Wednesday, November 30, 2011
No barrier-free visit to Brooklyn would be complete without visiting one of the most mythical seaside destinations on earth.
Coney Island is a sensory overload of roaring roller coasters (the Cyclone, world renown, but not accessible), towering Ferris Wheels (Deno’s Wonder Wheel, a landmark that has towered over the Boardwalk since 1920, is accessible) and a world-famous strand (totally barrier-free), forever immortalized on black and white postcards displaying hordes of humanity assembled at the Atlantic in a by-gone era.
Heading toward the ocean on W. 16th Street, visitors come upon an iconic figure used in many movies.
The old Parachute Jump, a part of Steeplechase Park’s heyday, rocks gently in the summer breeze.
The landmark ride entertained Coney Island visitors from 1941 until ’65. It’s been repainted and shored up, but chances are slim that funseekers will ever again ride its parachutes to the ground.
The Boardwalk is plenty wide to accommodate wheelers, Rollerbladers, walkers and all other visitors to the beach.
An eastward stroll and roll on the Boardwalk takes visitors past the ocean on one side and the old time shooting galleries and various amusements on the opposite side.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
BROOKLYN To walk off the calories from Junior’s, stop at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a verdant oasis in this dense, urban, stickball-playing-in-the-streets borough. Roll among wide paved paths. Explore the Steinhardt Conservatory -- a series of glass structures so beautiful that wedding parties seem to be perpetually posing among its palms and perfect leafy backdrops. The conservatory is very accessible and there’s an elevator down to barrier-free restrooms. The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden is one of the oldest outside of the land of the rising sun. The looping, gently sloped roll around the pond is so peaceful, one completely forgets about the frenetic cacophony of the surrounding city. In the summer, the Lily Pool Terrace delights with tropical water lilies blended with elegant lotuses and other aquatic plants displayed in large ponds. The beauty can be viewed easily from wheelchair height – there are no rails or obstructions. The pool attracts dozens of photographers -- pro and amateur -- spellbound by the floral delights and the magnificent reflections they cast into the water.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Brooklyn. Is there any other word in the American vocabulary that conjures up so many images?
Hearing the word “Brooklyn” instantly paints pictures of a spectacular and famous bridge, a much-parodied accent, a world of Italian pizza houses and Jewish delis and the home of Coney Island.
Brooklyn is the stuff of movies and stand-up comic routines and teary-eyed nostalgia for the Dodgers, who packed up for LA in the fifties.
Brooklyn has so much art, architecture, ethnicity, history, culture, neighborhood character and unique dining, it would take more than a month to explore it.
Fortunately, the mystical place over the bridge from Manhattan can be explored and experienced quite well by wheelchair. To meander freely about without freezing, it’s best to visit between mid-May to mid-October.
Brooklyn can be reached from a Manhattan hotel by rolling over the completely accessible Brooklyn Bridge walkway or taking a taxi or lift-equipped bus on the famed bridge’s roads. Nothing, however, beats the drama of arriving by water.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
ROMPING THROUGH WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE MANHATTAN
By Steve Wright and Heidi Johnson-Wright
NEW YORK -- Millions of Manhattan city lights twinkled to the left of us while the East River and its magnificent bridges beckoned to the right. We were 23 stories above the city, sipping martinis, listening to live jazz standards on the piano and soaking up the sights at the Top of the Tower lounge. From our lofty perch amid art deco splendor in the peak of the Beekman Tower, we’d reached that magical time when traveler’s exhaustion gives way to a kind of devil-may-care euphoria that justifies every dollar spent on toney restaurants, skyrocketing hotel rates and rising air fares. The Beekman, a deco-drenched gem and a landmark in the city since its 1928 opening, earns our triple-A rating: scoring high marks in architecture, atmosphere and access for people with disabilities. We did our best to combine our love of design and need for accessibility with our third must -- an endless quest for a sense of place, that intangible thing we call atmosphere.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
NEW RATING SYSTEMS FOR GREEN NEIGHBORHOODS IS INAUGURATED
By Steve Wright
In a short decade, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has become the standard for measuring the sustainability of a building. With everyday people fighting soaring energy costs and striving to spend their dollars efficiently in a bad economy, LEED has gone from an obscure movement to a clear concept in the vocabulary of mom and pop consumers. But a number of leading urbanists began to realize that if applying LEED standards to a building is good, developing a system of LEED standards for every aspect of neighborhood development would be great. And that is exactly what a herculean effort by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the Natural Resources Defense Council has achieved. Born of a balloting process among planning and sustainability experts, the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System (LEED-ND) integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design.