From the 123rd Annual Meeting column of the October 2008 issue of Perspectives on History
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities
Sharon K. Tune, October 2008
New York City is one of the most accessible cities in the world for visitors with disabilities. Here are a few resources that may prove helpful for those planning to attend the 123rd annual meeting.
DisabilityGuide.org is a free disability resource web site, which provides detailed accessibility information for many attractions and restaurants. The site can be accessed by vision impaired and screen-reader users. The 2007–08 New York City Access Guide is available via the web site for $5 shipping and handling.
Riding the subway is almost entirely out of the question for those in wheelchairs, as there are very few stations with elevators, but New York City Transit’s Access-a-Ride provides transportation for people with disabilities who are unable to use public bus or subway service for some or all of their trips. It offers shared ride, door-to-door paratransit service. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in New York City’s five boroughs, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Those interested in availing of the service must call 877-337-2017, 718-393-4999, TTY 718-393-4259, or TTY Relay 800-662-1220, press “1” for English and “1” to speak with eligibility staff between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Once approved, one to two days advance notice is required for each trip.
Wheelchair rentals are available through All City Mobility (212-366-1630), by e-mail at email@example.com, and online at www.allcitymobility.com). Rental prices include pickup and delivery to hotels.
Information about Hotels
The information that follows is provided to assist AHA annual meeting attendees with disabilities in obtaining the reasonable accommodations they require. Please refer to this information when making hotel reservations or arrangements to participate in program sessions and other events. In particular, guests should advise the selected hotel about specific needs when making room reservations.
All hotels have accessible lobbies; several have autoslide doors. Thresholds and doormats are in compliance with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and door-service personnel are available at most properties. Lobbies have marble floors and/or low-pile area carpeting. All hotels have accessible registration desks or provide clipboards to guests to complete registration documentation. Elevators connect all levels of each hotel. Each elevator has a wheelchair accessible keypad, Braille numerals beside each control button, and audible direction. Restrooms in lobbies and on meeting room floors are wheelchair accessible and have tactile signage.
All hotels have accessible guest rooms. The number of such rooms at each property is noted in the listing below. Among other amenities, these rooms feature wheelchair-accessible doors, levers/lever door handles, security peepholes, ample room space, grab bars in restrooms, low sinks with insulated pipes, accessible towel racks, and accessible mirrors. The following auxiliary aids are available at most properties: flashing fire alarm, doorbell, and telephone; vibrating alarm clock; closed-caption decoders; Braille signage; and TDD telephones.
Hilton New York
Entrance: The hotel’s main entrance on Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) is accessible.
Parking: The hotel offers valet parking at $48 per day (24 hours) for cars and $58 per day (24 hours) for vans and SUVs. The lot has designated spaces including van accessible spots. The valet entrance is located in the back of the hotel, on West 53rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
Guestrooms: 30 rooms are equipped for persons with disabilities—some for the hearing impaired only and others for both hearing impaired and wheelchair users.
Meeting rooms: Located on the concourse, second, third, and fourth floors, all meeting room floors are accessible by elevator.
Restaurants: The hotel’s outlets are accessible, Etrusca Ristorante, New York Marketplace, Bridges Bar, and the Lobby Lounge.
Sheraton New York
Entrance: The main lobby entrance on the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street is accessible.
Parking: Accessible parking spaces are available at $37 for a 24-hour period; guests should enter on 53rd Street. Maximum vehicle height is six feet, five inches.
Guest rooms: The hotel has 42 guest rooms that meet standard ADA requirements.
Meeting rooms: All meeting rooms on the second, third, and fifth floors are accessible by elevator.
Restaurants: All food and beverage outlets, Hudson Bar, Library Bar, and Avenue Restaurant, are accessible.
Entrances: The hotel has three entrances that are accessible: via the motor court using the Lexington and Towers entrance, as well as the main entrance at Lexington Avenue. There is an elevator that will take guests to the main lobby of the hotel, where the Front Desk and all elevators are located.
Parking: Short-term parking is available at the parking garage located at 138 East 50th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues. For registered guests of the hotel, the motor entrance is on 50th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues. The garage has a number of accessible parking spaces. Central Parking Garage provides the hotel’s valet-only parking ($50 for each 24-hour period); call 212-872-4640 for more information.
Guestrooms: The hotel has 17 accessible rooms with queen beds and five rooms with two double beds. The standard accommodation has grab bars in the bathroom as well as lower view holes in the entry door. Extra devices such as lighs that go on when the telephone or doorbell rings.
Restaurants: All restaurants and lounges—the Bull and Bear Steakhouse, Oscar’s Restaurant, and Inagiku—are accessible.
Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square
Entrances: The hotel’s entrance on the left side of Seventh Avenue at 47th Street is accessible.
Parking: The hotel has several accessible parking spaces; valet ($45) and self ($35) parking services are provided.
Guestrooms: Twenty-three suites are accessible, five with roll-in showers.
Restaurant: The hotel’s Center Stage Café and Cabaret Lounge are both accessible.
—Sharon K. Tune is convention director for the American Historical Assocaition.