New York City is popular among tourists for a reason. It has excellent sceneries, busy streets, and everything else you’ll want to see in a big city. Fortunately, the beauty of the Big Apple is free for all to enjoy— even people in a wheelchair.
Although you may be unable to walk the streets of NYC with your own two legs, you still won’t miss out on some of the best places to visit in this five-borough community. If you aren’t convinced, read on for the list of 8 wheelchair-friendly places in the Big Apple.
- Times Square
Nothing says “I’m in New York” better than a photo taken at Times Square. With that said, take the opportunity to bring your wheels on the busy streets of the famous place.
You should also check out some of the most visited establishments there, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. You may also rub elbows with some of the most popular stars in Hollywood at Madame Tussauds or go soul searching at the Times Square Church.
You can also enjoy classic entertainment like you’ve never seen before at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, where everything—comfort rooms, lower and mezzanine levels, as well as elevator floors— are fully accessible in a wheelchair.
- One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial Museum
If you’re visiting New York to go on an educational trip to learn about some of the momentous events in history, you are more than welcome to visit the One World Trade Center with the 9/11 Memorial Museum on its foreground.
Here, you can acquire some memorabilia from the tragic event that changed America forever. Wheelchairs are provided by the museum on a first come, first served basis. Everything— from the entrance to the exhibitions, restaurants, and restrooms— is fully accessible by wheelchair.
In fact, the entire building was designed to provide the exact same views for when you are standing up or sitting down, so everyone can easily browse the emotionally-provoking narratives that were written to commemorate those who lost their lives during the September 11 incident.
- Ellis Island
If your thirst for rich American history needs quenching, you have the choice to visit the wheelchair-accessible museum located at Ellis Island. This is where millions of immigrants passed through to seek the American Dream.
And, like the 9/11 Memorial Museum, people who require the assistance of wheelchairs can get one from the establishment. It is also complete with ramps and elevators to each floor for accessibility.
- Empire State Building
Visitors with disabilities are also very much welcome to explore the magnificent view from the Empire State Building, which is certified to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Tourists riding motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs are free to come and go to the 86th Floor Observatory without any hitch. Like the other places on this list, this building has lavatories that are fully accessible to the wheelchair-bound.
The Observatory also has ramps and lowered viewing walls and binoculars to accommodate people who want to relish picturesque sunsets or just bask in the view from the famed skyscraper at Midtown Manhattan.
Currently, the 102nd floor has higher walls – but the management of the ESB vows to have it renovated as soon as possible to make it more wheelchair-friendly.
- Rockefeller Center
As an iconic place, many tourists would want to visit this complex built during the 1930s, too. Fortunately for people with disabilities, the 47-50 St. subway station going to Rockefeller Center is fully accessible to people in a wheelchair. On top of that, there is an elevator along the northwest corner of 49th Street and Sixth Avenue that can take you up quicker and easier.
- Top of the Rock
Same as the Empire State Building, this high-rise observatory located at Rockefeller Plaza conforms with the ADA which means people riding their wheelchair can easily enjoy the 360-degree view of New York.
It has tour guides who are trained to accommodate every single visitor to the best of their abilities. In fact, they have tour routes that are uniquely tailored to the needs of people in wheelchairs. Comfort rooms are also fully accessible, as well as every single entrance which has power-assist doors.
Overall, the administration of Top of the Rock vows to deliver equally breathtaking experiences to all visitors, riding wheelchairs or not.
NYC Accessibility as a Whole
Because of its popularity among tourists, these places have established a specific code of conduct when it comes to attending to visitors with special needs. The best part is that the New York City government has also developed the Citywide Accessible Dispatch Service, a program with a goal to help people riding wheelchairs tour the five boroughs of the Big Apple with as much ease as everyone else.