Point of blog:
Is to try to make NYC more wheelchair friendly.
Who am I?
I’m a young adult, a dwarf and a wheelchair user from downtown, NYC.
Can you help?
Yes please send me any photos or interesting info on accessibility in NY or around the world.

 

Library help!

A little tip. My local library is loud and annoying so I just got a pin for my library card to go online and put the books on reserve. It just blows me away that I can pick out all the books I want and it will me waiting for me near the front door. Do yourself a favor go to nypl.org and sign up. that way you never have to worry about a book being too high or too low or something being in your way. Kudos to New York Public Library for making things more accessible. 

fyi- you don’t have to be a wheelchair user to take advantage of the NYPL online. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Life just has away of stealing me. Stay tune 

Anonymous asked
Hi Maria, it's Shae. I just wanted to point out that I've found 2 restaurants that claim to be accessible but actually aren't because of stairs. One is Dallas BBQ on 72nd (and the staff are jerks about it), and the other is Fetch Bar & Grill on the UES (there are stairs leading to the "ADA acessible" bathroom). This makes me mad! But I don't know what I should do, so you're the boss. :)

Great question! If you ever happen to be at those restaurants again try taking a photo of the sign and the steps. That I could post on this blog. Sadly I haven’t heard of a 1-800 police for ADA to call about this. Ada does have a website you can file a complaint at. www.ada.gov

I’ll ask some of my friends what they do. I personally just blog about it and complain to the manager of the restaurant/ store. Thanks for being on the look out!

nycgov:

Update on the City’s response to Hurricane Sandy: -There are buses at our 5 disaster assistance centers that will help people get to shelters and at Seward Park High School -We have 25,000 blankets on the way to shelters in the Rockaways, Coney Island, and on Staten Island right now. To find a warming center near you visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html -There are 1,750 schools in the city; the vast majority of them will be open Monday. Find information on school relocations at http://on.nyc.gov/U0sWBn or text ‘nycschools’ to 877-877. To find a list of schools that are serving as shelters and will be closed to students until Wednesday, visit http://schools.nyc.gov -The Mayor thanked all of the volunteers who are pitching in to help. It really means a lot and it shows what a big heart New Yorkers have. To find out more about volunteering visit http://nycservice.org -There are 42 families who have to cope with a terrible loss, and we should make sure they are in our prayers. -If you’re without power, and you are using candles to light your home, please exercise extreme caution. -Daylight savings ends tonight; remember to check the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. -The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC has raised $12 million donated by more than 3,500 people to support relief efforts, and money continues to come in. To donate visit http://www.nyc.gov/fund or text NYCFUND to 50555 to give $10 to the Mayor’s Fund that will provide essential aid and supplies to New Yorkers in need. -There have been people who’ve sat in cars for hours trying to buy gas. It’s frustrating but this should be less of a problem in coming days. It may take a few days before you see the effect of the additional fuel supply at your neighborhood service station. -Con Edison crews have restored electricity to more than 645,000 customers, about 70% of all those who lost power since Hurricane Sandy. While power to most of Manhattan is back, there are still tens of thousands of customers without steam power, and therefore without heat. -Full service has been restored from end to end on the 4, 5, 6 in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. For more transit updates, visit http://mta.info.

nycgov:

Update on the City’s response to Hurricane Sandy:

-There are buses at our 5 disaster assistance centers that will help people get to shelters and at Seward Park High School

-We have 25,000 blankets on the way to shelters in the Rockaways, Coney Island, and on Staten Island right now. To find a warming center near you visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html

-There are 1,750 schools in the city; the vast majority of them will be open Monday. Find information on school relocations at http://on.nyc.gov/U0sWBn or text ‘nycschools’ to 877-877. To find a list of schools that are serving as shelters and will be closed to students until Wednesday, visit http://schools.nyc.gov

-The Mayor thanked all of the volunteers who are pitching in to help. It really means a lot and it shows what a big heart New Yorkers have. To find out more about volunteering visit http://nycservice.org

-There are 42 families who have to cope with a terrible loss, and we should make sure they are in our prayers.

-If you’re without power, and you are using candles to light your home, please exercise extreme caution.

-Daylight savings ends tonight; remember to check the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

-The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC has raised $12 million donated by more than 3,500 people to support relief efforts, and money continues to come in. To donate visit http://www.nyc.gov/fund or text NYCFUND to 50555 to give $10 to the Mayor’s Fund that will provide essential aid and supplies to New Yorkers in need.

-There have been people who’ve sat in cars for hours trying to buy gas. It’s frustrating but this should be less of a problem in coming days. It may take a few days before you see the effect of the additional fuel supply at your neighborhood service station.

-Con Edison crews have restored electricity to more than 645,000 customers, about 70% of all those who lost power since Hurricane Sandy. While power to most of Manhattan is back, there are still tens of thousands of customers without steam power, and therefore without heat.

-Full service has been restored from end to end on the 4, 5, 6 in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. For more transit updates, visit http://mta.info.

It’s getting colder and that time of year where taking long walks aren’t as desired as they were… Time to find that warm indoor car ride. Some of you it maybe a no brainier how to get around but for those who use wheelchairs it’s a whole other challenge. I have always had to take a bus or rely on my family to drive, but now the options have expanded!
About a year ago I had called 311 to get an accessible cab. About two hours later finally a cab showed up… I tried them twice and both times it didn’t workout.
Last week I read an article, Hailing Wheelchair-Accessible Cabs posted in the New York Times about this new app called WOW Taxi for iPhones and Androids. I wasn’t sure if it would really work. I just had to test the app out and decided for my late tuesday night class, I’d try to get home via WOW Taxi app.
I downloaded the app, book a trip in the morning giving it my pick up and drop off locations for a Tuesday evening trip. I was ready 10-15 minutes early. I look at the app and it gave me the drivers name, medallion number, current location of the cab, and is  updated every 20 seconds. The driver showed up ten minutes early!  It actually work!!
I love it! The ride itself was a little bumpy partly because the driver tied down the front of my chair but not the back. You sit on a slanted ramp ground… But the fact that I managed to get in the cab, home safely and no waiting made it all good worth it. 
My next cab ride I hope Mr. Amarjit Singh or his brother Vikrant comes and picks me up in his MV-1 cab. He apparently is the only owner/driver of a purpose-built wheelchair-accessible medallion cab in the city according to the NY times article titled A Cab tailored to Wheelchair Users. 
Now I’ve more options of traveling around. Sadly the ride is the same price as for everyone else, (expensive) but it opens more options to traveling with in Manhattan. The yellow cab driver can take you to Brooklyn but not back to Manhattan. I hope someday I can do a full around trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn via public transport or cab, until then my father will still have to drive me. 
Stay warm and safe travels. 
Photo from: http://www.accessibledispatch.com

It’s getting colder and that time of year where taking long walks aren’t as desired as they were… Time to find that warm indoor car ride. Some of you it maybe a no brainier how to get around but for those who use wheelchairs it’s a whole other challenge. I have always had to take a bus or rely on my family to drive, but now the options have expanded!

About a year ago I had called 311 to get an accessible cab. About two hours later finally a cab showed up… I tried them twice and both times it didn’t workout.

Last week I read an article, Hailing Wheelchair-Accessible Cabs posted in the New York Times about this new app called WOW Taxi for iPhones and Androids. I wasn’t sure if it would really work. I just had to test the app out and decided for my late tuesday night class, I’d try to get home via WOW Taxi app.

I downloaded the app, book a trip in the morning giving it my pick up and drop off locations for a Tuesday evening trip. I was ready 10-15 minutes early. I look at the app and it gave me the drivers name, medallion number, current location of the cab, and is  updated every 20 seconds. The driver showed up ten minutes early!  It actually work!!

I love it! The ride itself was a little bumpy partly because the driver tied down the front of my chair but not the back. You sit on a slanted ramp ground… But the fact that I managed to get in the cab, home safely and no waiting made it all good worth it. 

My next cab ride I hope Mr. Amarjit Singh or his brother Vikrant comes and picks me up in his MV-1 cab. He apparently is the only owner/driver of a purpose-built wheelchair-accessible medallion cab in the city according to the NY times article titled A Cab tailored to Wheelchair Users

Now I’ve more options of traveling around. Sadly the ride is the same price as for everyone else, (expensive) but it opens more options to traveling with in Manhattan. The yellow cab driver can take you to Brooklyn but not back to Manhattan. I hope someday I can do a full around trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn via public transport or cab, until then my father will still have to drive me. 

Stay warm and safe travels. 

Photo from: http://www.accessibledispatch.com

Saigon on Broome Street between Elizabeth and Mott. I love how they tried to be accessible. Please add another ramp. 

Saigon on Broome Street between Elizabeth and Mott. I love how they tried to be accessible. Please add another ramp. 

I have been super busy lately and hope to find more time for this blog. Wish we could an hour to my day just for blogging. I love blogging! In the mean time please enjoy this summer weather and eat ice creams!

A store in a Soho located in a landmark building that has two large granite steps - making it un-accessible - has found away to welcome it’s wheelchair-using costumers.

I have always loved walking around Soho among the beautiful, historic buildings but haven’t been able to enter many of them. The efforts to protect the architectural and historic values of these buildings by the Landmarks Preservation Commission does not allow businesses to build permanent ramps for wheelchair users.
 
Purl Soho, a quality yarn and fabric shop on Broom St in the heart of Soho, has found a simple solution with their portable ramp - the same type my family uses to put my wheelchair into our car. Eager to learn more about their decision to provide this ramp,  I sat down with Nikki, the store’s Operations Manager and a long time Purl Soho store employee. She recounted that when they grew too big for their little shop on Sullivan Street and decided move to Broom St, they originally wanted to build a ramp. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that in a Landmark building they weren’t allowed to build a permanent ramp. After a costumer complained on their website about their lack of accessibility in their new building, Purl Soho got in touch with her to see what they could do. The costumer told them about another store that had a portable ramp that folded when it wasn’t in use and suggested they purchase one. The ramp now sits under the window display inside the store and gets pulled out whenever a wheelchair user needs it.

Nikki also said that through this experience, she has become more aware of how difficult it is for a wheelchair user to navigate the city. She mentioned that  her cousin is a little person and uses a scooter to get around, but unfortunately, her cousin won’t visit her in New York City because of the lack of accessibility.
Nikki thought there should be an “accessibility badge” that would go on business websites, search sites like Yelp, and in storefronts to indicate accessibility. 

The story was very eye opening. There have been countless stores I’ve been interested in going into, but haven’t tried because of one or two steps. After talking to Nikki, I realize it is important to ask businesses to provide these folding ramps; the business gains many customers and I get to do more shopping!

There is a U.S. Post Office on the corner of 11th st and 4th ave that is not wheelchair accessible. It is misleading because the front is accessible but once you enter the building there are two steps. This is really sad because the lobby looks like there is enough space to install a ramp. It would make sense that they have a ramp in the back or side entrance to wheel in heavy and large packages, but it wasn’t made clear that this could be used for costumers who need to get into the building.

Busy as a Bee

Sorry I have not been posting a lot in the last few months, I didn’t forget about it! I recently became the Executive Director of the First Annual Morquio Syndrome Conference and I’ve been very busy organizing the two day event. If you have Morquio Syndrome, please send me your email. So I can send you an official invitation!

In the meantime, if you come across any interesting articles, blog posts or photos related to the issues of accessibility or disability awareness, send them my way and I will do my best to blog about it.

Welcome to 2012!

First I want to start out by thanking my followers and everyone who has offered their support in my desire to begin blogging. I hope you will continue to read and spread the word by telling your friends, family and co-workers about it!

Here is a little recap of 2011:

When I started this blog about six months ago, the idea was to write about all the missing curb cuts in New York City. Overtime, I wanted to discuss other issues of accessibility by adding interesting articles and other blog posts.

For those of you who are following my blog and are in wheelchairs or can’t step up on to a sidewalk without ramp, here is the “master list” of the New York City blocks that I’ve discovered lack curb cuts. I suggest you copy this list and put it into your mobile phone or mark this on a map so you don’t have the same frustrations I have! Keep in mind, this isn’t all of the non-ramped blocks in the city so stay tuned!

  • Grand St & Orchard St; Southwest corner
  • Spring St & Wooster St; Northeast corner
  • Crosby St & Grand St; Northeast corner
  • Canal St & Essex St; Southwest corner
  • Stanton St & Allen St; Southwest corner
  • Stanton St & Allen St; Southeast corner
  • Stanton St & Allen St; Northeast corner
  • Eldridge St & Houston St; Southwest corner
  • Delancey St & Suffolk St; Southwest corner
  • Clinton St & South St; Northeast corner
  • South St & Dover St; Northeast corner
  • South St & Peck slip; Northeast corner
  • Straus Square; east side
  • Pike St & East Broadway; Northwest corner
  • Triangular sidewalk where East Broadway runs into Grand St, east of Bialystoker St but west of Columbia St. This sidewalk has ramps but the light and sign post are in the way if you enter from the east side.
  • Spring St & the Bowery; Northwest corner
  • The Bowery & Rivington St; West side
  • Eldridge St & Delancey St; Southwest corner
  • Hester St & Mulberry St; Northwest corner
  • Canal St & Elizabeth St; Northeast corner
  • Walker St & Cortlandt Alley; Southeast corner
  • Lispenard St & West Broadway; Northeast corner
  • West Broadway & Canal St; Northeast corner

Does anyone know where I might buy a good street map of Manhattan? I would love to make an “Accessibility Map” that has all the missing curb cuts listed. Let me know!

Most importantly, happy new year! I hope 2012 brings great things to you & yours!

I took a walk the other day and ran into four corners that weren’t accessible!

Canal St & Elizabeth Street on the Northeast corner
Walker St & Cortlandt Alley on the Southeast corner
Lispenard St & West Broadway on the Northeast corner
West Broadway & Canal St on the Northeast corner

The other day I went to a holiday market at Chelsea Market’s event space. It has two levels and every time I’ve been it’s had a ramp. At some point  during the last year they put in a electronic lift that requires a  key to operate (photo above). Unfortunately, because the key had been lost during other events, the security guards would not give the key to the person in charge of the holiday market. Because of this, I had to wait for a long time for someone to bring the key.
It would seem that everyone involved was losing money in this situation. These lifts cost a lot of money to purchase, install and maintain. I don’t understand why they had to replace the ramp with this complicated system. It also seems like they might have a better way of handling the key so that it doesn’t get lost and make the investment of a lift worth it.  Even after I waited for a long time, the guard  never came so I left the market and walked outside to a side door that  entered the lower level of space.  Luckily I had this option and the artists didn’t lose my business due to inaccessibility!

The other day I went to a holiday market at Chelsea Market’s event space. It has two levels and every time I’ve been it’s had a ramp. At some point during the last year they put in a electronic lift that requires a key to operate (photo above). Unfortunately, because the key had been lost during other events, the security guards would not give the key to the person in charge of the holiday market. Because of this, I had to wait for a long time for someone to bring the key.

It would seem that everyone involved was losing money in this situation. These lifts cost a lot of money to purchase, install and maintain. I don’t understand why they had to replace the ramp with this complicated system. It also seems like they might have a better way of handling the key so that it doesn’t get lost and make the investment of a lift worth it.  Even after I waited for a long time, the guard never came so I left the market and walked outside to a side door that entered the lower level of space.  Luckily I had this option and the artists didn’t lose my business due to inaccessibility!

Links for Your Lunch Break

I love that people are re-thinking ways to make Santa more friendly to all kids, especially for those with Autism who may not be comfortable sitting on Santa’s lap in the traditional sense.  This article on the Huffington Post discusses this important form of accessibility.

I’ve never thought of riding RVs but it is an innovative concept to adapt an RV into an accessible vehicle for your wheelchair. There is this great website all about traveling for wheelchair users called Wheelchair Traveling. Even if you’re not into road trips, you should check the site out for more information on accessible RVs and some great photos.  They also have tips on traveling around the world in your own wheelchair by airplane, boat or car.  I hope to try some of their tips out someday.

I loved this great, but old, article on People magazine online about a child who has the ability to hear but deaf parents and struggles to communicate when she grows up. 

"‘I’m not going to have anything to do with a bill that does not respect the rights of the disabled community,’ Gov. Cuomo said…" This quote from the NYpost might be my favorite line in the whole article!

According to the NYpost these are the ten worst elevators in New York City.  Interestingly, they are all located in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn.  You can also see them listed on the Department of Buildings website as well.

Though I’ve had to deal with some annoying elevator situations, they haven’t been too extreme.  Regardless, here are some safety tips from the Department of NYC Buildings for entering and leaving an elevator.  They also have some helpful tips in case you happen to get stuck in an elevator.