I mostly lurked on this forum for about 6 months asking only the occasional question. Y'all helped me plan an awesome trip and I just wanted to thank you by telling you about it.
DH and I have 3 sons, ages 9, 10 and 14. The oldest and youngest have a physical disability. The oldest walks on a daily basis but uses a wheelchair for distance. The youngest can only walk with crutches. Therefore we hit the big city with not just one, but two wheelchairs.
We stayed at the TRYP hotel on W 35th St. Back in the spring, I snagged a Travelzoo deal for a premium family room for $189/night. The room was HUGE and had TWO bathrooms. The hotel staff was terrific. Absolute score!
We drove into the city as we had been to Cooperstown for induction weekend and returned our rental near Penn Station. As advised, we utilized the city busses as our primary mode of transport. I used a city planner app as well as a bus checker app that showed the closest bus stop and a real time bus arrival schedule. We did take one subway ride, from Penn Station to Jay St in Brooklyn (both with working elevators) so the boys could experience it, and because getting there otherwise would have been long and convoluted. We left the city by Amtrak and used the Red Cap service which was wonderful.
We went to the Statue of Liberty, where DH and my 10 year old walked to the crown while the rest of us went to the pedestal. We had 9am ferry tickets and rode over on an almost empty ferry. DH said the walk up to the crown was not congested at all and they managed to be alone in the crown for a few minutes. He said it was "creepy", my 10 year old said it was "really cool". We also went to the Top of the Rock at 7:30 one evening to catch the day into night transformation. It was very busy and we had to buy these one day in advance as the original day we desired to go had sold out. We saw Wicked on Broadway and were able to purchase 4 of our tickets (disabled + companion x2) at a reduced rate. The boys loved the show. As mentioned, we made our way to Brooklyn in hopes of walking the bridge. It was pretty hot and muggy this day and the Jay St (accessible) subway station involved a fairly long walk. The only pedestrian access we found was up a steep flight of stairs. Though we were told that there was a bike path we could probably use to access the bridge, no one seemed to know exactly where it was. We opted to have yummy pizza at Julianna's, walk around the park and take in the views then went back to Midtown via the East River Ferry. We also visited Times Square, Discovery museum (Art of the Brick), the Met (WOW!), 9/11 memorial, and many Midtown stores (Nike, FAO Schwartz, Disney, Toys R Us, Dylans Candy Bar, Nintendo, Lego). We tried to go the AMNH but only had about 2 hours to spend and the ticket line was at least 30 minutes. We opted to spend those 2 hours in lovely Central Park instead.
The people of NYC were so kind and helpful. DH and I joked that it was almost as if they were trying to prove to the world how kind they could be. If we were coming out a door, people would stop or even backtrack on the street to open the door for us. We were escorted to every elevator at SOL, TOTR and Wicked. The bus drivers never acted as though we were a bother with our two wheelchairs to secure.
The only part of the trip that did not really go according to plan was the food. I had big dreams of eating at many of the recommended places from this forum, but with the kids, eating became more an exercise of convenience than taste. I had purchased restaurant.com certificates for our hotel restaurant, the Skylight diner and a small Italian restaurant and we did use them all. This helped our budget greatly, but nothing was especially delicious. I hope that DH and I can return alone for long weekend soon to make up for this!
Thanks again for all the excellent tips and advice! Please feel free to ask questions.