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!


compiled by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US, Inc.

Note: The following suggestions are a result of my research. It is by no means complete. Since I grew up long before electronics became a necessity in our lives, I drew on things my family, friends and I used to do and enjoy. I’m sure you will be able to add more.

- complete a puzzle you have - trade puzzles with others
- do crossword puzzles, Suduko, or other word games- start a journal about  this time (I used to keep a “diary”)- meditate- practice yoga

- write actual letters to family and/or friends

- get a pen pal

- knit, crochet, needlepoint, hook a rug

- paint, draw,  learn to scrapbook,

- interview grandparents, parents, other relatives or friends

over the phone - save the audio and create a story about

the person

- write a book with your family - choose a topic - each person

writes a chapter on the topic 

- look at family photos - make a photo collage for your room of

for a gift

- make birthday cards in advance

- learn calligraphy

- create a list of things you want to do when we get out again

- get a free trial of a TV streaming service and binge watch as

much as you can before it expires  (be careful of end date)

- watch a tv show at the same time as a friend - talk on the 

phone as you watch or as soon as it is over

- try new recipes - or learn to cook or bake

- libraries are open for “pick-up” borrow a really long movie

you have always wanted to watch

- borrow a cookbook

- borrow videos

- borrow books on topics that interest you

compiled by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US, Inc.

Note: This list is a result of my research. It is by no means complete. I have visited many of the sites listed. Others were recommended to me. It is my hope that it is helpful to you. I apologize in advance if any of the resources listed are not what I thought them to be.

www.onread.com - access to 1,5000,000 books

www.googlebooks.com - over 30 million books scanned by Google

www.wikihow.com - answers to any "How do I...question."

www.getyourguide.com - tours, classes, travel experiences online

Facebook Live - many different things (ex: cooking classes)

www.ted.com - TED Talks, almost any subject you can think of

www.travelandleisuremagazineonline.com - a wealth of information

www.seniornetli.org - online tech skills taught in interactive sessions

www.kennedy-center.org - Kennedy Center at Home (the arts)

www.metopera.org - The Metropolitan Opera

www.carnegiehall.org - Carnegie Hall

www.metmuseum.org - Metropolitan Museum of Art (Art at Home)

www.mentalfloss.com - 12 world class museums you can visit online

www.timeout.com - section about best things to do at home each week

www.the guardian.com - news, sports, opinion

www.forbes.com - access to some articles at no cost

www.theartnewspaper.com - news of the art world

www.nycgo.com - visit NYC online

www.studyinternational.com - online multiplayer games

www.twoplayergames.org -

www.agameon.com - popular free games for one or two

www.boatloadpuzzles.com - thousands of free crosswords

www.npr.org - lots of fun things that weren't free before Covid

www.pcmag.com - quarantine & learn - 11 fun online courses for you

www.sites.google.com - one player games

www.thisamericanlife.org - different story theme each week

www.experiments.withgoogle.com - 100,000 starts takes you through
an interactive tour of the galaxy

www.smithsonian.org - high-tech stories without "stuffy language"

www.nasa.gov - tons of things are space - virtual, live, interactive, etc.

www.insider.com - 360 degree tours of Disney Parks and others

www.artsandculturegoogle.com - offers virtual tours and
commentaries from over
230 museums in 40 countries.
There are also 11 tours of theater
stages around the world.

Google Street View - allows you to feel like you are walking down a
street or road

You Tube - upload, view and comment on videos

Universal Class - check to see if your library subscribes -
allows you to take courses at your own pace while
interacting with a live instructor

The following is just a partial list of museums offering virtual tours:
British Museum, London
Guggenheim, NY
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
MASP, San Paolo
American Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Pergamo Museum, Berlin
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Zoos and Aquariums "live stream" Some of the best rated are:
Monterey Bay Aquarium
San Diego Zoo
Aquarium of the Pacific
Georgia Aquarium
Smithsonian National Zoo
Bronx Zoo
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Atlanta Zoo
Houston Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo (Home Safari)

Many colleges offer free, online classes - even Harvard and Yale!

Online games, either solo or with friends (or you can play with others
you do not now) Ex: Words with Friends

What Do We Need to Feel “Safe” As We Visit Reopened Venues? by Roberta Rosenberg - Destination Accessible US, Inc
After months of “staying home” during the Covid-19 Pandemic, businesses are slowly reopening. Many of us are preparing to venture out to visit them. “Fear is an emotion we do not need to feel when we return to stores, restaurants, etc., after the shutdown.” (LoopNet 5/27/20) What kind of environment do you/I want/need to make us feel safe enough to go to a venue that we may have frequented in the past, or visit a new one?
I would like to think that everything businesses are doing is a work in progress. Hopefully, they are doing everything they believe they need to do, while at the same time reevaluating what they are doing on an ongoing basis. Businesses need to make things the best they can be, based on the latest information they receive.
That being said, what do you and I need to feel safe when visiting a store, restaurant, museum, or other venue? I am not including theaters, because we do not have enough information about them yet.
After doing quite a bit of reading, listening to a variety of business and government leaders, and reaching out to friends and family, I have put together some guidelines which I hope will be useful to you. It is not intended to be definitive by any means. There are probably things I have not included. (I would love your comments/suggestions - see below).You may need to have all of them in place when you visit a venue. You may only need to see some of them to feel comfortable. What you/I do is up to us, because in the end, it is up to each of us to stay as safe as possible.

  1. I would suggest, as a general rule, before going to any venue, visit their website, and/or social media platforms to see what they are saying about their own proactive safety measures. For myself, if I do not feel they are offering enough information, I may feel they are not doing enough, and I may not want to visit them yet.
    I have heard that a “pledge” will soon be offered for businesses to sign, stating what they are doing for our safety. It may be posted on their website and/or in their windows for all to see. That sounds like a good idea. Look for it! I will.
  2. If I decide to visit a venue, what will I be looking for when I get there, before I enter ?
  • Have they made distancing guidelines outside the venue if I need to wait to enter?
  • Are there any signs (and/or the “pledge” ) clearly visible for all to see about their preparedness?
  • If there are steps or a ramp, is there hand sanitizer available to me before I need to touch any handrails?
  • If there is a “push button assist” door opener, is there sanitizer available to wipe it?
  • Are there hand sanitizers available before entering? Is the door open or do I need to open it myself?

    3. What do I need to see once I am inside?
  • I need to see signs that the space has been thoroughly cleaned
    recently. Do I see fingerprints, stains, etc?
  • I need to see signage stating when the space was last cleaned,
    who is doing the cleaning, and details of a regular cleaning/sanitizing program.
  • I need to see highly visible hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue.
  • I need to see signage that clearly explains their practices, such as limiting capacity, social distancing standards, payment methods, cleaning procedures, etc. that show an organized approach to keeping patrons safe.
  • I need to see a visible increase of ongoing cleaning practices while patrons are there. I need to see personnel dedicated to disinfecting surfaces like counters, tables, etc.
  • I need to see signs that personnel have been properly trained, wearing masks, gloves.
  • I need to see adjustments in the physical space, including traffic flow, barriers between employees and patrons, and number of people inside.
  • I need to know how the restrooms have been kept as clean as possible for me to use. If I need to open the door are wipes available? Are there automatic faucets and flushers. Are there automatic soap dispensers? Are paper towels available instead of automatic hand driers? If I need to touch a door handle to exit, are sanitizers available close by? As I said at the beginning, these are only suggestions, offered to help you make a personal decision about visiting a reopened business.
    In closing, one of the best things I heard someone say was , “If it looks like the old and familiar “business as usual” I might just want to rethink visiting that venue at this time.
    Roberta Rosenberg is the founder of Destination Accessible US Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to providing first-hand, accessibility information of leisure locations for people with mobility challenges.
    I would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts. Comments/suggestions are always welcome.
    Contact me at roberta@destinationaccessible.com or leave a
    message at www.destinationaccessible.org.

As a result of having had polio as a child, my mom always had problems with her feet. Besides the pain that she regularly had, she was severely  limited in the type of shoes she could wear.. Being a woman who was always impeccably dressed, shoes were important to her. Only certain styles would stay on her feet, and even then, most were far from comfortable. Her feet were also different sizes and slightly different shapes. Needless to say, buying shoes was quite difficult.  Not having much disposable income made things more difficult as it was not easy to think of purchasing two different size pairs to combine into one that might work for her. She (and I) wound up adding insoles and other assorted items to one shoe or the other to make the shoes as comfortable as possible.

Zappos is now coming to the aid of people like my mom, and those with assorted challenges, that would be greatly aided by being able to buy mixed size shoes, or perhaps those who only require one shoe. It is “part of a push…to cater to shoppers who naturally have different sized feet, as well as those with prosthetics…”

Zappos Adaptive, already sells an assortment of shoes for people with disabilities or dexterity issues. Initially, Zappos will offer the option for six brands (Nike, BILLY Footwear, Converse, PLAE, Stride Rite and New Balance ), Looks like they are starting with the “sneaker” industry. Hopefully they will branch out to all types of footwear. I’m sorry my mom is not here to perhaps enjoy shoe shopping, but I’m happy for all of those who will be able to take advantage of this welcome change.  

See the full article at: 

CNN Business