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Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8,152 posts
45 reviews
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Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

Before buying our tickets via Statue Cruises, I had a lengthy conversation by phone with a park ranger about the access and use of elevators. We were told that since my MIL was 80 y/o and with health issues, we could take elevators from the ground/lobby level to the pedestal level (5P) and then back down to the lobby.

We were there earlier this week, and it was not that way at all. We did have to use the stairs in two places. Coming down we learned that we could take an elevator from the 5P level back down but only to 3P. Once on the elevator, however, because we were with someone with a walker they "let us" ride down the rest of the way with them (to the level with the museum). From there we were able to catch another elevator down to the ground level.

I mention this, not so much to complain but to let others know that if you are not obviously disabled (in a wheelchair or with a walker), you can expect to be hassled by the NPS staff and possibly not permitted to use the elevator system.

We were very frustrated especially since "going up" they separated us, not permitting my able bodied husband to ride up with us.to the museum level. They said we'd all be on the same level, but that wasn't the case and we spent 20 minutes looking for one another.

Syracuse, New York
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14,635 posts
29 reviews
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1. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

As someone with some minor disabilities, dealing with the able bodied can be challenging. I had a bus group tour place (that I'd used before) put me in a wheelchair accessible room because I have an ankle brace on one foot & the office manager decided that I needed a handicapped room. The problem is that such rooms are built with everything closer to the floor to accommodate users of wheelchairs & I'm 5'8" & everything was too short for me including the shower fixtures. And no, she didn't think to ask 1st!

Astoria, New York
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2. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

I would be inclined to write to the National Park Service to inform them of your disappointing experience.

http://www.nps.gov/accessibility.htm

http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/eeo.htm

Syracuse, New York
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14,635 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

Perhaps it would help to contact the Parks Service. Hopefully, the OP thought to get names which will be helpful. The problem tends to be in so many of these cases that the worker is not trained to deal with disabilities so either treats the disabled as idiot children or they see a chance to take out their frustrations from whatever on someone they consider too weak to fight back. Also, there is in many cases no consequences to bad behavior since the offending worker can retort that they were either doing their job as they saw it or were trying to protect others.

I once had a house manager in a theater I was working in complain to me that it was too much hard work to remove seats for a group of wheelchair users & so he put them in a back area of the theater. On the other hand, when I ushered I had someone hand me a ticket for a space designated for a wheelchair who was able bodied & she didn't even stop to think that not being in a wheelchair would be a problem (she had inherited the ticket from a deceased friend.)

Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

I find that a letter expressing profound disappointment gets the attention of management. (It's easier to dismiss anger as an outlier. Not that the OP was expressing anger.)

Since their website states: "This policy reflects the commitment to provide access to the widest cross section of the public and to ensure compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The NPS will also comply with section 507 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC 12207), which relates specifically to the operation and management of federal wilderness areas. The accessibility of commercial services within national parks are also covered under all applicable federal, state and local laws."

They should be concerned about any perception that they are not complying with the law. (CCing Statue Cruises might not be a bad idea as well, since unhappy visitors would not be good for them and they may be able to influence the need to assure a good experience. www.statuecruises.com/accessibility.aspx )

And yes, I agree it's a training issue that they should be asked to address.

Syracuse, New York
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14,635 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

Should something like that ever happen again, lower your voice several decibles & say in an insistant tone "I want to see the manager-NOW!" (What an ex-boyfriend called the loudest whisper he's ever heard.) If the person you are talking to either says they are the manager or the manager is unavailable, take down their name & the name of their supervisor-in front of them. If you have a phone where it wouldn't cost you too dearly to place a call, ask whom you can call to register a complaint.

Usually that gets the management's attention.

Minnesota
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445 posts
100 reviews
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6. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

My daughter is in a wheelchair and on our first trip to the SOL I went with her and we were separated from my mom and sister. It was a bit frustrating, but I also understand. If one person uses a wheelchair then their entire group goes along with them and this can really bog the small elevators down or you will find a large group of people getting priority seating or treatment because of one in the group. I'll note the recent fiasco at Disney World...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8,152 posts
45 reviews
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7. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

I appreciate all of the comments and suggestions here.

I plan on contacting the NPS and the Statue of Liberty folks when we get home from this trip. No, I didn't get the names of the two who were most offensive in their handling of the situation(s). I did keep a calm tone of voice, but asking for a manager when you are on the 5P level of the statue . . . or trying to make a cell phone call from inside where there was no coverage . . . were simply not options.

While it's been a couple of days now, and the emotion of the frustration has dissipated, I will follow-up next week.

All of that said, my point in posting wasn't to vent but to make sure others who may have a mobility issue or traveling with someone who does, be prepared for possible delays and hassles including being separated from some in your group.

Astoria, New York
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8. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

While I can understand that there are times a group with a disabled member might have to separate on the way up the pedestal, it seems to me that you got information that was incorrect and contradictory as well as inappropriate (if not outright rude) treatment.

You will be doing all future disabled visitors a favor if you make the management aware of this.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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9. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

Here's the update after my contact with the Statue of Liberty management:

"The Supervisory Park Rangers have reminded the front line personnel at the Statue of Liberty NM that medical issues that require use of the lifts and/or elevators are not always visible. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention."

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
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10. Re: Statue of Liberty for the Disabled

I'm glad they acknowledged the issue. I agree that being separated from the rest of a large group is to be expected, but they need to be better about making accomodatiosn for those not obviously in wheelchairs.

I'm glad you followed up!