Sometimes it takes a personal experience to care about something that doesn’t directly affect you. This is exactly what happened with Jennifer Feinberg when her brother Andrew, born with spinal bifida, opened her eyes to how difficult it can be finding accessible restaurants and entertainment venues in their hometown of New York City.
To resolve this problem, she decided to launch a smartphone app dedicated to helping find an accessible anything – restaurants, entertainment venues, you name it – in New York City. It’s called Wheel New York and it’s aiming to be the most all encompassing accessibility app ever created for New York City; and the good news, it’s *this close* to becoming a reality.
The truth is that the app should’ve been available by now, but unfortunately they didn’t meet their Kickstarter goal of $50,000 by August 31, 2013. They got a pretty good chunk of money from the site, $18,114, but it was not enough to fully develop the app and do a full scale launch. The Feinberg family however is not giving up. They’re determined to see Wheel New York become a reality. In fact, they’re looking for help right now. Visit their site here if you’d like to offer your services
Jennifer Feinberg however is not the first person to consider developing an accessibility app for New York City. In fact, many accessibility apps exist and include New York City among the cities they profile. Citirollers was a great travel app for NYC, Boston and London, but it’s not been available for two years.
And then you have New York City Subway KICKmap Light, a great app for the subway system in NYC. It even indicates accessible shops and restaurants you can visit between routes so you can find your way around the most accessible way in this crazy town.
Another app you can get that includes an impressive section on NYC is AbleRoad, an app that connects directly to Yelp so you can see the user reviews in the accessibility section. Check out the app on Google Play: AbleRoad
In general however, no app so far has done an amazing job. NYC is so big, the only way the app could be as thorough as it needs to be is if it was driven by user reviews. Wheel New York has this going for it. It wants to be the go-to app for accessibility in NYC and if we can secure their funding, they surely will be.
I really hope to see this app happen. It’s a shame this company didn’t reach their Kickstarter goal. A lot of refined wheelers would love these features not to mention how scary it is scary getting around NYC when you use a wheelchair. This app could prevent many a panic attack, and that’s a great thing when making your way through such a big city.
What’s not to love? You’ll need at least an Android or iPhone to use any of the above apps.
Learn more: Wheel New York Kickstarter’s page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1197150324/wheel-new-york-accessibility-app-for-disabled-and