I take birthdays very seriously. I am the first person to plan surprise parties for my loved ones and go way over the top in any way I can. So, this year, when my mom turned 60, my husband and I decided to take her to New York City to celebrate. We told her she could choose any weekend and we’d take her. She chose Thanksgiving weekend for her birthday trip.
We decided to take Amtrak to the city for several reasons. First, my husband and I are both wheelchair users and we find that traveling by train is easy and accessible for us, with the added bonus of being able to keep our wheelchairs with us the entire trip. This means we don’t have to worry about our wheelchairs being broken like we do when we fly. Also, taking the train is more relaxing for me than driving. We don’t have to concentrate on the road, stop for gas, or worry about parking in the city. When I ride the train, I can still get work done on my laptop and use the bathroom whenever I want without stopping the vehicle.
Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel then we took my mom to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where my mom marveled at all the waitstaff who performed musical numbers while also serving food. It took a long time for us to finish our meals because my mom was so distracted by all the performances. After dinner, we took a stroll through Times Square and my mom was blown away by the vibrant energy all around.
The next day, we taught my mom how to take the subway as we went to the National September 11 Museum and Memorial before rolling to the river to see the Brooklyn Bridge. After that, we checked out Chelsea Market and the Union Square Holiday Market, and then we took the train up to Central Park. My mom, of course, stopped to take pictures of everything. We ended our day with dinner at Patsy’s, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Manhattan.
On Saturday, we decided to go to Grand Central Station because I love the food options in the basement and I knew my mom would love the artwork on the ceiling. We also decided to hit up tons of tourist spots, including Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Saks, and Macy’s. Our grand finale was going to the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular show. None of us had ever been to the show and I was pleasantly surprised by how great the show was!
On Sunday, we packed up to leave, and everyone loaded me up with their bags! My mom was impressed with how many bags I could carry on my wheelchair, but, more so, she was thankful that she didn’t have to carry all the stuff she bought over the weekend!
It was a really fun weekend for all of us and I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with my mom in a city she’s always wanted to visit.
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.
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