Friday, April 27, 2007

Irish tourist reviews NYC accessibility

Peter Nolan, a wheelchair user from Ireland, visited New York City around St. Patrick's Day. He described his experiences here, a read worth the insights you'll gain. In summary, he had high praise for the city's public transportation, but not for the accessibility of tavern bathrooms. Said Nolan: .“Us Irish like to party and just because I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I don’t like a few social ones." (Times Square NYC photo by Darren Hillock)


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are brilliant engineers and designers, like Dean Kamen, who work in the field of accessibility. Hopefully we’ll continue to see more clever ways old buildings, stores, offices, pubs, etc., can be made accessible for all while still maintaining historic charm.

Big cities often have a few old pubs that are very narrow (this is even more common in Europe). They are fun places to hang out. They have a special ambience and most were built before indoor plumbing was de rigueur. They tend to have a very tiny space for a separate men’s and women’s toilet in the back and one must traverse the entire length of the establishment to find relief. Sometimes the pubs are so narrow and tables and seats are so close to the bar that I can hardly fit through the aisle to get to the facilities. I have been to many in Europe that have facilities located up two or three flights of very rickety stairs, located in the very back of the establishment.

My favorite pub in the US is Jessops Tavern in Newcastle, Delaware. It dates back to the 1700’s (1600’s?, 1500’s?) and a wheel chair restricted patron would have a lot of difficulty there on a crowded night.

These are cool places architecturally and historically, and it’s a fun experience to socialize in them. I’m sure keeping the ambience but making them accessible to all is within the abilities of our best Engineers if they focus their talents on the topic. - gdh


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