Having not been to a Broadway Theater in more than three years, we decided it was time to return.

We chose a show to see and purchased tickets. On our way into Manhattan, we talked about the theaters and their accessibility. In 2021 I had read hat the Jujamcyn Theater Group had settled a lawsuit and was going to make all five of their theaters accessible. This is the third large theater group that has agreed to improving its theaters for people with disabilities. With the improvements in the Shubert and Nederlander organizations, there will now be 22 broadway theaters that will be available to those with varying disabilities. That is about half of the Broadway theaters. Although it should be all theaters, this is an improvement over what has been in the past. 

Just knowing that these theaters are “accessible” is not enough in itself. More information is needed. The good news is that detailed information about accessibility is available for all to see. You just need to know where to look.

We found two very helpful sites,  www.theateraccessibility.nyc and www.seatplan.com, provided a wealth of information about accessibility in specific theaters.

For those who know TDF (Theater Development Fund), Theater Accessibility NYC is a collaboration between them and The Broadway League. Their website says, “…theater is for everyone…Broadway should be accessible for everyone regardless of disability. Theater Access NYC brings all the information you need to plan your trip to Broadway, together in one easy-to-manage place.” This website offers lots of detail.

www.seatplan.com is another site we think is quite valuable. It has detailed accessibility information on more than 40 Broadway theaters, from getting into the theater to specifics about seating, restrooms, etc. 

One needs to visit these websites to get a better understanding of how valuable they are. We hope you will do that to have the best theater experience you can.   Enjoy!

  • Book flights well in advance and call the airline directly to ensure that all disability-related needs will be met. Ask for the name and position of each person you speak with and record this information.
  • Make arrangements for travel to and from airports. Many U.S. companies like taxis and airport shuttles offer this service free of charge.Make these arrangements well in advance along with your flight arrangements to avoid frustration upon arrival and departure.
  • Arrive at the airport one hour earlier than normally advised. This will allow time for accommodations to be made and avoid delays through security.
  • Consider varying the lengths of your flights depending on disability-related needs. Long flights may be uncomfortable, especially for people who cannot use inaccessible airplane toilets. Shorter connecting flights may be a better alternative.
  • Allow at least 90 minutes between connecting flights (or longer if required to pass through immigration and customs during a layover) in order to ensure enough time to transfer between gates.
  • Try to investigate the layout and access features of all of the airports along your route even if you’re only expecting a short layover and consider possible contingency plans if access is unavailable. A bedpan or urinal in your carry-on luggage just might save the day if you are a wheelchair user.
  • Ask for assistance and be specific on how to be lifted if needed in enplaning and deplaning, including assistance beyond the screener checkpoints and between connecting gates but keep track of your luggage if going through customs.
  • Request that an unticketed individual assist you through security to your boarding gate, if needed, by going to the airline’s check-in desk and receiving a "pass" allowing them to go through the screener checkpoint without a ticket.
  • Set up special dietary requirements or need for assistance at meals(airline personnel are not permitted to assist with eating, but should assist with opening packages and identifying food items on a meal tray).
  • Request a specific seat in advance such as the bulkhead seat (first row in a section) if needed for wheelchair transfer, a physical condition, or for your service animal. Be aware that not all seats have moveable armrests.
  • Research online information about border patrol and customs screening at the airport and if you have difficulty communicating explain what would be helpful for them to do related to your disability (e.g. writing on piece of paper their questions).

Vermont is lovely at almost any time of the year, but Autumn is special. The colors are beautiful when the “Green Mountains” become a blaze of oranges, yellows, reds and browns, before being covered in white

If you have a mobility limitation and think a trip to see the colors would be too difficult, know that there are places in Central Vermont that are accessible enough to make it worthwhile.

You can have an easily accessible stay at the Killington Grand Hotel, a full-service hotel, with an accessible pool, a view of the mountains, Preston’s Restaurant, and wood-burning fireplaces in the main and lower lobbies. 

Close to here, the following restaurants on Killington Road can accommodate mobility challenges -  The Garlic, The Foundry,  Rivershed, Dominic’s Pizza, and Sushi Yoshi (For specific details check each of their pages at www.destinationaccessible.org).

Drive East on Route 4 towards Woodstock, and you will find the accessible Long Trail Brewery. If the weather cooperates you can have a beer and some food sitting outside, by the river. 

Woodstock is a quaint town to visit, but know that this historic town has many venues that require at least one step up, or sometimes down, to enter.

Continuing East on Route 4 towards Quechee, you will find Worthy Kitchen, another accessible restaurant with good food.

If you travel farther east on Route 4, make a left when you see the sign for Simon Pearce. Go over the covered bridge, turn left and you will come to Simon Pearce, restaurant, glass blowing factory and store. Be sure to stop and look around, watch the glass-blowing and look at the falls, even if you don’t have a reservation to dine.

Drive a bit father east you will come to Quechee Gorge, You can park in the lot, walk on the sidewalk and have a look at the Gorge below. 

Everywhere you look, the colors will dazzle. You can’t help but enjoy the views !

Don’t miss out on this wonderful time of the year in Vermont.

Long Island park in winter

by Roberta Rosenberg, Destination Accessible US Inc.

No one can deny we are squarely in the middle of winter. February 4th is the exact middle, between December 21st and March 21st. Until a few days ago, it has been a relatively benign season. That being said, there is still a good bit of this season left. Many of us have been staying in, staying safe, until spring arrives and until many of us can get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

What can those of us do who want to be outside, get some fresh air, visit someplace new, enjoy the outdoors?  We are here to tell you that there are places for you on Long Island, places that are beautiful in winter. Places you may have visited before, and places that you may have never been to. Surely, they are different from what we find at them in spring, summer and fall, but nevertheless beautiful in their own way. We have not found any place we have gone to be busy, so distancing is easy. Another plus for staying safe!

www.destinationaccessible.org has detailed information for more than 30 Long Island parks on its website, Each of these offers a unique experience.  Some of them are more accessible than others, but each is worth a trip.

Want a walk along a boardwalk, try Sunken Meadow, or Robert Moses.

Want a river walk, go to Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Want a walk on the South Shore, visit Wantagh Park. Want a walk at Oyster Bay Harbor, try Theodore Roosevelt Park. Want a walk close to a town,  Harbor Front Park in Port Jefferson is great!  Looking for a walk around a lake, visit Eisenhower Park. Want a park with handicapped- accessible playgrounds, try Eisenhower or Sands Point Preserve. Looking for a walk where you might be able to see the New York Skyline, go toNorman Levy Park on a clear day.  Want a park with a labyrinth, then it’s Avalon Park in Stony Brook. You can even visit the Anne Frank Memorial Garden.  There is much more, but we will stop here and invite you to visit www.destinationaccessible.org to “know before you go” for more detailed information about what you will find at each of these and more!

The only thing you need to be aware of is finding open restrooms at these destinations. We have tried to give the best information we have on this topic,  but it is sketchy at best. We suggest going with the idea that you most likely will not find restrooms or food. 

Be prepared for your adventure by dressing appropriately. For me, layers are the way to go. Several thin layers work better for me than one or two thick ones.  I am in love with instant hand warmers. I find that putting them inside my mittens makes a huge difference, and they stay warm for hours. Warm boots are great, waterproof even better. Although, if I am going to be really “walking,” i just use wool socks inside my sneakers.

We hope you will take advantage of some of the nice days that winter does have and find the beauty in someplace new.

As always, we at Destination Accessible, advise you to visit a venue’s website, when planning a visit to “know before you go.”

Vaccines are arriving, but so are variant of Covid. Even if we are vaccinated we still need to wear masks. But what kind and how many? One or two masks together? One layer or more in each mask? Which type of mask? It certainly can be confusing. Click the link below to read one of the most comprehensive articles we have found on the subject. Stay strong, don't give up now!

https://disabilityhorizons.com/2021/02/filter-vs-medical-vs-fabric-face-masks/?ml_subscriber=1626852862472492910&ml_subscriber_hash=d4n6&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=face_masks_choosing_the_best_for_you&utm_term=2021-02-27

People who live with disabilities often face fear, discomfort, and hostilityat a rate that far exceeds that encountered by those who do have no disability. The vast majority of such treatment is rooted in a basiclack of understanding about the challenges that come with having adisability, and the experience of sharing the world with people who do not. People often seek to fill in gaps in their knowledge, and when information is lacking, confusion and even fear may result.

Anyone wishing to overcome this experience in themselves will be best servedby first recognizing that a disability is a limited phenomenon. A physical disability may have a large impact on how an individual interacts with the physical word. A sensory disability may alter the gathering of information. These are conditions however, in no way prevent the individuals who live with them from having unique personalities, talents, knowledge, humor, and lives. People who live with disabilities have more in common than not with those who have no disability. We all share the same existence, and the same basic needs. In order to establish a foundation, he top three considerations, as repeated in the vast majority of lists of disability etiquette concerns are:

  • Ask if a person needs assistance before attempting to assist them. All people, whether or not they live with a disability, take pride in what they are able to do. Making any assumption about a person’s abilities in any given situation can rob them of this feeling.
  • Speak directly to a person with a disability, even if he or she has an interpreter. While a person with a hearing impairment may have to look at an interpreter for communication, it is discouraging to everyone to be looked around or over when communicating with  someone.
  • Ask permission before touching and assistive device or service animal. These items and creatures are the tools that the user needs to live their life. They are very important, and very personal.

Never Say Never

The more a discussion of etiquette directly relates to lifestyles and personal abilities, the more likely it is that the word “never” is used to illustrate what not to do. While this is often a useful guideline,  it can be cumbersome in some situations. In some cases, people who are less experienced in respectful and positive communication may stumble over wording, and significantly impair communication efforts. In other cases, people who are living with a disability may have feelings about language that is not in keeping with the established guidelines for etiquette. Whatever the reason, the commonly recognized best practices of disability-related etiquette may not always be the preferred practices, and it is always most important for the most effective and respectful communication, to first respect the wishes of the individual.

Mobilityimpairment

People with mobility impairments are often the most immediately identifiable people who are living with disabilities. As such, the stigma that our culture attaches to these people out of fear and ignorance, often impacts people with mobility impairments most frequently, and most harshly.

Developmentaland Cognitive Disabilities

Developmental and cognitive disabilities are an extremely broad, but very inter connected category. Both types of disability frequently occur together as a result of a single causal factor, though they just as frequently occur individually. While an experienced and compassionate person may be able to recognize that a person has a developmental disability, there is often no way of knowing whether the person also suffers from a cognitive disability without interacting with that person. Likewise, cognitive disabilities may occur in people who do not appear externally to have any disability whatsoever. It may take observation of behavior and interaction to determine how to communicate most appropriately with someone. Further, a basic recognition that a person’s behavior differs from the range that is considered mainstream may not absolutely indicate a cognitive disability, but could be a result of a mental illness (see below) or simply a personality quirk that does not constitute a disability. Lastly, a person with a cognitive disability may not be recognizable in casual interaction. Conditions such as dyslexia, and attention deficit are classified as cognitive disabilities, and can reasonably require both accommodation and sensitivity, but neither will necessarily be immediately apparent. It is in this broad category that the most care must be taken in making assumptions about what aperson is or is not capable of doing on their own or with assistance.

Blindness

Make no assumptions about what someone who is blind can and cannot do. Modern assistive technology has made things that were formerly inaccessible to the blind common place. A primary example is computer usage, which has become a nearly ubiquitous skill for sighted people, and is rapidly becoming standardized as audio screen readers and web standards converge.

  • Being a sighted guide  A reference on tPeople with mobility impairments are often the most immediately identifiable people who are living with disabilities. As such, the stigma that our culture attaches to these people out of fear and ignorance, often impacts people with mobility impairments most frequently, and most harshly. He established protocol for assisting someone as a sighted guide
  • BlindEtiquette 101 Some words of advice from a person who lives with a vision impairment
  • Resources for Access and Etiquette A set of resources specifically geared toward interacting with people who use guide dogs
  • Etiquette A run down of etiquette considerations for people interacting with those who are blind in social and professional situations

Deafness

Deafness is an extremely common disability, and one which does not present the same mobility issues faced by many other people with disabilities. This combined with modern support for signing (which was once discouraged as a form of communication) has resulted in vibrant deaf communities springing up around the world.  Still interacting with a person who is deaf can be challenging, as deafness presents a communication barrier not experienced by most people who live with disabilities.

MentalIllness

People living with mental illness may or may not have a disability. The specific criteria for determining the nature or severity of apsychiatric condition that constitutes a disability constantly shifts, but generally rests on a consideration of the level of impairment of daily activities suffered by the person in question.The biggest barrier faced by people living with mental illness is the lack of understanding which is nearly universal to almost all psychiatric disorders. Stigma and the accompanying ignorance, remains the primary barrier to overcome.

AdditionalResources

  • Disability Etiquette A broad guide provided by the City of Sacramento, California
  • Focuson Ability Tips for employers interviewing applicants who have disabilities
  • Developing Sites A guide to web development for users who have cognitive or learning disabilities (most accessible design is focused on visual disabilities)
  • Discribing People With Disabilities A resource on people first language for use when talking about people who have disabilities.

Mistakes Will Be Made

Everyone will at some point make a mistake in conversation. This is one occasion that requires absolutely no special consideration for people who live with disabilities. As when interacting with anyone else,when a mistake is made, simply apologize. People who live with disabilities learn early and unequivocally that others are frequently uncomfortable interacting with them. Most people who have lived with a disability since birth (and many who have not) have experienced bullying and harassment as a result of individual ignorance. A conversational error will not be the harshest experience suffered by any person living with a disability. An apology is an acknowledgement of an error and of a person’s intention to be sensitive. Communicating an awareness of etiquette and concern for an individual’s feelings may even set one apart from the crowd, and be the first step toward making a new friend.

        by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US Inc.

Although I can hardly believe it , Holiday Season 2021 has arrived. It seems to me yesterday was Labor Day, not Thanksgiving ! No matter what I believe, it is here. 

Many of us have returned to indoor activities and some of us are still hesitant about being inside.  If you are not inclined to be indoors, know that there are places to go and ways to enjoy the holidays that offer easy accessibility.

One of the easiest ways to experience the season is with a “drive through or drive- by,”  of one of the holiday light shows. All you need to do is get into a vehicle and go! (Although in most cases you need to secure tickets in advance). Jones Beach has “The Magic of Lights.”  “A Bug’s NIght,” is at the Nassau County Museum of Art. The town of Riverhead has a Holiday Light Show as do the Girls Scouts, in Smith Point Park. 

If you can manage it, Milleridge Village has a lovely Holiday Village, complete with shops and Santa. Although there are bricks underfoot, it is quite accessible. 

Two of our favorite, easily accessible, places any time of the year are the Brooklyn Botanical and the New York Botanical Gardens. Both have holiday lights. The New York Botanical Gardens also has their wonderful holiday train show, which is indoors. 

Harbor Front Park in Port Jefferson is easily accessible and always lovely. From here it is easy to walk through town, with its shops, restaurants and festive decorations.

If you don’t need the holiday decorations, but want a beautiful, easily accessible outdoor place to take in the view, you can’t go wrong with any of the following: Sunken Meadow State Park Boardwalk (with a view of Long Island Sound), Theodore Roosevelt Park (with a view of Oyster Bay Harbor), Heckscher Park in Huntington, or the Long Beach Boardwalk (with a view of the Atlantic Ocean). 

If you are going into Manhattan, check out its newest, accessible park, Little Island, overlooking the Hudson River.

You can’t go wrong with any of these things to do as part of a fun, holiday season. 

Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday and New Year!

If you want the accessibility details of any of the above venues please visit, www.destinationaccessible.org, to “know before you go!” We always suggest also visiting a venue’s website for very up-to-date  information, such as pricing, hours open , etc. 

This summer, Lego will release its first-ever mini-figure that uses a wheelchair, the company says, confirming reports that emerged after one of the toys was seen at a toy fair. In recent years, the company has been urged to show more diversity in its offerings.

An image taken from a video by Lego fan website Zusammengebaut shows a new minifigure in a wheelchair. The toy will go on sale in June, the company says.

German website Zusammengebaut and other Lego fan outlets published photographs of the figurine at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, on Wednesday, setting off celebrations among those backing a movement called Toy Like Me, which urges Lego, Hasbro, Fisher Price and other toymakers to include disabilities in some of their figurines.

Included in Lego's upcoming Fun at the Park set, the wheelchair is seen being used by a youth wearing a beanie cap and a hoodie.

"We are beyond happy right now," Rebecca Atkinson of Toy Like Me says in a statement posted online. "Lego have just rocked our brick built world and made 150 million disabled kids, their mums, dads, pet dogs and hamsters very very happy.

The wheelchair is part of Lego's City line and will go on sale in June, according to Emma Owen, Lego's spokesperson in Britain and Ireland.

"This is the first LEGO mini figure with a wheelchair, although previously there was a LEGO Duplo range, a series of the toys aimed at pre-school children, that featured an elderly man in a wheelchair," website The Mighty explains. "That set was criticized by activists for reinforcing stereotypes about wheelchairs only being for the elderly. This new figure is a part of the LEGO line aimed at older kids."

Atkinson, a journalist and disability consultant, says Lego's move "will speak volumes to children, disabled or otherwise, the world over."

More than 20,000 people have signed Toy Like Me's online petition that calls on Lego to use its toys to "help generations of kids, (both with and without disabilities), grow up with a more positive attitude to human difference!"

by Roberta Rosenberg

Happy New Year!  2022 has certainly arrived with a punch. Most of us believed that things would be much better by now.  Unfortunately, Covid had a different idea and brought us Omicron, in full force just as this New Year arrived. I would venture to say that, at the very least,  most of us are really tired of dealing with it. That being said, we still do need to be careful, both for ourselves, loved ones, co-workers, etc. 

Even though we want to be careful, some still want to go out to meet friends for dinner, etc. Masks are required in many places, with enforcement being rather lax. New York City has met the problem by requiring vaccinations for restaurants and other indoor spaces. Long Island has not embraced this line of thinking, but some Long Island restaurants have taken it upon themselves to do what NYC has done, and require proof of vaccination for indoor dining.

This article is not about accessibility for those with mobility challenges. It is about venues that are requiring proof of Covid vaccination for indoor dining.  The information comes from a Newsday article by Erica Marcus. Before I list the places, I must caution you to check for yourself, if the policy is still in existence when making a reservation.  I discovered that several of the restaurants I initially knew about have since changed their policies. During these uncertain times things can change quickly. As we tell visitors to our website, www.destinationaccessible.org, you always need to check a venue’s website, or call personally, to “know before you go,” for up-to-the-minute information. 

If you visit any of these venues, please share with our their policies,  as well as their accessibility.  If you know of any others, we would love to add them to our list. The only one we have personally visited was West End Cafe, and that was well before Covid. 

1. West End Cafe, Carle Place, www.westendli.com, (516) 294-5605 

2. Kristi Mediterranean Grill, Woodbury,  www.krinti.com, (516) 224-4661

3. Sandbar, Cold Spring Harbor, www.sandbar.com, (631) 498-6188

4. Takumi, Commack, www.takuminy.com, (631) 543-0101

5. Grasso’s, Cold Spring Harbor, www.grassosrestaurant.com (631) 367- 6060

6. BTW, Oceanside, www.btwoceanside.com, (516) 208-5322

7. Black Sheep Ale House, Mineola, www.blacksheepalehouse.com. (516) 307 - 1280

Most of us have library cards and generally know about the wonderful array of services our libraries offer. Depending on your local library, besides borrowing actual books, books on tape, and audio versions, they may offer performances, classes both in person and on zoom, reference help, and services for patrons with disabilities. 
I was recently reminded of another great perk that comes with having a library card.  Your Long Island Library Card doesn’t cost anything to get, and doesn’t have any fees. It does, however, come with many perks, including one that many people don’t seem to know about - the Museum Pass Program. 
The Museum Pass Program offers card holders the opportunity to reserve free passes to many Long Island and New York City museums. From the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan to the Parrish Art Museum on the East End of Long Island, you can find a museum to visit. Whether you admire art, want to learn about science and history, or  explore different cultures, visiting a museum lets you discover new things. 
Go to your local library’s website to find out what museums it offers passes for. You can usually reserve a pass for up to four people at a time.  Some passes can be printed online, others require pick-up at the library. Check your library’s website for details, as each library seems to have a somewhat different set up. Library offerings differ and there are restrictions, so be sure to check. If you have any difficulties you might want to pay a visit to your library or call for assistance. Librarians are always ready and willing to help.

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