New York City, NY:
We got to the airport thinking you could just hail a wheelchair accessible cab, and boy, were we wrong. New York, wha wha, cab fail. We were outside, thumb out, for a good fifteen minutes. No one stopped, or even helped. Good thing for google, my personal assistant looked up “Help Stuck at The Neward Airport,” just kidding, “Newark Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Transportation.” My friends, we were stuck. My assistant called, and guess what, you have to set one up beforehand. Dilemma! How were we going to get to the city! Just then my assistant saw a skateboard, she grabbed it, hopped on, and off to the Big Apple we wheeled. Ok, ok, just kidding, I am a writer and director, sometimes my mind wanders into my next big script. My assistant called and in 20 to 30 minutes, here came a yellow cab minivan equipped with a pulldown ramp. After the driver helped me in, we realized there was only enough room for 2 with luggage. So if you are traveling with a family or small group, you will need multiple cabs. We had a group of five, and had to leave the others behind to hail another taxi. Finally, we, well the two of us, were on our way into the Big Apple.
Below I have attached a link about wheelchair accessibility and public transportation in New York City.
Also, when in the city, you can call for a wheelchair accessible taxi by dialing 3-1-1. Remember 3-1-1.
After the cab adventure, we finally arrived at the Marriott Marquis “On Broadway,” our hotel of choice because of my love for theater. I just couldn’t wait to arrive “On Broadway.” The taxi driver helped get me and my wheelchair down the ramp out of the cab. A friendly bellman greeted us and kindly helped us with our luggage. The bell guy helped bring our stuff to the room, which I’m not going to lie, it was very tiny. The hotel halls were long and wide. There was an elevator to take us up to the floor our room was on. A plus, the elevator was just around the corner from our hotel room, and it was big. Now onto the room, which I am not going to lie, was very very tiny. The wheelchair just had the pleasure of staying in one place in the room. It could not move around. It could not get to the bathroom. My assistants had to carry me in and out of the bathroom each time I had to have access. I was very let down. I expected more from the Marriott. They were, however, able to get my wheelchair over to the bed at least. If you are a wheelchair user, I don’t recommend you staying at the Marriott Marquis “On Broadway,” because with what you need, accessibility and easy access around your hotel room, they did not provide that.
To the Streets–
Now to wheeling around this great big city. I must say, the streets of NYC were pretty wide but packed. I have an example, we were late to a play on Broadway. We were wheeling at top speed but still nobody moved. We had to move right and left, then, left and right, to make our way up the street. We sat down just at the start of the first song. As we navigated the city streets, I noticed several were wide but almost all were impossible to maneuver. There were however ramps to get on and off the curbs to access the streets and crosswalks. Like every big attraction. People just stopped and stood there in the middle of the sidewalk or street to take pictures. I just kept thinking, “oh boy, move on over.”
Friendly tip… the metro buses around New York City have lifts to help you on and off the bus.
Travel tip for EVERYBODY… MOVE OVER!
A Broadway Musical
Our first theatre production took place at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. We started off seeing The Lion King. Fantastic show. If you’re in town, go see it! But, the wheelchair accessible section is all the way at the last row of the theatre. I thought I could see perfectly until that day. The stage was just a little bit too far away. The characters looked like they were in a little 1950s TV. Despite the bad view, the sound quality was great. Beware of people with hats, that also blocked my vision to the stage. The aisles were big, wide and easy to get down. The bathrooms I did not use, so I can’t speak to their accessibility. Tip for all of you theatre buffs. After the show, you can go to the stage door and meet the actors and actresses. My only tip is to get there right after that curtain closes. I was lucky enough to meet young Simba and young Nala.
Our second theatre production took place at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. We went to see Aladdin, and this was actually the one I was running late to see. Our seats were in the same exact spot, last row of the theatre, but the layout was different. We were far far back, so imagine the view. The characters looked like ants. Again, I had to squint. The sound quality was fantastic and the aisles were wide and easy to maneuver. But I have a little secret, I got to go on the stage. So, this man comes up to our seats at the end of the show and says, “Do you trust me?” My first thought, WHEEL AWAY. My second thought, could this be my lucky day? As luck would have it, he took me back stage. It was unbelievable! I met the actress that played Jasmine and the actor that played Genie. What an incredible experience!
A Must Do–
Sunset Dinner Cruise along the Hudson River
First, I must disclose, getting on the boat required a little “poppin’ a wheelie”, good thing I was with my family to help navigate the entrance. Also the dining tables were very close together. I had to suck in my entire body just to get through the narrow spaces. Just a tip, navigating this boat, you will need assistance. Finally we made our way and we were at our table ready for the cruise to begin. The reason I say you “MUST GO” on this cruise was because of the views, oh the views were to die for! If you want to do on the cheap (not $1000 for the 5 of us) then this isn’t the best cruise for you. The cruise was a four hour voyage which gave us stunning views of Manhattan. Waiters were placed throughout the boat and served the tables. There was a menu to select from and all the food looked amazing. My favorite part was when we got to see Lady Gaga perform on the boat while cruising past Lady Liberty, just kidding, Lady Gaga wasn’t there, but I caught your attention didn’t I? 🙂 In all seriousness, it was beautiful! A jazz band played lovely tunes throughout the cruise. They played the National Anthem while we sailed past the Statue of Liberty. I had wonderful views out of the well placed windows. The skyline lights lit up the night. What spectacular city views and what a night to remember.