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Stroke of Luck - traveling when physically challenged in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 4/16/2009 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Marion Guild and close friend

>>  If you've always been an active person and now find yourself physically and possibly mentally slowed down because of age, stroke, or other energy-draining ailments, a trip to New York might be the best medicine for restoring confidence in your own ability and renew your interests in life.

With a little clever planning, New York can become a very doable city for anyone, whether physically challenged or not. Here are a few tips:

  • Become familiar with the city by making a list of the places you would like to visit or revisit, but don't just rely on guide books. Check out the daily and weekly papers, as well as websites of event providers. When you tour, stick to seeing the things on your list, rather than roaming around aimlessly.

  • A challenged person should not travel alone. Encourage a friend or relative to become a fellow-traveler by offering to pay a larger share of expenses, such as all public transportation costs and maybe some meals. In return, a fellow traveler can take charge of the Travel Expense envelope which contains money for incidentals. This allows you time to board a bus or subway safely and not have to fumble with your purse for fare, or ask directions from someone you can't hear distinctly.

  • Make sure you purchase a Metrocard, which you can buy at any subway station. You must use a Metrocard or correct change when boarding a bus; no exceptions! All cabs, fortunately, let you to pay by credit or ATM card, as well as by cash. Tip the driver in cash.

  • Before leaving home, be sure to pack lightly, but with medical necessities in ample supply. Clothing should be practical and comfortable.

  • A necessity that perhaps you've never thought of before is a fold-up cane. Commonly available in the local drugstore, a fold up cane fits snugly into a carry-on or shopping bag. Even if you don't always need one, the cane serves to visually send a message that you may need assistance (without you ever saying a word), and, of course, it can also be used for support when your back or legs begin to ache. While Manhattan isn't known for kind strangers, if you do, indeed, have difficulties negotiating subway stairs or busy street corners, you'll be surprised at how many people offer to help, even though they can see that you are doing your best to move along on your own.

  • Manhattan is a compact metropolis with many major attractions within walking distance of each other. North-south blocks are short, while east-west blocks are long, but wherever you stroll, the sights along the way are always magnificent. Be sure to bring binoculars and travel maps so you don't miss a thing.

  • Cabs and busses are readily available for shorter stints. Save the subway for longer trips, such as out to Coney Island. Although subways save time by traveling under the congested streets, consider their stairways! Escalators and elevators are rare and when they are available, they may be out of service. If it is truly difficult for you to go up or down several flights, avoid subways altogether.

  • Remember to renew your spent energy. Start your day early and end it early. A good time to return to your lodgings is before darkness falls.

  • Save late night dining for home town enjoyment. When you are in New York, dine at noon and attend theater matinees.

  • Feel tired? Relax in your hotel room for a day. It is not necessary for you to be on the go every moment. Of course, when the weather is nice, spend your time in Central Park where there is ample seating and numerous hot dog vendors. If you find yourself in Midtown or other popular areas, make note of where large hotels are located. The public lobbies of grand buildings are always interesting and, of course, they provide great places to sit and relax

Yes, while it may take you longer than the average tourist to get around New York City, what better way to use your time?

Marion Guild
Marion Guild is a historian and avid world traveler who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Article by Marion Guild. Stroke of luck! First published on 4/16/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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