We arrived in Manhattan last night, fighting our way through traffic, and arrived to find the hotel on a one way street going the wrong way. You see we've got the MV1 which is an accessible vehicle and the ramp comes out the passenger side. The hotel was on a one way street and cars pulled up on the driver's side. There was no way we could pull the ramp down to get out, we'd block the whole street. So we drove until we found a spot, at some distance from the hotel, where there was space to stop and get the ramp down and me out.
There were two traffic control police officers there and they were shooing people away from stopping where we'd stopped. I rolled down my window and called to them one strolled over looking like he was ready to blast us for stopping. I explained the situation, said that we just wanted to get me, in my wheelchair, out. Could we have a few minutes. He looked in, examined the fact that I was sitting in one wheelchair and saw that my big power chair was in the space behind us.
"OK," he said and then indicated he was talking to me, "get out as fast as you can. And you," indicating Joe, "then get the hell out of here." Gruff, but then that's what he's paid for, but reasonable. I managed to get out in good order and then Joe drove off to go around the block and back to the hotel. I've never been in NYC in my power chair before and it was quite the experience. Usually when we're here, I'm in the manual chair and Joe and I both work to get me where I'm going.
I got to the corner and was surrounded on all sides by people waiting to cross the street. I crossed with them, simply going with the flow. I had to cross again, and the same thing happened. There were people everywhere and though they didn't seem to see me they were deftly stepping around me and by me like they were with each other. Getting where they were going seemed more important than some guy in a wheelchair on the street.
After checking in the hotel, we went to look around a wee bit and found a cool kind of resto-deli and went in to investigate. Again it was packed full of people and I found I moved with relative ease. I had to be careful, as I always am, but they were all being careful too - with me, with the food they carried, with each other. It was like everyone had run into others often enough to know to be aware of space theirs and others.
My space was simply granted, in a crowded store, on a crowded corner or in a crowded street. I liked it. I would have thought that in a city that never sleeps people might have been a little more testy. |But no. We didn't have much time, we didn't go far, but I took one big bite of the Big Apple yesterday.