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New York for the less mobile

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New York for the less mobile

Having booked a trip to New York for March a couple of months ago, I've just found out that what I thought was a pulled muscle in my leg is arthritis of the knee. I am so upset because, obviously, New York is a city which incurs a lot of walking and now I'm not going to be able to. I've already decided that maybe an organised bus trip is on the cards (instead of the subway?) but can anyone give me any advice as to an itinerary which might give me some short cuts in the walking department. I'm staying at at the Andaz hotel, opposite the Central Library. Is it really feasible for me to walk/hobble to the local tourist haunts from there? I'm thinking of a boat trip too, to see lots of things I won't be able to walk to. Any advice so that I can organise an itinerary for myself would be really helpful. The main places I want to see are:-

Top of the Rock

Statue of Liberty

9/11 Memorial

The usual shopping haunts

Times Square

John Lennon memorial in Central Park

Thanks in advance

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1. Re: New York for the less mobile

I have mobility issues also but have managed several trips to NYC and this year walked albeit very slowly with a stick over the Brooklyn Bridge. Buy yourself a 7 day bus pass for $29 then you can get on and off as many buses as you like.

You can catch the bus outside of the library down 5th avenue to the Empire State building and the usual shopping haunts and times square are very local too you. If you cannot walk far use the buses, they even go up to the Lennon memorial. The subway whilst excellent has a lot of steps at some stations and whilst we were there a lot of the escalators were out of use at some stations.

TOTR again is only a few blocks away from your hotel. You could walk through Bryant Park onto 6th Avenue and catch the bus down to Radio City and you will be at the TOTR. We used our tickets to death and as it was very cold when we were there it was wonderful. No-one cares if you only ride one block and the drivers always lowered the steps when I had my stick on bad leg and back days.

Have a wonderful time and if all else fails then hail a yellow cab. The city is amazing and if you take it slowly hoepfully your knee will be fine.

On a different note Duane Reed the chemist outlet sells amazing over the coounter arthritis pain relief tablets. I used them and they were great and they also helped with my daughters RA. Buy some you cannot get them in the UK and they are so much stronger than our pain killers.

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2. Re: New York for the less mobile

Thanks for all that advice Glenys - much appreciated

Belfast, United...
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3. Re: New York for the less mobile

Last time I went to New York I was on crutches with a painful bone disorder in my hip and you're right, it can be a complete nuisance when you physically aren't able to go as fast or as far as you would like. That said I still had a great trip.

Buses actually turned out to be great. I was still able to go (slowly) up and down the steps at subway stations but sometimes the closest subway station to my destination was still a few blocks away, which seems like forever when you're tired and sore. That's where buses (especially cross-town buses) came in extremely handy. Plus you can use the same Metrocard for buses and subway, so you can use whichever happens to be best for your situation at the time. There are bus maps on the MTA website, or if you zoom in close enough on Google Maps and click on the bus stops, it will show you which buses stop there.

You also mentioned a boat tour. We did a 3 hour Circleline tour around the whole of Manhattan on our last trip. It was fantastic to be able to rest for so long and still sightsee at the same time. Definitely recommended. The only small problem I had was waiting in the queue to board the boat for half an hour with no seating, but if you weren't fussy about where you wanted to sit on the boat you could arrive closer to the time the boat is due to set off instead of waiting in a long line.

TOTR was great too - if you get tired or sore standing while admiring the view there is an indoor area with plenty of seating where you can have a rest for a while.

There can be a bit of a line getting through security at the 9/11 Memorial and then there is a little bit of a walk around to the fountains but there are a few seats here and there to rest there too.

Central Park can be a bit tough for walking because it's so huge but the Imagine memorial is luckily very close to the entrance at 72nd street, which in turn is close to a bus stop for the M10, or the 72nd street subway station, whichever suits best.

There were plenty of other activities we did that didn't involve a lot of walking, e.g. going to an ice-hockey game, a broadway show, a recording of a TV show, bars, restaurants. It's just a matter of figuring out what you're comfortably able to do and then working around the tricky bits. Also everyone in New York was lovely to me. I'd been a bit worried about getting in everyone's way but as soon as they saw my crutches, people were eagerly showing me hidden elevators, moving me to front rows, or bringing me chairs to sit on while I was in long queues. Everybody was very sweet.

Even if you're not ordinarily reliant on a walking stick in your day to day life, it might be an idea to get hold of one before your trip and bring it with you just in case. No matter how well you plan you'll inevitably end up walking more than you thought you would and might need a bit of extra support after a few days. Plus, I know it sounds almost manipulative, but sometimes having visible evidence of an injury/disability makes people back off a bit and give you a little extra space, which can make all the difference in a busy city like New York, and especially in places like Times Square or Macy's where it's so busy and crowded.

Loch Arbour, New...
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4. Re: New York for the less mobile

Use buses or cabs to get around and don't try to do everything! Take time to sit and enjoy just being in the city.

Portland, Maine
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5. Re: New York for the less mobile

Look into buying a "sport seat."


They're three-legged stools that fold up to be used as a cane. Some years ago I hurt my back before a major trip, got one of these, and it was a godsend. It enabled me to unfold the seat and use it as a chair wherever and whenever I needed a rest. Just don't try this right in the middle of a busy New York sidewalk!

6. Re: New York for the less mobile

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