Offbeat New York

Travelers With Disabilities

New York City's public buses are equipped with lifts so that wheelchair users can travel anywhere in the city. Individual door-to-door paratransit service is available for people unable to use public bus or subway service. Subway stations contain elevators, ramps, visual display signs, accessible public telephones, and tactile and audio features on vending machines; passengers with disabilities pay reduced fares on most trips. Note that not every subway station is accessible.

Many theatrical productions and musical performances have discounts for people with physical disabilities, with tickets available through individual theater box offices or through the Tele-Charge Access Services hotline.

For the hearing impaired community, Hands On! a New York-based service organization offers interpreters for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, a monthly cultural calendar of accessible events, and links of interest to the Deaf community.

Mayorís Office for People with Disabilities (212/788-2830) will send the book Access New York free of charge to people who inquire via telephone. The 100-page large-type book provides resources and specific accessibility reviews for cultural institutions, theaters, nightlife and sports venues, and tours.

Theatre Development Fund's Theatre Access Project offers open caption and sign interpreted performances for many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, and also arranges wheelchair access. Discount tickets are available for open captioned and sign interpreted Broadway and Off Broadway shows as well as for those who require special access. Call 212/221-1103, TTY 212/719-4537.

For outdoor lovers, the New York City Parks & Recreation Department provides special seating and parking access to many events in parks citywide, in addition to a system-wide network of recreation centers with pools and gyms in all the boroughs.

Visitors looking for a personalized orientation to NYC need only to call Big Apple Greeter (212/669-8159, 212/669-3602, TTY 212/669-8273). With more than ten years of experience, the organization has connected more than 30,000 visitors with its 500 volunteer residents (Greeters) for free visits to New York City neighborhoods. Special-interest expertise including foreign languages, NYCís boroughs and their hidden gems, and accessibility issues. Reservations required (three weeks ahead).

Additional Resources
AT&T Relay Operator: Voice: 800/421-1220 or 711; TTY 800/662-1220

MTA Ė Metropolitan Transit Authority. Provides information about NYC public transportation, 718/596-8585, TTY 718/596-8273 and Access-a-Ride (646/252-5252, TTY 718/722-4403) services. For NYC subway maps in Braille, call the MTA at 718/330-3322.

New York City Sports Commission, 877/NYC-SPORTS. Information on accessible sports leagues, associations, and venues.

Scoot Around 888/441-7575, email Wheelchair and scooter rentals. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Travel Information Center Hearing Impaired Visitors TTY 718/596-8273

The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH), 212/447-7284. Provides extensive educational and resource material to expand travel opportunities not only in New York, but also worldwide.

Tele-Charge Access Services, 212/239-6222. Sells theater and other performance tickets for people with special needs.

The has been based on information prepared by NYC & Company, the city's official tourism marketing organization.
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