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- About New York
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Disability Travel in New York
- Getting Around New York with a Disability
- New York Sights and Activities with Disability Acces
- New York Hotels with Disability Access
Getting Around New York with a Disability
There are plenty of ways to get around New York—from subways and buses to taxis. And in a city like Manhattan, chances are you'll always be moving from one place to the next. But what if you, or someone you’re traveling with, has a disability? Here are the in-and-outs of getting around New York City with a disability.
Subways and Buses
The subway is one of the quickest, most convenient, and least expensive ways to travel around New York City for tourists and locals alike. The subway offers several services for travelers with disabilities. The subway is equipped with elevators, and once you’re inside the station, there are MetroCard machines that help travelers with visual disabilities. It’s very important to remember that within the subway system, not every train or stop is handicap-accessible. For example, some trains are accessible going one direction, but not another direction. For that reason, you’ll definitely want to check out MTA’s website before heading to the nearest station, rather than assuming that all subways will be accessible to travelers with disabilities. Buses are another popular way to get around New York City, and they’re wheelchair accessible. Visitors with disabilities can also apply for a discounted MetroCard in advance of their trip, which can be used on either the subway or bus.
Taxis and other Transportation
It’s illegal for taxi operators to not drive a traveler based on disability, and service animals are allowed in taxis. Access-A-Ride (known as AAR) is part of New York City’s transportation system, and it’s meant for people with disabilities who can’t take a bus or subway. Keep in mind that you’ll need to apply for AAR beforehand. If you prefer not to take the subway or bus, private taxi services are available in New York City. For example, Vega Transportation provides transportation from popular airports (LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark) into the city, and Tel-Aviv Car and Limousine Service is another choice for private transportation in New York City.
Access to Popular Attractions
Many of New York City’s most popular attractions are accessible to travelers with disabilities. The city’s most famous art museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim, offer services for travelers with disabilities. These services range from brail and audio guides to large print and wheelchair rental. These museums are wheelchair accessible and permit service animals. The Museum of Natural History also offers such services for travelers with disabilities, and the Empire State Building has accessible entrances. The Central Park Zoo is accessible, while the Bronx Zoo has an accessibility map that tells you which areas are easily accessible to visitors with disabilities. Looking to see a show while you're in New York City? Broadway theaters have seating for viewers in wheelchairs, so just purchase a ticket ahead of time--you'll be able to select an accessible seat from online ticket merchants.
Last Words of Advice
As with every trip, it's important to do your research before you head out. If you want to apply for discounted MetroCards, make sure you leave plenty of time to apply; if you want to see a Broadway show, get your tickets far in advance to ensure a wheelchair-accessible seat will be available. If you anticipate that traveling throughout the city will be difficult, look at hotels that are close to the main attractions in New York City. For example, if you know that you want to spend a lot of time in the art museums, a hotel on the Upper East Side or Midtown may be your best choice.