Since the Peer Support Program received great feedback on the Accessibility at Museums article, written by Nicole and Tasha, I thought: wait a minute – New York was equally amazing!
This was a bucket list city for me. I’ve been to Europe, Asia, South America, and more – but this city has always eluded me. Finally, it happened. My feet stood on New York soil and I stood in Madison Square Garden with my jaws gaping open like a typical first-time New York tourist.
As the city that literally never sleeps, there is SO much to do. More impressive was the amount of access that I had as a hard of hearing person. I always felt like I was part of everything, not just ‘part of something’, but EVERYTHING. Let me give you a few examples.
When in New York, you must…
Go and see a Broadway show!
We went to see Chicago (because it was the cheapest one we could find without breaking the bank). They have a fabulous app called GalaPro for approximately 80% of their shows – we simply logged onto the building’s WiFi, downloaded the app and had live captioning for the show. Admittedly, there were occasions when it either lagged behind or skipped a bit too far. There’s always room for improvement. If requested far enough in advance, you could get ASL interpreters in!
Do the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Tour
Probably one of the highlights of our trip. We were fortunate enough to do the Crown and Pedestal tour of the statue. While the statue wasn’t fully accessible, there was PLENTY of signage around to explain what was going on, etc. Ellis Island, however. That was quite something. They had an amazing museum set up, my husband and I (both hard of hearing) tried out the audiophones (free of charge). Even as a person who has trouble using the phone, I found it quite easy to follow! All their ‘showcase’ videos are captioned, and it added more to the experience.
The World Trade Museum Memorial
Undoubtedly, I bawled my eyes out several times in this memorial (only because I still remember the day 9/11 happened… there, I’ve just aged myself!). The WTM has an app called 9/11 Memorial Museum (highly recommend that you download it before you leave for NYC), and it provides captioning/ASL for all. It was here that I feel like I got the MOST well rounded experience… and it doesn’t hurt that I got to hear Robert DeNiro’s voice for an entire afternoon.
The Museum of Natural History
Not to be done in one day – impossible! I think we only covered 70% of it. A memorable experience was viewing “An Evening in the Cosmos” (Space show) narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson (what an awesome voice he has!) using Captioning glasses. Because the show was held in a planetarium, it’s impossible to accommodate captioning unless you’re sitting in a specific seat. These glasses solved the problem for us. You can plan your accessible visit here at: https://www.amnh.org/plan-your-visit/accessibility
Take a walk around Central Park and Times Square
Pretty much the best spots to go and people watch. Nuff said. You may even get the odd opportunity to see buskers perform.
Eat all the food!!!
Not hard of hearing related, but DUDE. The food in New York has got to be some of the best culinary experience I’ve ever had. From hole in the wall restaurants to a $200 steakhouse… New York will not disappoint your salivary glands.
What other amazing experiences have you had recently? Share them below! What was amazing, and what was less than stellar?