Archive for the ‘Disability access’ Category

Macy*s Fireworks…Elderly and Disabled Need Not Attend (unless you don’t mind watching from 52nd St, apparently)


Since I was in NYC this 4th, I went down to see the Macys fireworks, hoping for a nice, festive occasion, and as usual got there really early so I could get a good position. I had my toys to play with (tatting, paperfolding) and a cloth to sit on…as usual. I had missed last two years’ shows, so I wasn’t really prepared for the horrible sight lines you get on the Hudson. The show was moved from the East River to the Hudson two or three years ago. But OK, we’ll deal with that. Then, at about 6:30, the police started telling people they couldn’t sit on blankets. Mind you, this was about three hours before the show was scheduled to begin. So everyone put away their blankets and sat on the pavement, or folded them into tiny cushions…bang go the picnics. If that wasn’t bad enough, about 40 minutes later, the police started announcing (even yelling through bullhorns) that no sitting was allowed, although they didn’t seem to bother the few who brought lawn chairs. ( Mind you, I called the Macy*s “Hotline” when I got home and found that the instructions included a line that asked the public not to bring blankets or lawn chairs, but nowhere did I find this repeated in printed information!) So for over two hours people were expected to stand…including small children, women with babies, elderly people. People were shifting from foot to foot, taking off shoes, complaining about their backs, and at least one person who told a cop she couldn’t stand for two hours was threatened!

I was going to have to go home…My foot gets uncomfortable if I stand too long, and I am having an operation next week to repair a torn meniscus, I went to ask to speak to a supervisor…there wasn’t one there, but the cop I spoke to told me “you can sit.” So I did, and eventually, the most of the crowd rebelled and sat down. By then, the lady with the baby on her hip and another clutching her skirt had given up and gone home. Gotta say, it felt like some sort of weird detention pen, not like a 4th of July celebration. Some people from Boston were telling me how much fun the Boston show is, compared to NYC’s.

So this is my last NYC Macy*s fireworks, at least until they move it to the East River again…next year, back to Washington DC!

Macys Fireworks viewing area

This is where I was, not long before the police decided it was too crowded for people to relax on blankets. You can see how how for some people the view would be blocked.

macys fireworks

People resting their feet.

Macys Fireworks 2012

The hoi poloi vs the privileged: Looking through the shoulders of two guys in our holding pen, out towards the riverside views enjoyed by the privileged.

Sorry this is such a gripe, but it seems so unfair that people who can’t stand for long periods can’t enjoy this event, and Macy’s doesn’t even give us fair warning! Why not say…”Only for people who can stand for 2 1/2 hours.”

Oh, and yes, I did see later that they had reserved DeWitt Clinton Park for the elderly and disabled, but many people who are not certified as disabled still can’t stand for 2 hours or more!