A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement With Off-broadway Theater Complex To Provide Wheelchair Accessible Seats

Manhattan’s 42nd Street Development Corporation To Sell Accessible Seats Online And Through Third Party Vendors And Give Two Tickets To The Disabled Monthly For One Year

Schneiderman: Theater Patrons With Disabilities Must Be Given Equal Access To Tickets

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an agreement with the 42nd Street Development Corporation that will help ensure equal access for patrons seeking to purchase wheelchair accessible seats. The agreement outlines steps that will be taken by 42nd Street, which owns and operates the Theatre Row theaters located near Manhattan's Times Square, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities ActAccessibility Guidelines, to ensure that accessible seating is sold during the same hours and in the same manner as general seating.  

"This agreement takes us one step closer to fully realizing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- encouraging independent living and providing equal opportunity. People with disabilities should have the same opportunities to enjoy places of public accommodation as all Americans, and theaters are no exception,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This agreement will help ensure that more New Yorkers have equal access to accessible seating. 42nd Street ought to be commended for its cooperation, diligence and commitment to providing equal access for patrons with disabilities.”

As part of today’s agreement, 42nd Street will make available a pair of tickets, including one wheelchair accessible seat and one companion seat, once a month for a year for Acorn Theatre performances, one of six venues in the theater complex located at 410 W. 42nd Street, to non-profit organizations that provide services to disabled New Yorkers. The seats will be distributed through a list of approved facilities.

During its investigation, the Attorney General's Office found that accessible seating was not made available in the same manner and through the same purchasing methods as other seating, thereby limiting the time and opportunities for persons with disabilities to purchase and secure accessible seating. Under the ADA, individuals with disabilities should have the same access to purchase theatre tickets as other members of the general public, whether those sales are conducted online or by third parties such as Telecharge.

This matter is part of Attorney General Schneiderman's ongoing initiative to promote compliance among theaters, sporting complexes and other public accommodations with ADA Guidelines. Those Guidelines, which were updated in March of last year, are designed to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities to purchase tickets for concerts, plays and sporting events as people without disabilities. The agreement ensures that, going forward, all accessible seating for Theatre Row productions will be sold online, over the telephone and through third party vendors in the same manner as general seating. These capabilities will be in place for all Theatre Row theaters by the end of January.

Christina Curry, Executive Director of the Harlem Independent Living Center, said, “Theaters and other places of public accommodation should fully comply with the ADA and all of its guidelines and provide equal access and opportunities for persons with disabilities. We appreciate the Attorney General's efforts to ensure that the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities are respected and that they are afforded the same chance to enjoy theatrical performances as all members of the public.”

This initiative is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Monica Iyer under the supervision of Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Janet Sabel. The Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General's Office is committed to enforcing the ADA and protecting the rights of all persons with disabilities in New York State. To file a civil rights complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov or visit www.ag.ny.gov.

A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed at: www.ag.ny.gov/pdfs/AOD-ACORN-THEATRE-AND-THE-42ND-STREET-DEVELOPMENT-CORP.pdf

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