I moved to New York City in June last year and a lot of people were a little skeptical as to how I would make it here living with Friedreich’s Ataxia. I made it my personal goal to show myself and them that I could live here, and so far I’ve definitely exceeded that goal. I wanted to discover all of the different routes to travel around the city since I don’t have a car here (no one does!).
I’ve grown accustomed to hailing taxis, maneuvering onto buses and finding my way underground on the subway system. Traveling above ground is simple and easy, but sometimes longer because of traffic. Taking the subway makes me feel like a true “New Yorker” (even though I’m forever a Florida girl) so I tend to take the subway when I can.
The subway is tricky when you’re someone who tries to avoid stairs. Of over 500 subway stations, less than 100 have elevators. And that’s when those elevators are actually working.
On the hottest day of the summer, I took the subway to meet a friend for dinner in Chelsea. I checked MTA.com to see if the elevators at those stations were working, but somehow read it wrong (I was still new to the city!). I took the train down to 14th street only to find that the elevator was not working…. Let me remind you, this is the hottest day EVER and I am stuck two floors underground.
I had always wondered what would happen if I got stuck, but didn’t necessarily want to find out. I guess that day was today. After pressing the call button on the elevator, I was almost immediately connected to someone that could help. It was difficult to hear him over the speaker due to the other trains going through the station, but he said help was on the way.
It felt like I waited for an hour, but it was probably only 20-30 minutes. All of a sudden, a lot of firefighters started walking down the stairs to my rescue!! Some helped me walk up the stairs while the others carried my scooter up. When I finally got to the street, I realized they drove in their fire truck to come get me out of the subway!! #VIP
It’s great to know that there is a system set up to help people who use assistive devices up the stairs when the elevator is broken. New York may not be the most accessible place, but the people here are so nice and helpful. If you plan on visiting the city and would like any more tips on travel, let me know!