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Young woman in wheelchair next to a city street.  Her arm is extended to hail a taxi.  There are two yellow taxis in the background.  She is smiling.

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Supported by United Way of New York City, other generous foundations, and our Members

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The Disabilities Network of New York City brings people, organizations, government and industry together to find soultions to the problems faced by New Yorkers with physical, visual and hearing disabilities. We work for full inclusion of people with disabilities into the vast civic, social and economic life of New York City.

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New York Examiner Reports on Lack of Access at MTA Hearings

Reporter Michael A. Harris detailed the Disabilities Network's concern that most of the public hearings held the first week of March 2010 are at venues that are not near accessible subway stations and that bus routes into the surrounding areas are at best inconvenient.  With paratransit services set to be significantly cut, the organization called the choice of venue inexcusable.

"... it shows people with disabilities are simply not a priority for the MTA," said Lawrence Carter-Long, executive director.  His organization held two workshops to educate seniors and the disabled about the proposed cuts, the hearings and how to deliver effective testimony and so Carter-Long said that he's disappointed that many won't have the opportunity to do so.  "We've repeatedly reached out to the MTA and asked that they meet with us and discuss our agenda and nobody has ever so much as responded.  Clearly [riders with disabilities] are not even on their radar screens."

Click here for full story:


Updated: May 4, 2010



The Disabilities Network of NYC/disTHIS! Film Series is recruiting individuals to be a part of a unique ongoing professional Audio Description service for disTHIS! events and the annual Reel Abilities Film Festival. Funding for this program has been provided through the UJA Federation.  Trainings will take place December 9-11, 2009 and will be conducted by Audio Description Associates and the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Program Director Joel Snyder. Snyder is a twenty-eight year veteran of audio description across the USA and abroad. He was one of the first audio describers in the United States.

For complete details, click here.

Updated: June 18, 2009

The Disabilities Network of NYC was interviewed for a piece in the New York Times City Room section on a new advertising campaign encouraging New Yorkers to remember to “please offer a seat” to disabled passengers on buses and subways. Those failing to do so may be fined $50.

But is the campaign necessary?

According to an article in the May 27, 2009 edition of the Washington Post, social scientists say commuters are so goal-oriented that they tune everything else out. That might be a way for people to "protect their own integrity" from too much outside stimuli, said Arline Bronzaft, a retired psychology professor at the City University of New York and a former consultant to New York City transit.

People are also more rude today, said P.M. Forni, a Johns Hopkins University professor and author of two books on civility. Established forms of deference and respect, including giving up seats, have declined. That's especially true in anonymous environments, such as the subway, he said. "In generations gone by, we had a strong incentive to behave in public in ways to conform to social norms," he said. "If we didn't, there was shame."

In the Times article, the Disabilities Network echoed this point.

“We’ve become less civil,” said Lawrence Carter-Long, executive director of the Disabilities Network of New York City. “I don’t think it’s malice, but in a city like New York, where you put your head down and just try to get from point A to point B, it’s even more of a problem.”

The Times piece also detailed recent bloggers who have chronicled their own troubles securing a seat on public transportation while injured or pregnant.

The effort seems to be something of a trend. City officials in Yokohama, Japan has dispatched volunteer volunteer "etiquette police" to patrol subway cars and -- politely -- ask passengers to give their seats to elderly, pregnant or disabled riders. Other cities like El Paso, TX have passed laws making it a misdemeanor, punishable with fines up to $500, for an able-bodied person younger than 65 to deny a seat to senior or disabled passengers in specifically marked areas of local buses.

Added: May 20, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Urge Assembly Chair Brennan To Jump Start Stalled Taxi Bill

Action is needed on Assembly bill A.7842 which would mandate all taxicabs in New York City to be accessible by 2012. It is currently stalled in Assembly Member Brennan’s Committee on Cities.  It is suspected they don’t want to move on the bill because of the cost.   Please contact him and urge that they allow the bill to be heard.


NOTE: The Assembly Member’s website doesn't include an email address, so you’ll need to go to his online contact form and paste your letter into it.


Please do so here: http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=044&sh=con



Assembly Member James F. Brennan
Chair, Assembly Committee on Cities
842 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY  12248

Dear Assembly Member Brennan:

I am writing to urge you to report A.7842, a bill to mandate that all taxicabs in New York City are accessible by 2012. It is currently awaiting action in your committee.

As a person with a disability, this issue is incredibly important to me. There are an estimated 60,000 wheelchair users in New York City, over 300,000 people who are blind or of low-vision, and approximately 10% of New Yorkers are deaf or hard-of-hearing. An untold number of other individuals have other forms of mobility impairments. For this large and diverse community, and for visitors to New York who have disabilities, taxis, a mode of transportation virtually synonymous with the New York City experience and one of the most important modes of transportation, is simply not accessible. In this most basic of ways, New York City lags behind other comparable cities, like London, England, where a 100% accessible taxi fleet has been maintained since 1989.

It is a matter of fairness and in the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act that all residents and visitors to New York City are afforded equal access to all modes of transportation.

I urge you to report A.7842 so that people like me can have more complete access to this important mode of transportation.

Thank you.


- Your name, address -

Disabilities Network joins Borough President Scott Stringer and NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, other advocates, to denounce proposed Access-A-Ride fare increase.

On Monday, December 15, the Disabilities Network stood with Borough President Scott Stringer and other advocates on the steps of City Hall in opposition to the Access-A-Ride fare increase as suggested by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The MTA has proposed more than doubling the Access-A-Ride fare for disabled passengers -- a whopping 150% increase -- and budget documents show the agency expects to realize only about $9 million from the fare hike, and almost $27 million from reduced use of the service by disabled riders unable to afford the increase. That's right, the MTA is conspiring to discourage disabled passengers from using the service as a means to save money.

Borough President Stringer said, “We all know the MTA’s budget problems are real, but balancing its books on the backs of disabled riders is simply not an option.  We all will have to make sacrifices, but riders with disabilities should not have to sacrifice their role in the larger community or be confined to their homes because we cannot find a broad solution to our transit crisis.”

“The proposal illustrates exactly the kind of backwards thinking the MTA into this mess to begin with,” said the Director of Advocacy for the Disabilities Network of NYC Lawrence Carter-Long. “Discouraging use and decreasing services while increasing costs for disabled passengers is not only bad business, it’s discriminatory.”

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. calls on City Hall and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to stop the Access-A-Ride fare hike at a news conference on December 16, 2008. Pictured (l to r) are: Edith M. Prentiss; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; Thompson; Lawrence Carter-Long; and, Michael Godino.

Photo credit: Marla Maritzer

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. calls on City Hall and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to stop the Access-A-Ride fare hike at a news conference on December 16, 2008. Pictured (l to r) are: Edith M. Prentiss; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; Thompson; Lawrence Carter-Long; and, Michael Godino.

The fight for fair fares continued at the office of NYC Comptroller William Thompson on Tuesday, December 16. The Comptroller called on Mayor Bloomberg to use a nearly forgotten Memorandum of Understanding created by Mayor Dinkin's in 1993 to block the ill-conceived proposal. 

“Raising these fares would place an incredible burden on people who already are, as a group, among the most economically vulnerable of New Yorkers,” Thompson said. “Under the MOU, the Mayor has the legal power to stop this increase from moving forward. I call on both the MTA to the City to do the right thing for Access-A-Ride users.”

Thompson -- who was joined by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the Disabilities Network along with other disability advocates -- made his announcement one day before the MTA votes on its 2009 budget, including the Access-A-Ride increase.

"We applaud Comptroller Thompson's call to stop the unfair fare increase for passengers with disabilities," said Carter-Long at the event. "By using existing memorandum of understanding to put an end to the Access-A-Ride fare debate, Mayor Bloomberg can -- with the swipe of a pen -- put the city back on track toward finding real, workable budget solutions."

Link to press release for Comptroller William Thompson's news conference: http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/press/2008_releases/pr08-12-184.shtm

News coverage on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's 12/15 press event: http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/united-states/mta-proposal-disabled-new-york-bus-routes-8620.html

Sign Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's petition to stop the fare increase:

The Disabilities Network of New York City holds

the first-ever, citywide

Accessible Taxi & Livery Forums


Members of the Disabilities Network of NYC have selected increasing accessible transportation options as a primary concern for New Yorkers with disabilities.  In order to address these issues, the Network partnered with a “blue ribbon” panel of decision-makers and experts from across advocacy, industry and government to examine the past, present and future of accessible taxi/livery service and answer YOUR questions at Accessible Taxi & Livery Forums in every borough.
FORUMS were moderated by the Disabilities Network of NYC.  PANELISTS included representatives of the City of New York Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), Taxis for All Campaign, Easter Seals, and A Ride for All.  TOPICS covered included the TLC’s Accessible Dispatch Pilot Project and solution-based approaches to increasing transportation options for New Yorkers with physical, visual and hearing disabilities. More details here. Event flier available here.  


"Tropic Thunder” –

Hollywood Still Doesn’t Get It

by Lawrence Carter Long

As posted on www.disaboom.com

Producers of the controversial comedy "Tropic Thunder" claim disability advocates are upset because they haven't seen the film in context. 

Lawrence Carter-Long has. 


Photo shows a woman holds a large, handwritten sign in front of her.  Text: IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING "PC" IT'S ABOUT DIGNITY

Photo courtesy of the the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State.

To those who have been in a cave the past few weeks, the film “Tropic Thunder” starring and directed by Ben Stiller featuring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jack Black, includes a plotline where Stiller's down and out action star previously portrayed "Simple Jack," an intellectually disabled person in an attempt to revive his career. After concerns were raised by disability advocates, a promotional website for “Simple Jack” was pulled prior to “Thunder’s” premiere.

As personal fan of satire with a provocative film series with disability themes of my own, I waited to reserve judgment on “Tropic Thunder” until after seeing the film.  What I saw disturbed me, but not for the reasons originally feared – or often discussed.

What's the fuss? Simplistic explanations point toward political correctness and understandable condemnation of the word "retard." If only it were that, um, simple.  A more thorough examination suggests the biggest mistakes made by DreamWorks were those of omission.


Disability Organizations Protest Use of “R-Word”
at Premiere of Tropic Thunder

"People with disabilities are not going to be victims anymore. 

This time, we're fighting back!"

Photo shows a line of people with signs on a city sidewalk.

Photo courtesy of the the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State.

Over 50 people from a cross section of Big Apple disability organizations united on August 13 at the NYC premiere of DreamWorks film Tropic Thunder to demonstrate against its negative use of the inflammatory word “retard” and the movies demeaning portrayal of people with intellectual disabilities.

"People with disabilities are not going to be victims anymore.  This time, we're fighting back!" says Disabilities Network Director of Advocacy Lawrence Carter-Long.

Many thanks to everyone who came out, especially our co-organizers at the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. Watch the news coverage from WABC-TV Channel 7 below!


Read the coverage of the protest as covered by ChelseaNow at:

More on this issue...


Lawrence Carter-Long

Disabilities Network of New York City




Close-up of Comptroller William Thompson

Comptroller To Audit Access-A-Ride,

Support Co-op Bill

Thompson Declares at Community Forum 

Thanks to all who attended the Disabilities Network's Community Forum with NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson in early June. 

The Comptroller announced two news items at the Forum.  In his opening remarks, he announced that he will audit Access-A-Ride, the City’s problem-plagued van service for residents with disabilities.

Later, under questioning from Craig Gurian of the Anti-Discrimination Center, Thompson declared his support of the Co-op Disclosure Bill, which would require housing cooperative boards to explain rejections of potential residents in writing.

He also fielded questions on numerous issues affecting New Yorkers with disabilities.  For a transcript of the Forum, please click here.



FREE Housing Workshop

for People with Disabilities

Sponsored by the Disabilities Network & NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)

Thanks to all who participated in our June 25th Free Housing Workshop with NYCHA.  The Workshop covered NYCHA's application process, priorities, practices and procedures and how to request a reasonable accommodation or file a grievance to an audience of people with disabilities, service providers and advocates.

This was our second Free Housing Workshop with NYCHA.  Future workshops planned!  To keep up-to-date on future events, please subscribe to our ListServ.



Message to Treasury:

Stop Discriminating Against the Visually Impaired

Decision is "an Equalizer," "Sensible," "Forward-Thinking"  

The Department of Treasury must redesign U.S. currency with tactile or visual cues for people with blindness and low vision, said NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson and the Disabilities Network at a June 2 press conference.  Several Network Members joined to call on the the Treasury to accept the recent federal appeals court decision that the currency discriminates against Americans with limited vision and must be changed.  

The decision is "an equalizer," said Alberta L. Orr, Disabilities Network Executive Director.




Network Member Carr Massi of Disabled In Action speaks at the podium in front of City Hall.  There is a crowd behind her.

Bills Aim for Better Service for Train, Bus Riders with Disabilities: 

Would Require Daily Elevators, Bus Lift Inspection and Create an MTA Council for Riders with Disabilities

UPDATE: Riders Council Bill Passes Assembly!

The Disabilities Network joined elected officials on May 10 to announce bills to reform how the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) serves riders with disabilities.

The bills would create a Riders Council for People with Disabilities and require daily inspection of station Network Director of Advocacy Lawrence Carter-Long speaking at the podium in front of City Hall.  Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stands to his left.elevators, bus lifts, and other access features.

Director of Advocacy Lawrence Carter-Long spoke at the press conference with Assembly Member Micah Kellner, numerous other officials and representatives of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, VISIONS/Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired, the United Spinal Association, Disabled in Action , the 504 Democratic Club, Taxis For All and the NYC Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  NY1 and WCBS covered the conference. 


Photos: Top: Network Member Carr Massi of Disabled in Action.  Bottom: Network Director of Advocacy Lawrence Carter-Long; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to his left. Courtesy of Assembly Member Kellner.  More photos



Eliminate Housing Segregation: 

Support Intro 685!

Despite NYC’s reputation for “diversity,” levels of residential segregation remain very high.  Indeed, the City is “more segregated now than it was in 1910."  This includes the segregation that results from the hundreds of thousands of buildings that are inaccessible to people with disabilities. 

That's why we support Intro 685 to Further Fair Housing Law, which includes various segregation-reducing actions, such as the creation of a database of inaccessible buildings and notification of landlords and the Human Rights Commission of access problems.

We thank Council Member Letitia James for introducing 685 and invite her colleagues to cosponsor it. And thanks to the Anti-Discrimination Center for organizing support for 685.


To endorse 685, email center@antibiaslaw.com

More info on the bill...


Disabilities Network of NYC:

Shaping  Policy.  Building  Community. Expanding  Opportunity.

c/o Fund for the City of New York, 121 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10013