If getting around New York seems overwhelming, a good start to your visit may be booking an Apple Greeter. Apple Greeters are volunteers who know and love New York. They are keen to share their slice of the Big Apple with visitors and the service is free (yes, I did say free).
Our Apple Greeter Coreen was waiting for us in the lobby of our hotel on our first morning in New York. She started by giving us an introduction to the city and herself. She came armed with maps of the bus system and the city for us to keep and we headed out for the day.
First stop was to buy our weekly metro tickets which would give us unlimited rides on the buses and the subway for 7 days. We then spent the day with her using the bus system to get around. We caught the Staten Island Ferry which gave us our first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. We then walked through the financial district which is her favourite area of the city.
The Apple Greeter program has an accessible option which involves a local wheelchair user guiding a visitor who also uses a wheelchair around an area of the city. This gives a visitor with a wheelchair a great opportunity to learn the best way to have an accessible holiday in New York. We requested this service but unfortunately due to a glitch our booking was not received. Coreen filled in last minute to ensure we could still experience the Apple Greeter hospitality.
To book go to – http://bigapplegreeter.org/what-is-the-access-program/
- Book as early as possible as this is a volunteer service and therefore runs according to the availability of volunteers.
- Be specific as to which areas of the city you are interested in visiting. If you would like to be shown how to use the subway or bus system by your greeter put this on your application.
- If you have time restrictions, make this apparent as well. Coreen stayed with us from 10-2.30pm but each greeter and experience will be different.
- Optional – Apple Greeters are not permitted to accept tips or payments. We took a little gift bag with a book on Australia, a Sydney book mark and some Tim Tams for our greeter. The greeters are volunteers so it was not expected but Coreen did seem to appreciate the gesture and it is nice to share a little of Australia in return.
It was a lovely start to our stay in New York seeing the city through the eyes of a New Yorker. Coreen was happy to answer my questions and was really sweet and helpful. When we parted we felt confident about getting around the city for the rest of the week.