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NYC Nightclub Bars Wheelchair User, Faces Protest

NYC wheelchair user Michael Harris has hired a lawyer after the Star nightclub in Manhattan refused to admit him on New Year's Eve.

"They basically told me they had a policy not to admit people in wheelchairs," Harris said. "They told me that if I didn't leave they would pick me up and take me out of my wheelchair and throw me into the street."

Harris did not stick around to see if the bouncers were serious about the threat, but he did return to the club a short while later with a handmade sign to protest his treatment.

This past weekend, Harris was back at the Upper West Side club to stage another protest, and this time he was joined by City Council members Gail Brewer (D-Manhattan) and Melissa Mark Viverito (D-Manhattan), as well as fellow disabled activists.

"This issue goes beyond the legality of the situation to the morality of it," said Lawrence Carter-Long of the Disabilities Network of NYC, of which Harris is a member. "If this was any other minority group, we as a society would never accept this kind of discrimination, so why should we accept it for someone in a wheelchair?"

Read story, Wheelchair user presses protest against club (Newsday)


From the original news article:
"Since many of New York's nightclubs are in older buildings that predate disabled access laws, they can avoid costly renovations by demonstrating that they would be a financial hardship.

"This is a basement nightclub and has been a club for 40 years," said Mark Glazer, a spokesman for Star. "Adding wheelchair access would cost upwards of $13,000, and that's more than this venue can afford."

Well, gee - they have been around for 40 years. That means they were around 15 years ago when the ADA was passed. And 15,000 is unreasonable for a hot New York night club?
Well, ok - I will give you that - but 1,000 isn't. And if the idiots would have saved 1,000 a year since the dang law passed, they would have more than enough to have installed the lift.

Sorry - it is their problem. And also the government offers tax breaks and assistance to businesses who do upgrades, so it might cost 13,000, but they would have gotten some of it back. And a business loan might even have tax breaks, too.

Gee - maybe their accountant should have told them all this - as it stands, they now might have to not only pay the 13,000, but they are accruing legal fees, and possible fines, and also maybe even a monetary settlement. It would probably have been cheaper to save 1,000 a year and just obey the law.

I think all types of discrimination are horrendus. However it is RAMPANT in NYC nightclubs and lounges. The latest technique involves the "bottle service". If they don't like the way you look they will swallow their elitist pride if you are willing to pony up 200 plus dollars and buy a bottle. All this while the skinny blonde walks right past the snobby clipboard people. I happened upon this page because I was so offended about what happened to my Japanese girlfriend tonight. I was observing from about 5 feet away. I watched as she was told the only way she would get in would be to buy expensive bottle service.

This new type of discrimination has to be stopped!!!!

A similiar thing happened to my boyfriend and I at at the club Metropolis in Miami. After waiting in line for a couple hours in the VIP line (our friend was the DJ for the night), we were told that "it really wouldn't be a good idea" and that it was too crowded for everyone and people were having a hard time breathing...they claimed that the fire marshall would be there any minute anyways and some would have to leave. While I MAY have made a decision on my own as an adult that it wasn't safe for me..that was MY decision to make. No one else was being denied access.

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