When we travelled to New York as a family we loved using the New York subway system. There are some challenges for wheelchair users. Not all the subway stations are accessible and the wait to use the elevators to get to and from the platforms can be frustrating, but in general we found the subway efficient and speedy most of the time. BJ, our transport lover, enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the crowds and riding the trains. When AJ and I returned to New York on our mother-daughter adventure we took great pride in mastering the subway system. The subway is such a way of life in New York, its only fitting there is a museum dedicated to the history of the subway with beautifully preserved subway cars, buses and trams from throughout the 20th century. If you have kids who love transport, or if you are a history buff, it’s well worth the trip to Brooklyn to check out the New York Transit Museum.
NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM – ACCESSIBLE NEW YORK
I’m so sorry we didn’t fit the New York Transit Museum into our itinerary on our visit as a family because BJ would have loved it. There’s simply never enough time to do everything in New York but AJ and I did pay the museum a visit when we travelled there again.
The New York Transit Museum is located in an authentic subway station which was decommissioned in 1936. Despite the historic nature of the museum, it is wheelchair accessible. Full access information is provided towards the end of this review.
The transportation on display gives visitors the chance to take a trip back in time through New York’s history, with the subway cars, design and even the advertising, giving a glimpse into an era long gone.
Some of the carriages show a more elegant era in train travel than that we experienced while moving around the city.
The New York Transit Museum if popular with photographers and those seeking the perfect Instagram picture on the subway. It’s certainly far less crowded than the regular subway and some of the subway cars are quite photogenic with their vintage features.
While adults enjoy the history and information, kids excitedly move between the cars on their own imaginative rail journeys.
There’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.
NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM ACCESSIBILITY
The New York Transit Museum is home to nationally-recognised access programs and is an impressive example of an attraction providing an experience which is accessible to all abilities.
Wheelchair access is provided to wheelchair users via a platform lift which is located at the entrance on the corner of Schermerhorn and Court Streets, in Downtown Brooklyn. Although there is a call button at the gate, it’s best to arrange access by phoning 718-694-1823 (Mon-Fri) or emailing a few days before your visit.
The New York Transit Museum is popular with school groups visiting on excursions (field trips) and I noticed several children using visual aids.
The museum offers a range of sensory-friendly tools including noise quieting headphones, a visual schedule, and list of quieter spaces.
A fantastic social story (social narrative) is available to help prepare for your visit. It provides images and information so visitors know what to expect.
For those preferring a quiet atmosphere, The New York Transit Museum advises the museum is quietest between 1-4 pm, Tuesday-Friday. Please note that weekends and holidays can be very crowded. A quiet room is offered during the museum’s Special Day program.
Wheelchair and walker access is provided to the popular bus where everyone boarding has imaginative play in mind.
Due to the historic nature of some of the subway trains, not all are wheelchair accessible but you can check out all the carriages on Google Maps.
A wheelchair accessible bathroom is available at the museum.
If you are travelling to New York in the future, along with the New York Transit Museum, we suggest you put a visit to Grand Central Terminal on your itinerary.
You can also read about our experience getting around New York using public transport here.