Access in New York city

super shuttle

My flight over from Heathrow to John F Kennedy Airport with Virgin Atlantic was smooth until we reached JFK airport. The engineer at Heathrow airport had, for some reason, detached the batteries and the chair would not charge up. None of the engineers at JFK knew how to get into it to reattach the batteries. I had to find the manual online to show them and after an hour they finally figured out how to get into it to attach the chair.


But the super shuttle turned out fine and got me to the Hampton Inn hotel in good time.

photo of 2 double beds
Hampton Inn UN
Hampton Inn bathroom
Hampton Inn bathroom/shower

I was invited to share a room at Hampton Inn UN which is within a spitting distance of the UN. This hotel has an electric door and has total level access. It had an accessible room with 2 beds and wet room. They lowered the bed for my room mate. The service is excellent with breakfast included and hot drinks on offer all day. It included a business centre and free printing. There were free cookies everyday at reception. I really appreciated the generous number of power sockets next to the bed. This is very helpful when there were wheelchairs and mobile devices which needed charging.

I ve also shared another hotel Pod 39 a few blocks away. Access for wheelchair is through a ramp from the cafe. While the staff is very friendly and amicable, it does mean having to wait for their attention and standing outside to catch their attention. However, breakfast is not included, there is no access to hot drinks except at the bar. There was no shower stool when I arrived and upon requests they offered a small round stool. There was no grab bar, the water ran very hot and cold without warning, and nothing to to put soap, towels etc within reach. Upon more requests they found me a shower chair.

Hotel ramp
Hotel ramp
Pod hotel shower
Pod Hotel shower
Double bed at Pod 39
Double bed at Pod 39

Although I did not manage to use the public transport (due to the lack of time) there I was told that buses were all accessible and some of the subways – such as at the Grand Central. (I asked the concierge at the hotel for help).
I did use the accessible taxis which were great. And there is an app to help you order them but it was easy enough to hail them from the intersections.

Accessible taxi
Accessible yellow cab
accessible yellow cab with ramp
accessible yellow cab with ramp




Being interviewed on out-of-action lifts at accessible London Tube stations

at Euston Station photo with permission from Alex Lentati
at Euston Station photo with permission from Alex Lentati

Lianna at Transfort for All asked me if I was willing to be interviewed about my experiences of out of action lifts at Tube stations in London one evening – interview to be about 7am the next morning. I gulped and said yes – its a bit early! here is the article in the Evening Standard by Joe Watts. Photos were taken later in the afternoon by Alex Lentati.

my bit –

‘They don’t realise importance of making stations accessible’

Eleanor Lisney, a wheelchair user who lives in North Greenwich, has had problems with lifts three times in the last year.

The worst incident occurred at Westminster. She said: “It was more frightening because it was unexpected. My chair was low on battery and I was scared that I may not have enough power to get home.

“I can’t just trundle off to Waterloo and it’s very hard to get a taxi. You could become stuck.

“Luckily a friend went in and found a member of staff, who took me around a back way to a lift that was only used by workers.”

Ms Lisney, 56, added: “The London Bridge lift for the Jubilee Line is closed until August. It’s really annoying because I like going to Borough Market.”

Lisney, who is studying for her PhD, said: “It feels like sometimes they don’t realise the importance of making the Tube accessible.

“It’s hard enough that so many stations are not step-free. But when the accessible ones are also put out of action it makes life very difficult.”

Read the rest at