mobility-challenged in NYC

Aug 25th, 2007, 06:56 AM
  #1  
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mobility-challenged in NYC

Once again, I come to this board for help....

Let me try to make this as short as possible...

A family member, who is not in the best of health, with significant mobility issues, continues to say that her "dream" before she dies is to go to NYC and see the end-of-season NASCAR parade through Manhattan -- oh, and she also wants to see a show, as well!

I usually just totally reject this idea, thinking " there's no way she could do New York - -- she walks so slow and has no stamina". But, increasingly, as she would talk about going to NYC, I began to feel terribly self-centered and selfish, because basically, I am just saying "nah...I don't want to make the effort to see if we can pull this off....because if I go to NYC, I want to do what I want to do."

So, now two other family members and I have agreed to make the trip to NYC to see the end-of-season NASCAR parade on November 28 !! I am definitely NOT a fan and really know no details at all about this. I mean, what is NASCAR anyway? A bunch of cars just drive for a really long time around a track until someone wrecks? Beats me....

I am trying to keep this post short....but not doing a very good job.

We have our room reservations. We are staying in a Marriott property in the Meadowlands area in NJ.

Now, before you all write "you don't want to stay in New Jersey" let me say that my daughter and I stayed at the new Residence Inn there two months ago, and we were very pleasantly surprised with the stay. I meant to come back and post about it, but I never got around to it. Briefly -- we arrived on Friday evening and decided not to go to the city that night. We had an EXCELLENT dinner at Tina Louise, which was very close to the hotel. The hotel was not new, but it was quite clean and more than adequate. The the bus ride into Manhattan was said to be 15 minutes, and it was exactly that. We spent the day in the city and went to see "The Lion King" that night. My only complaint is that it was somewhat unpleasant to walk through Port Authority late at night, with most of the vendors closed, and lots of construction detours. But, again, the bus ride was 15 minutes back to our hotel. The area is NOT unsafe or unpleasant, and I easily drove there myself (I would not be willing to drive to a hotel in Manhattan.) The next morning, we had breakfast at Panera Bread and enjoyed driving around the area. Not sure why, but I thought it was kind of charming.

Anyway.....the point of this post is to ask if it is common to take a taxi into the city from the Meadowlands area? The actual mileage is something like 6 miles. We would be going into the city on Wednesday the 28th. My cousin walks with a cane and has trouble with steps. She is willing to try the bus, but if there are four of us, it seems to me that a taxi might be a reasonable choice.

This post is getting much too long -- the items I need help with are:

1. What are the options for getting into Manhattan from this area?
2. Any suggestions about visiting the city with someone who doesn't walk well (and don't be MEAN! I realize that we will probably be sitting in little corner restaurants a lot, watching people go by. My cousin does not use a wheelchair.
3. Does anyone know anything about this NASCAR parade and where it is exactly? (How embarrassing -- as I said, I am not a fan)
4. Any suggestions about the best theaters for someone who doesn't do stairs well?

After re-reading this list, I find myself getting a little discouraged. This whole thing may be just a bad idea. But, we've already committed to it.

And please -- no comments about "don't stay in Jersey". I think we all would rather take the $350/night we would spend at a Manhattan hotel and spend it on a fantastic dinner. Cousin is on a tight budget, so the $159/night we will be paying is perfect for her. And, as I said, daughter and I stayed in this area two months ago and were pleasantly surprised with how smoothly it went.

Thanks ya'll!!!

Vicki
vickib2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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Ok, before you jump all over me, PLEASE reconsider stayin in NJ, it really is not worth the time, extra travel time and extra travel expense. The cabs into Manhattan will be expensive, since NJ cabs can't go back with a fare, so figure that a cab will run you $60 from NJ into the city, not cheap.

There are so many hotels in the city and if you look around you can find a good deal.

Try the www.hotelgrandunion.com which is on E 32nd St. Very good rates there, and you are close to everything.

Also check www.hotels.com for more suggestions on hotels and you also might try www.priceline.com.

Late at night the buses are few and far between, because they are mainly for commuters working in Mahnhattan during the day.

Also if your Cousin is a bit challenged, staying in NJ, you can't go back to the hotel easily and relax between site seeing/dinner/theatre.

For site seeing, I'd suggest the bus that you can take all over the city, that way you can sit and watch the city go by. Also the Grand Union Hotel is very close to the Empire State Building which is where the tour bus starts.

I didn't know that NASCAR was doing a parade here, but since there is a major parade here all the time I'm not surprised. Most parades go down 5th Ave starting in the 50s to the 80s depending on how long the parade is. If you Cousin has problems walking and standing you might bring a folding chair for her comfort.

travelbuff is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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I'm a New Yorker and I never heard of this NASCAR parade thing. I know what NASCAR is, so it's strange it would be in NYC - a place that, in general, really doesn't care about such things. Guess the sponsors are trying to get us to care?

As far as staying in NJ - if your family member is mobiity challenged, why make her/him so much more tired schleppimg around like that? You can find rooms in NYC for less thatn $350.
kenav is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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OH, ALSO, COMING INTO NY from the Meadowlands via taxi - if you're gong to be doing this in the mornings on weekdays, remember rush hour and the insane traffic going into NYC and then the same going back in the evening.
kenav is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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I have never taken a taxi or car from NJ into NY, but why not get a price quote from Carmel or Dial 7 and see what you're dealing with? I suspect it will be at least as much as to from Newark airport-- $60 or more.
Nascar parade: here's a picture from last year, It looks like those cars are just parked in front of Madison Sqaure Garden. I think I remember seeing some cars there last year, but it was no parade...
http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/11/2...-this-morning/
nyer is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Thanks for the picture....now I understand more about it and why my cousin didn't have more details, although she kept calling it a "parade". I've been searching and searching for more information and what I come up with is the winning cars come to NYC for the end-of-season NEXTEL banquet at the Waldorf=Astoria, and at some point during the day they all drive those cars through Manhattan, which makes me wonder how in the world are we going to know what time they are coming through??
*sigh*
Vicki
vickib2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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I had never heard of the NASCAR parade and have spent some time looking for info for this year's details to NO avail. Here's some info from last year that may or may not be repeated this year.
http://gothamist.com/2006/11/29/mind_the_moving.php

Taxis between anywhere in New Jersey EXCEPT Newark airport and NYC are just not done. I have no idea how much a NJ taxi would charge. NY taxis are not required to accept a fare to NJ (except to the airport) and are free to set a price of their choosing if they do.

The fact that you had a good experience at the Residence Inn (which I can't find listed on tripadvisor) doesn't mean all the hotels in/near there are the same OR that whatever bus you used is handicapped accessible. The buses IN Manhattan are ALL wheelchair/handicap kneeling buses. I suggest you read this review
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ew_Jersey.html

1) njtransit.com will have transport options if you use their trip planner and have the address of the hotel. There is a train station called Secaucus Junction where trains would take you to Penn station but I'm not sure this option is any better or easier.

2) Limotours.com might be a good way to see the city.

3)see above

4) Virtually ALL Broadway theaters have ways of accomodating wheelchair bound people. Given your situation, you might want to consider renting a wheelchair for your stay or at least for some parts of it. Falk Drug on east 72 st is the one place I know that rents wheelchairs for short term use.
259 E 72nd St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-8080

There's a volunteer organization called Big Apple Greeters that shows visitors around NYC. They also have an "access program" info here
http://bigapplegreeter.org/03-what_i...is_access.html

You might want to contact them about your NJ/NYC transport question but I for one think think it's a crazy idea. For a once in a lifetime visit to NYC for someone who wants to see NYC, staying in suburban NJ that looks like anywhere USA just doesn't cut it, imo.
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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I understand where you're coming from, but here are my thoughts:

One can totally do NYC even if one is slow and has no stamina. NYC is not filled with young fillies who run around with energy galore, because not everyone peruses the Starbucks on every corner (which contrary to popular belief is not a coffee relay post). Bus drivers in NYC are used to handling people with all sorts of handicaps.

You say you're staying in the Meadowlands. You're there right at the start of the holiday season. Your once 15 minute ride into the city will easily become a 60+ minute ride. This is something to consider, especially since taxis here are metered. And you're leaving city limits. Any fare incurred once you leave city limits is to be doubled since the taxi cannot pick up fares in NJ. Plus there's that pesky issue of tolls.

In any case, I would suggest you look at the Meadowland's calendar of events for your dates of stay. Any event listed will significantly increase your travel time. Even Disney events. http://preview.tinyurl.com/23zqpc

I would ask that you seriously consider your options and stay in NYC. Or at the very least change your location to Jersey City. At least you will be along the PATH train route, and might have a nice view of the city. But before you do that, please take travelbuff's advice and give Priceline or Hotwire a try. If that's not an option, then it's fair that you know what you're coming up against ahead of time.

As for theaters that are easily accessible for those with walkers/canes, well, unless you're willing to shill out big bucks to be on the ground floor area, all the "cheap" seats will require steps that can be a little harrowing. At least they were for me. Note that there aren't cheap seats in NYC theaters anymore, but in most theaters, all seats are good seats. And if you want truly cheap seats, I'd suggest standing in line at the TKTS (has the one in Times Square finished construction?) It's pretty much hit or miss, but the tickets are half price, and you can get pretty awesome deals.

I, too, didn't know there was a NASCAR parade in NYC. I learn new things every day.

And please don't be so defensive about your cousin's disability. I find it disappointing. It's really not a big deal here in NYC. I know. My mother also needs a cane, is slow, and doesn't have the stamina she used to. And there's no where she can't go if she wants to go. I would suggest taking breaks at the aforementioned Starbucks or any cafe you stumble upon for your cousin's quick breaks.

Besides, the trip is as fun as you want it to be. Keep an open mind, even about NASCAR parades. You'll have fun. There's nothing like the holiday season in NYC.
mcnyc is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Since it seems that this is not a parade in the traditional sense of the word, I would go to Nascar website, use "contact us" option and ask them best way to see this event. I know they have travel packages to races, so perhaps they have some sort of package to this as well.
gail is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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My friend took her mother who is late 80's to NYC recently. She gets around OK for a short period of time but can't really do stairs etc. They stayed in the city and just used taxis to go most places unless it was a short walk.

Really listen to the advice of everyone who says don't stay in NJ. That situation was fine for you and your daughter as you could get around easily and just hop on the bus. But that is not the case with your cousin. Besides the mobility issue, there is also the matter of some down time. You said you and your daughter spent the day in the city and then went to a show at night. That would be a terribly long day for someone who is not in the best of health. With a hotel room in the city, you could do some sightseeing using taxis and then your cousin could rest up a little before the show.

I think it is wonderful that you are doing this for your family member but it will be a more enjoyable experience if you don't have to deal with transit from NY to Manhattan. Also, if you are still not convinced, look into taxi and car fares from NJ, and add those into the cost. I think you will find that if will be just as economical to stay in Manhattan once all costs are added together. If you are concerned about the cost of the hotel room for your cousin, look into the Affinia hotels where you could all share the cost of a suite.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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To keep costs down - have you thought about Brokly? Downtown Brooklyn is easy cab ride away from Manhattan. Or subway.

Saw this place - Don't know what floor the bedrooms are on and if that would be a problem for your relative. It's in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood - great real neighborhood with locals shops and restaurants. Safe. (I used to live there.)

www.saintsandsinnersbedandbreakfast.com
kenav is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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meant to say NJ to Manhattan.

Once more question. Where are you coming from? It sounds like you are driving since you mentioned having a car to park in NJ? Would it be possible to take the train into NYC so you wouldn't have to deal with a car and the cost of parking?
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Here is the website for the event

http://www.nascar.com/promos/championship/

If this is what she wants to do, then this is what you will do. Despite all your instances, you should listen to people in the know and not stay in the Meadowlands. As others have said, it's fine for you to be hopping on and off the bus or traipsing through Port Authority, but it's not the same for someone with mobility issues. And taking taxis will quickly eat up any cost-savings you experience from staying in Jersey.

I'd also suggest trying to rent a wheelchair. If your family member is resistant, remind her that it will actually make her experience better, your experience better, and will give you access to places and things because of the mere fact that you have the wheelchair. And she will want to sit and there aren't always places to sit in NYC, so why not have one with you.
MikeT is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Another thing to do is to get handicapped placard - usually from Motor Vehicle agency - in your state. They are transferrable state to state and if you end up driving somewhere opens up your parking options.
gail is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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All I've been able to find about this NASCAR "parade" - of which I've never heard - is that last year 10 top drivers - their cars plastered with ads, drive a short distance in midtown Manhattan. Not something I would walk a block to see - never mind trek to New York - with or without mobility issues. And it would seem to last about 10 minutes. (There are no NASCAR races in New York - and it's not a big sport in this area - part of the reason for this "parade" is to try to build support for a track on Staten Island - which many local people are fighting.

Before going a lot further with this I would get as much info as possible and talk to your relative. I certainly wouldn;t want him/her to make this long trip and be disappointed. I would think actually going to a race would be much more exciting/ interesting to a fan of the sport.

Separately, taking taxis or car service to and fro the Meadowlands will be expensive - as noted above. You should contact the hotel in New Jersey for names of taxi companies - and find out what they will charge. It will be extremely difficult to get a NCY taxi to take you back to the Meadowlands (they don;t have to take trips outside the city) so you will have to arrange for a car service to take you back. You can arrange specific time/place in advance or call when ready to leave - but realize you may have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for a car. Check web sites of Dial 7 and Carmel for info on prices.

Finally, for someone who can;t walk any distance comfortably you should really consider renting a wheel chair in NYC - where you have to walk to get anywhere. A foldable one would fit in the trunk of a taxi - and all city buses are equipped with rising platforms and special areas for people using wheelchairs.

I won;t try to talk you into staying in Manhattan - even though in these circumstances it makes a huge amount of sense - since you seem determined not to. Just realize that transport to and fro the city will be more than $100 per day - perhaps well more.

As for Broadway shows - generally there are not steps for the orchestra - so I think you'll have to spring for those tickets versus balcony.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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If you're driving from MD, consider the Travel Inn hotel, the only one in Manhattan with free parking. A double double (or any other size) at that time is $250/night plus tax. The Park South has a double double or a queen for $239 plus tax as does the Dylan. (on quikbook.com)
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Vicki-I was just rereading your original post and I am sure that you are disappointed at all of us have told you not to stay in NJ particularly because you asked us not to.

But your question really had to do with mobility issues and so we are answering your questions with concern for your cousin. If this is your cousin's dream, you really want to make it the best experience you can. Long days going back and forth to the Meadowlands would be trying and tiring even for those without health issues.

I was looking back at your post in June where you were asking about staying at a Marriott in New Jersey. On that thread, one poster gave you a list of alternatives if you really just don't want to stay in Manhattan. I believe they suggested Jersey City where the ferry or the PATH subway would make it easy to get into the city. Don't know if you have priced those hotels but this might be an alternative. The main reason I am mentioning this is because you were concerned about driving into Manhattan. I think it was Cicerone who said that the Courtyard in Jersey City has free parking so check into that. But really if you are only staying one night, spring for a suite where you can all stay.

Just checked the affinia website. For the night you want, they have a one bedroom suite for $367 plus tax at the Shelburne Murray Hill. This is a separate bedroom with two beds plus a sofa bed in the living room. Don't know how many of you are going but if you split this between 3 of you that's $122 plus tax per person. Sounds good to me. This is the prepaid nonrefundable rate.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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No, I'm not upset with suggestions about staying in the city rather than NJ, because I know that you are right. I'm just trying to please the other two family members who are going by finding a reasonably priced place to stay. We will be staying TWO nights. Tuesday night, the 27th, and Wednesday night, the 28th.

Thanks to Gail for suggesting I go to NASCAR.com and ask for information. They sent me a link to a LIVE person (I was shocked!) who told me to go to Nascar.com, bottom of the page and click on something like "NNC champions week" and that gave me the info I was seeking. The "parade" is actually called the "Victory Lap" -- it is the 10 highest-winning cars of the year. NASCAR drivers will be hanging around Manhattan all that week (and last year appeared on Good Morning America) and hopefully my cousin will get to see SOMEone/something famous. I agree that the cars driving through the city pretty much seems like a non-event.

She also wants to go to a show -- preferably Jersey Boys or Curtains! That is another reason for this trip.

Thanks, McLaurie, for your suggestion to rent a wheelchair, as well as suggesting a location. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that!

There will be four of us making this trip, and we will be traveling by car.

Alright, you've convinced me....I need to spend some time at Quikbook to try to find a place to stay in the city. A friend stayed at the Milford Plaza and said that even though it is old, it is very clean and more than adequate, so I think I will look at that first....

Oh, I live in Baltimore, and the Baltimore Travel section today has an article about the new Pod Hotel, which is $89 a night....I'll have to take a look at it, although I believe he said the beds are bunk beds! hahah

Again, thanks for suggestions. They really do help so much. The family members who are making this trip with me think I am a New York City expert. : )

Vicki
vickib2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Have you looked at the Hotel Grand Union yet? The rooms are large by NY standards and the room will run you around $200nt. www.hotelgrandunion.com

The Travel Inn is also a good suggestion and is right off the West Side High Way and blocks away from the Lincoln Tunnel.

Also check www.hotels.com and www.hotwire.com for more hotel suggestions.

THe Pod is a budget hotel and not worth even looking at for 4 people.

You might check the Affinia Dumont on E 34th St, close to shopping, transportation (bus stops almost in front of the hotel), and lots of restaurants near by, some that will even deliver to the hotel.

Book soon, as November is in the high season, and hotels at a decent price are not easy to come by.
travelbuff is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:54 PM
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Vicki-I am glad you are considering staying in the city. Milford Plaza looks like its running $220 a night for a room with two double beds. That's a pretty good rate for that time of year. If you are getting two rooms, though (and I don't see four of your staying in one room at the Milford Plaza) then you 'd have a better deal at the Shelburne Murray Hill and it's a much nicer hotel.

It's difficult to get tickets to Jersey Boys unless you are willing to pay a premium price but Curtains has discounts on some of the websites and also has had tickets at TKTS.
paula1470 is offline  

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