When I finished interviewing Christopher Reeve in 2002, I dropped off my rental car in Newark, then rode a train into New York City and somehow found a rare accessible cab that took me to my hotel and on to Yankee Stadium, my one Big Apple excursion.
If I had driven into the city with my Oregon disabled parking placard, I would have been ticketed, maybe towed. New York City does not recognize disabled parking permits other than its own, not even New York State permits. And the process of getting a NYC permit is “onerous and discriminatory,” says Nora LaCorte, a wheelchair user from Carlsbad, Calif., whose visit to the city was a nightmare.
“Please change New York City’s policy of discrimination due to its non-recognition of out-of-state placards for disabled drivers,” wrote La Corte in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg. “I got no response from anyone to this letter,” she says in a handwritten note on a copy of the letter sent to New Mobility. “Please warn readers. I received a big fine and my appeal to the Mayor was denied.”
You can apply online for a NYC disabled parking permit, but you must satisfy 11 requirements, among them: provide a valid copy of your driver’s license or ID card; provide copies of registration of all vehicles in which your city placard may be used; provide certification from your physician that you have a severe permanent mobility impairment (a New York City Department of Health physician must also approve the certification); and appear at an assessment center for a required certification assessment appointment.
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