Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does Public Safety Department Renovation Relegate Roosevelt Island Disabled Community To Second Class Status As They Try To Enter Cultural Center?

I received the following message from Roosevelt Island resident Sharon Stern regarding what she feels was inappropriate behavior by members of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department as she tried to enter the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center. The renovation of the Public Safety Department office has required that the entrance to the Cultural Center be moved in such a manner that Ms Stern believes relegates her and other disabled people to second class status.
To Whom it MAY Concern?

A person with a physical disability living on Roosevelt Is
since before it was so dubbed, I am now in the 21st century
relegated to a second class status. We are restricted to back door
access to RIJC religious services and the Cultural Center, and this
through a circuitous route through the 546 lobby; to which I have

I had intended to write a complaint of the reprehensible
treatment to which I, my aide, and Judy Berdy were subjected by
Officer Lee, Sunday eve 9/27/09 on our way to religious services.
I'd been given to understand that under extenuating circumstances,
(rain or in my case, a malfunctioning wheelchair) I'd be 'allowed'
access through the Front door on Main St.. which now is the
entrance to Public Safety, (what a misnomer). (My aide was pushing
my chair.) Access was denied; Officer Lee (or Yee?) was 'Following
orders' (Where've I heard THAT before?) of Chief Guerra.
Yesterday Steve Shane, upon hearing of this unconscionable
situation, (from me on the phone) promised to strive for 'more
flexibility' from Chief Geurra. I later learned of a subsequent
meeting of the principals were Guerra allowed for no flexibility.
Whose running this joint anyway???

At 3:am this morning I came to my senses. Chief Guerra can
keep his flexibility and put it were the sun doesn't shine. I ask
no favors: I demand my rights as a tax paying citizen of the United
States of America.

I will not enter at the rear; this kind of abuse ended with
Civil Rights and the ADA. This whole extension of Public Safety
space, (and power, evidently) is a complete travesty. It is a
violation of 1. Human Rights, 2. ADA regulations, 3. the simple
human decency that once guided this island. It is, I fear, an
extension of the greed and corruption that is destroying our
country today.

Until this outrageous situation is rectified, either by a
reversal of PS policy or another architectural renovation, I
consider myself barred from access to RIJC services and the
Cultural Center.

Now to get my 2 WCs repaired; another fray; bucking another
beaureaucracy, (sp?). Too much for these 2 paralyzed shoulders to
Asked to comment, RIOC President Steve Shane replied:
I am meeting with all of the concerned parties and their advocates as soon as they can to jointly address the matter. We have carefully considered ADA requirements and are more than sympathetic to the special needs of our disabled population.
UPDATE 10/8 - Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra responds and RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin reports on possible solution for disabled community access to Cultural Center.


Anonymous said...

I am at a loss here. Since when does using the back door make anybody nowadays a second class citizen? Many public buildings are accessible for wheelchairs (or strollers) on the side or in the back only. It never bothered me. Are we running out of real issues to complain about?

Anonymous said...

I am at a loss as well. Can anonymous give a specific example of another public building converting from front door access to side or backdoor entry only for the existing residents ?

Anonymous said...

If the change was necessary for whatever reason what's the big deal? Just alone the fact that the entrance moved from the front to the back is not really abuse of any kind. As long as there there is a way for wheelchair bound folks to enter the building, i.e. all the requirements and laws are obeyed to, I don't think this complaint has any merit.

Anonymous said...

To MS. Stern - You don't need to have a key for the 546 lobby for access since you don't even need to use the lobby. You can go around through the courtyard which has no steps or otherwise blocked acces for disabled people in wheelchairs. Whats the big deal? It's not like there is a sign that says "NO DISABLEDS HERE!"

"I ask
no favors: I demand my rights as a tax paying citizen of the United
States of America."

Your right to what, tickle your fancy and cry like a baby when you have to make a small change in your small world?

The United States of America, to my knowledge, has no documents declaring the rights of citizens to "use the front door". Get off your horse and get a life.

And, whats up with calling Public Safety a misnomer and asking "Who's running this joint?" Maybe if you showed people more respect then you might get some in return.

Anonymous said...

Personally I feel that this nonsense that residents complain about should just be ignored all together. It would make the island a better place to live. Every day you hear on the street the "I've lived here for 20 years" or "public safety did this" or "housing management did this"

There must be a lot of residents who wanted to be actors or actresses, because this place is a damn soap opera. The problem is for the past 20 or whatever some odd years no one put a stop to the Roosevelt Island madness of residents getting what they want. 3 cheers for public safety on putting their foot down on this situation and having a backbone.

I would state my name as who I really am instead of anonymous, but I do not want the complainer of this ridiculous "problem" to start a complaint on me. I'll probably be banned from Trelis or something of that matter.

Anonymous said...

Sharon, had you come across the 4th floor and down the elevator in 546 (no key needed), and just turned right instead of left - you would have been able to go through the double doors with no problem. Sounds like you are making a mountain out of a moe-hill.