The ups and downs of a day in Manhattan if you’re disabled
Today as usual to go to Manhattan we had to go to www.mta.info.com to find out if all the trains were running and if the elevators a wheelchair using person need to get from train to train were also working, alas the website said every elevator from flushing on the seven to 42nd st times square to connect to the 1 train to come above ground at 96th st were broken and again for the journey home were broken.
The appointments today could not be missed, so as I have done many times before I was facing getting out of my chair to the floor to crawl up and down a total of seven flights of stairs the equivalent to seven flights of stairs.
Well as usual even when giving bad news the MTA can’t get it right, and lucky for my dignity this time every elevator was working. Great you say but think for a moment if I had cancelled important appointments and later found out they were not, I would have missed necessary medical care for nothing.
So we took Zeus with us and he walked perfectly sat at every light sat well behaved on the subway.
When I got to my therapist she got down to his level and introduced herself, and then zeus went to sleep while she and I worked through this week’s demons.
Afterwards Ella who was sick and had to go to her own doctors while I was in therapy, met me on 96th and riverside. We decided to go to whole foods and buy vegan bento boxes and lunch in central park. Well the big tests for a service dog are interacting with the public when out with me in my chair and especially with children
Of course how they react to other dogs and animals well is equally important. In central park Zeus was mobbed by cute kid and came through with flying colors, nothing but joy and licks and enjoying belly rubs. As every New Yorker knows central park is dog walker central, so Zeus was tested at every term and did nothing but sniffs and kept walking we were very pleased he passed the test.
Then we headed for 72nd and Broadway because even though it was 24 blocks away it was the only accessible stop with elevators in the area. As we went to the subway the ignorance of New Yorkers to the disabled became evident very quickly.
When did people start looking at a sidewalk and seeing a wheelchair with a service dog and barely six inches between them and the wall and 7 feet the other side. Even though they haven’t been slim since Nixon was president and they are dragging the shopping cart with them, they choose the six inches kicking the dog while knocking me in the body with a handbag weighing 20lbs and then they scream “no go fuck yourself” when you complain! The lack of compliance to the ADA* by businesses in manhattan is astounding, check out the screwed up ramp below.
We stopped at starbucks and Zeus slept under my chair, we went to eastern mountain sports and he was perfectly behaved. We continued on to the subway and a man carrying a fishing rod at least 30 ft long broken into two pieces kept swinging it within inches of my side and Zeus’s head, and when I politely asked “please be careful you almost hit me and the dog “ he replied “fuck off and get rid of the dog”.
We finally made it to the subway, and even though Zeus wears an approved appropriately and clearly marked service dog vest, people muttered “what the hell is a damn dog doing on the subway”. Then once we were on the subway the dangers of getting on and off the train in a wheelchair was clear as in the photo below.
Then once we were back in flushing which is a largely Asian community the streets became hell, Can I ask one thing without sounding racist? what is it with the Chinese and Korean communities and dogs? They are doctors, lawyers scientists and violin virtuosos and can carry the decimal point in pye to the thousandth place by ten years of age. Yet faced with a 6 month old puppy they scream, “NO DOG NOG PLEASE NO DOG” and walk into moving traffic risking life rather than walk within 6 feet of Zeus.
They stare angrily then they demand he gets off the side walk and they even cry? Go figure!
So finally were home and he’s asleep, and we’ll do it all again Wednesday and Thursday so till then.