Q: Hello Peter. I have always loved the excitement and charm of New York City but have not been back to visit since I graduated to a wheelchair 13 years ago. I suffer from multiple sclerosis. My husband and I would like to go there for a getaway to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I see that hotels have accessible rooms, but I'd also consider renting an accessible condo for 5-7 days.
With the downturn of the economy, I understand rental rates are cheaper, and that even getting Broadway tickets might be less costly for physically challenged people. Also, if I rented an electric chair, I would likely need to use chair-accessible cabs (with ramps) or a limo service should my husband and I need a driver due to inclement weather or to reach areas further away from our accommodation.
–Linda Slavin, Longboat Key, Fla.
A: New York is a surprisingly accessible city in terms of transport for wheelchair-bound people. The city operates an accessible dispatch system for taxicabs. Passengers simply call 311 to arrange a pickup, and the dispatcher connects them with the closest available driver with an appropriate vehicle. You can also go with a private cab company, such as A Ride For All (718-706-7433), which operates a fleet of vehicles equipped to pick up wheelchair users 24/7, and at affordable rates. Other private car services also have wheelchair-accessible vehicles, though their whole fleets are not necessarily composed of such cars.
And you are correct that tickets to some Broadway shows are offered at significant discounts to the disabled. The Theater Development Fund's Accessibility Program (TAP) offers orchestra-level tickets for 50 percent off, if you become a member. It's free to join, but membership requires evidence of eligibility. You can sign up online. If you would like to see a show that isn't offered through TAP, you'll have to contact the box office directly and inquire about designated wheelchair areas and prices. Most Broadway theaters are wheelchair-accessible.