For those who like to see the world more or less from a sitting position, look no further than New York City. From lazy afternoons filled with harbor cruises that provide jaw-dropping cityscapes to day-long bus tours for taking in the must-see sights, New York offers more than enough to do practically 24/7 without breaking a sweat.
For those with limited mobility, consider renting a motorized scooter from Scootaround that will be delivered and picked up at your hotel, if need be. More than 4,300 city buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts, have a “kneeling” feature that lowers the front entrance of the vehicle to within inches from the ground for easy access, and include priority seating for seniors right behind the driver.
We’ve put together some non-daunting, easy-schlepping suggestions for your three-day getaway to get you started.
Home Away From Home
We love the Marriott Marquis at 45th Street because not only is it conveniently located in the center of everything (read: very little walking) and filled to the gills with escalators for getting around, but also the staff will provide you some excellent service.
If you’ve got a bigger budget, the Ritz-Carlton Central Park on 59th Street is an ideal choice because they practically don’t let you lift a finger. You can’t beat the location (or the rooms with park views), and for those who need in-house pampering, they’ve got a terrific spa courtesy of La Prairie.
Sign up for a double-decker All Loops city tour with Gray Line Tours — which can, by the way, accommodate wheelchairs. Each loop (Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn, Night) is two to three hours, and your ticket is good for 48 hours.
For “Seinfeld” devotees, Kenny Kramer himself — who is the real Kramer after which the TV Kramer is modeled — takes fans to see Seinfeld sites by way of the Kramer Reality Tour. Highlights include munching on Junior Mints while passing Roosevelt Hospital, where in one episode the same kind of candy wound up sewn into someone’s operation, and stopping at Tom’s restaurant for picture-taking.
Sign up for the afternoon with On Location Tours (with advance notice, they’ll make sure the bus can accommodate a wheelchair) and you’ll visit famous sites that turn up on TV like Monica’s apartment building on “Friends,” the precint from “NYPD Blue” and the court steps on “Law & Order.” The “Sopranos” tour takes you over the state line into New Jersey for a peek inside the Bada Bing and a stop at Father Phil’s parish.
After all that touring, head back to your hotel for a little R & R before dinner at the hotel restaurant (The View at the Marriott or BLT Market at the Ritz-Carlton).
Take a cab to Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street to the Paley Center for Media. The museum is best known for its enormous video and audio library — there are more than 100,000 radio and television programs as well as famous commercials available for listening and viewing. You can watch “I Love Lucy” episodes to your heart’s content or look up more obscure relics of pop culture. The museum also hosts seminars and screenings followed by discussions led by performers, journalists, critics and artists.
Follow the visit up with a splendid lunch practically next door at the 21 Club. Hire a car and driver to take you shopping all over town because he’ll not only take you to the front door, but he’ll also carry all the shopping bags … or you can spend the rest of the afternoon at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Avenue Club, where you will receive undivided attention in a well-appointed private room (in a comfy chair, of course) while a private shopper gathers selections for you so you won’t have to bother roaming from one floor, department or check-out counter to the next.
Finish off the evening with dinner at Gallagher’s Steak House.
Start your day with a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan Island. This three-hour scenic sightseeing cruise includes up-close looks at seven major bridges as well as the Statue of Liberty.
After you debark from your cruise, enjoy a seafood lunch a few blocks away at Esca — a little slice of Southern Italy in the New York theater district.
Spend the afternoon at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where you can check out two vintage naval vessels: the USS Intrepid, a 1940’s aircraft carrier, and the USS Growler, a submarine. The museum also has a great collection of Cold War aircraft.
Or take a cab or public transit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s finest art collections. Highlights include a living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a spectacular collection of Egyptian art and the famous “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze.
If you opted for the Sea, Air & Space Museum this afternoon, enjoy a delightful dinner at nearby db Bistro Moderne. From renowned chef Daniel Boulud (of Daniel’s), this bistro’s menu is a less expensive way to enjoy his spectacular talents.
If you chose to spend your afternoon at the Met, eat dinner at Brasserie Julien, where the atmosphere is warm and romantic and the fresh mussels are divine.
–written by Lauren Price