Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as a Wheelchair User

Why New York?

We all recognise from the movies the lovely Lady Liberty, Empire State Building and the frantic feel of Times Square in New York. A big yellow taxi zooms by as you make your way down to the subway. Street music, a trip to Broadway for a show or an open top bus tour around this great city are all the typical attractions for visitors to the city. But what about getting around if you are using a wheelchair?


Booking your trip

You are probably well versed in making travel arrangements to cater for your accessibility challenges but if you are not sure, remember to check that your booking providers are aware of any necessary provisions for you.

An exciting city by any means, New York is set to delight visitors yet many wheelchair users pass on the opportunity to holiday here. I think the scale and pace of the city rustle and bustle turns people off but fear not, New York is very wheelchair friendly.


Ellis Island

The Great Hall on Ellis Island at one time had queues of immigrants from all over the world, speaking in foreign languages as they waited to be processed.

Over 12 million immigrants came to America through this island, once America’s chief gateway in the period of 1892 to 1924. At present, over 100 million American citizens claim their ancestral roots to these immigrants who traversed Ellis Island before scattering throughout America.


Statue of Liberty

The statue was actually gifted by the French to America and is widely known to symbolise freedom and democracy. October 28, 1886 was when the statue was gifted to the country and in 1924, it was named as a National Monument. Since 1933, employees of the NPS have been caring for its copper.

Only in recent years has the Statue of Liberty become wheelchair accessible, after a year of renovations at the site. These renovations included the installation of new staircases and an elevator for wheelchair users wishing to visit the observation points.


Getting around New York by Wheelchair

It is very possible for wheelchair users to get around NYC, as some subway stations have elevators and/or ramps and there are plenty of wheelchair accessible taxis available. You can even pre-plan your subway trips by checking out the accessibility guide on the website.

Many wheelchair users would opt to take buses around the city instead as most of them have automated ramps, allowing easily boarding.


Wheelchair Friendly

As you can see, prior to your trip, New York is a lot more wheelchair friendly than you might think. But once you land in the city, discover how easy it is to get around, whether by taxi, subway or on a bus. Public transport in general is very good and on time. Enjoy everything this great city has to offer.