086
reviews: 5
10. Re: wheelchair-bound in the 'Big Apple'.


BTW, here is an updated and working link to NYC's tourist page on wheelchair accessibility:


More updated links:


Out-of-service subway elevators