News International

New York Moments

A taste of the Big Apple

Wednesday 30 January
New York Moments

- January 30 at 9:30 AM

by Lizzie Ward
New York is a city of moments. If you’re not looking too hard, things happen in front of you – a line of police horses, tame squirrels eating out of someone’s hand, pigeons posing at the top of the Empire State Building.

A city of sensory overload, a place where you’re stepping into a movie set, a song, and a place steeped in history and culture. It is the ultimate destination on many people’s holiday of a lifetime list. It is possible to explore the city as a deaf person without feeling overwhelmed or struggling with communication differences – most New Yorkers are a friendly bunch.

For anyone, deaf or hearing, exploring New York, a couple of good travel guides, maps and subway maps are important must-haves. The best way to explore the city is by foot, but to get to those difficult to reach places, you can either use the subway, which seemed much less complicated than London’s Underground, or you can fork out for one of the tourist bus week long tickets, which in the grand scheme of things is one of those fun things to do. You end up on the top of the bus with cold wind whipping you sideways, but a fabulous view of all those legendary landmarks!

This was my second time visiting. My first time, in 2005, we had our first set of New York moments. We visited when there was a transit strike, so we relied on walking and the tour buses to get around. When we asked someone for the directions to the Central Park skating rink, the guy offered my Mum a piggy back, then ‘skated’ off with his hands behind him!

This time around, I had an encounter with a dog owner, who had a stunning golden-reddish brown retriever, when we were walking to the 9/11 memorial. She let me pet her lovely dog and said thank you for my compliment. These fleeting encounters make New York what it is: a place that has heart, beneath the quickstep of the sidewalks.

We visited before Christmas, so the city was lit up with lights and installations – and the weather was milder than usual at this time of year. It started snowing on our last afternoon, when we decided to make our last morning a trip up the Empire State Building. Up on the top, we encountered posing pigeons and an icy wind. For an alternative view of New York, you can go to The Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller, where you get a view of the Empire State. There are things to suit all budgets – for example, the New York Public Library tour is free, although you might have to bring your own BSL interpreter or lipspeaker, or someone willing to interpret for you. It’s always worth asking for written guides too. No two visits to New York are the same. We even had a taxi driver suggest we move there after complimenting my companion’s Scottish accent…maybe in another lifetime!

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