Op-ed: Eric Adams, the disabled community wishes you well — but we ask for your support


Dear Eric Adams,

Now that it is official, that you are the Democratic choice for Mayor of NYC, as a disabled New Yorker, I wish you great success to heal the wounds that have sadly been inflicted upon our incredible city.

Five boroughs cry out for peace, calm, and an end to violence and negativity. Five boroughs cry out for a leader who will listen, and will always be there for them. November should be a breeze for you, Mr. Adams, as Curtis Sliwa is not the future of NYC. He never was, and never will be.

Within the five boroughs reside almost 2 million Disabled New Yorkers who, like myself, are now anxiously looking at you, hoping that you will be their champion. A true friend. There is no reason on earth why NYC could not be the friendliest, and the most progressive city in America for all the residents, tax payers, and voters who are disabled, and for every tourist who visits NYC who are disabled.

“Physical Accessibility” and “Financial Accessibility” must be paramount for the Adams Administration so that all those who are disabled receive no physical barrier (ADA) and those who are disabled, who lack funds, will never lack for “Financial Accessibility” akin to what students, seniors and veterans receive in the form of free entry, discounted entry, and discounted memberships to culture, the arts, sporting events, and more.

In this year 2021, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that a disabled New Yorker, or a disabled tourist should not receive free entry or discounted entry to the 34 cultural institutions that sit on city-owned land, called the CIG Group. Taxpayers fund this group with over $300 million dollars a year, and yet every disabled visitor is turned away when they ask for specific entry policies. This discrimination must end, Mr. Adams, as you personally will have full control of the policy admissions to all the CIG Group as mayor of NYC, and you alone can make this decision for the “Disabled Community” who ironically all pay taxes.

Also as mayor, you can ask that every private Cultural Institution in NYC offer discounted entry, and discounted memberships, as they all receive huge city, state and federal tax breaks, with many also receiving generous city funding.

The Museum of Modern Art, for example, received $184 million of city funding for their recent renovations, and yet MOMA refuse both the disabled and seniors to discounted memberships, while actively promoting discounted memberships to students. MOMA clearly promote youth, and punish those who are seniors and those who are disabled — this is simply outrageous.

The Whitney Museum, the Frick, and the Guggenheim also refuse the “Disabled Community” discounted memberships, and this discrimination must end, as it is absurd that a disabled visitor can receive a discounted entry to private Cultural Institutions, but are then refused discounted memberships, and yet both of these policies are happily applied to every student. The message is clear: “Promote youth and healthy students, and punish, and ignore those who are disabled and elderly.” Surely, this acute duscrimination must end under the Adams Administration?

When Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States, he held the microphone close and said that under his watch, no Disabled American would ever be wanting, and the first ever “Office for Disabilities” is currently being constructed and staffed in Washington, DC. Historic, truly historic.

The disabled of NYC and the disabled of America, are now looking closely at you, Mr. Adams, to witness your wisdom and your guidance to pull NYC from the brink of destruction when you proudly take office next year.

The “Disabled Community” simply ask to begin a new chapter, and to have you as their true friend, and staunch ally in the years ahead. That is my fervent wish to you.

The past is the past. Let us collectively march forward to a brighter NYC, where every disabled child and every disabled adult will be given every tool possible to make their lives more livable, and hence, more wonderful. A NYC where every disabled New Yorker, and every disabled tourist will smile when the name of Eric Adams is mentioned.

Mr. Adams, as mayor you could do all this and more, which would allow other cities and mayors across America to follow your exemplary policies and creative ideas, and thus receive not only the thanks of the “Disabled Community” but also from the POTUS.

This is the page in history that the “Disabled of NYC and America” have been waiting for — and I will be more than happy to help in any way I can. 

“Financial Accessibiliy” is absolutely neccessary, as the vast majority of the “Disabled Community” survive on approximately $21 a day to eat three meals, and truly struggle while on social security disability payments each month. So how can they possibly pay for example, $26 entry admission to the 911 Memorial Museum, when free entry is offered to other groups.

This behavior is yet another classic example as to how the disabled are treated. This behavior must end.

All it takes is a wise leader leader, a just leader and a leader who will promote “Financial Accessibility” and “ADA Accessibility” in New York City. This is what you, Eric Adams, can promote, and there is much work to be done.

ADA law is paramount, so that no business in NYC is inaccessible for wheelchairs, and all residential buildings are upgraded. We, the disabled of NYC, ask for your hand in true solidarity, so that we can accomplish this, and much more.

We patiently await your reply, Mr. Adams. Will you please help us?

Adrian Edwards-Smith is an advocate for the Disabled of NYC and America. He can be reached at [email protected].