Two weeks ago you could have found me on one of my favorite haunts The Highline park in Chelsea. I have haunted that place for the last 3 years and enjoy it’s tranquility. Being in a wheelchair has its limitations but none more than using public bathrooms, but up until that day The Highline had the cleanest in Manhattan.
This day however, when I rolled into the bathroom, the disabled toilet stall was padlocked with a professionally moulded plastic sign reading “PERMANENTLY OUT OF ORDER.” Crossing my legs metaphorically and dangerously close to having an accident, but knowing the nearest other disabled facility was a block away and down 2 floors. So I asked the staff why it was permanantly closed and was told the following, “YOUR KIND DON’T COME UP HERE MUCH SO WE ARE NOT GOING TO BOTHER FIXING IT.” OUR KIND? I asked the woman should we also ride the back of the bus next? She replied you guessed it “I JUST WORK HERE.”
So I made it just in time to the Chelsea Market bathroom, then got a great coffee from Buone Italia and posted the experience.
MY dear friend Judith emailed The Highline telling them it was unacceptable, and she was sent a reply that The Highline was completely accessible and there was no problem with the bathrooms. Angrily I rang them and left a message stating it did happen, it happened to me.
Well surprise 3 days later I just got off the phone with the boss of The Highline, after she ate a healthy brunch of humble pie with a side of Mea culpa, I have been assured that the sign comes down immediately, the lock disappears and the plumber is on their way. Well you might say it’s only a toilet, but hey you gotta pee, when you gotta pee and I can tell you The Highline would have accessed every grant they could find to build ADA complaint facilities. Build it and they will come, so when they do it better be open for business or give the grant back.