Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rebar NYC

Now I must start off by saying I am not a huge fan of Brooklyn while born and raised in Queens I am a Mahattanite all the way. Maybe not in the having great amounts of money and throwing cocktail parties way, but in the I just love Manhattan and am waiting for my millions so that I can finally afford Gramercy Starck kind of way. But anyway, I do from time to time go out and do have some Brooklyn fun. My most recent excursion was at the ReBar located at 147 Front St. in Brooklyn. As I mentioned I generally don't do much in Brooklyn for pleasure but this was required as part of a work holiday party, however I was pleasantly surprised to find out for the most part it was fairly wheelchair friendly and the atmosphere was great. Although I don't recommend having to many drinks while here because bathroom wise it is not very wheelchair friendly.

On first glance the Rebar does not seem very accessible as there is a huge flight of stairs to get to the restaurant however they do have a wheelchair entrance. If you go to the end of the block and make a left which turns into Jay street, there is a set of double doors in which you can see The Best Chocoalate Cake in the World, enter through those doors and both on the right and left there are a set of elevators which you take to the second floor. Once you get upstairs you walk several feet, make a left and there you are. Two important notes: 1) There are no wheelchair signs that point to where the wheelchair entrance is. 2) There is a pole right in the middle of the doorway, so the smaller the chair the better. As I mentioned earlier, the bathroom it is not only difficult for wheelchair users but I would imagine difficult for most people with disabilities. Not only is your wheelchair unable to fit in the stall, but there are no grab bars and the toilet is very low to the ground. So even if you manage to get in the stall it is not easy to get onto and off the toilet. To top it all off, the toilet did not seem very steady, so I personally decided not to risk it.

The restaurant has a very fun atmosphere and the prices for lunch entrees are pretty good $10-$15 was the average and considering the price, the food was really good. Compared to Manhattan restaurants/ bars, the Rebar was very open and spacious. There is a variety of seating accommodations, couches, small tables, large tables and a bar area. It is set up in such a way that it is a place you could go to under a variety of settings. Since it is big and spacious, it is great for a big group, but its wooden tones and dark lighting still make it feel very warm and intimate. Although I would not classify it as romantic, it is more of a 3rd or 4th date kind of place.

Finally, I do want to mention that if you do plan to go down there, I recommend doing so by private transportation if possible. Many of the blocks near the Brooklyn Bridge/Dumbo area are not very accessible. Many of the blocks in the area are cracked, broken, and many lack curb cuts while some are even made of cobble stone, so I you can forgo walking or taking public transportation, do it. Overall, the restaurant is a good choices, pretty decent prices, delicious food and a great atmosphere. But remember pee before you get there and try to get there by cab, car, or access-a-ride.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Simply Fondue

Okay, so my first restaurant review is not of a restaurant in NYC but out on Long Island, Great Neck, to be specific. Simply Fondue of Great Neck. Let me start of by saying how much fun this was... well for the most part (Not having the best fine motor skills does pose a bit of a challenge during the fondue experience). But the basic idea is there is pots of cheese, chocolate, etc... and you dip various kinds of food in the dips. The dipping part was not too bad, it was getting the food on the skewer that would sometimes pose a challenge, but that is what good friends are for. In terms of the seating and table arrangements, it was pretty accessible. I have a pretty tall chair and I sit on a tilt, so I did have to lower my chair a bit so I could comfortably roll under, but since the table was fairly steady I was able to comfortably lean on the table. My friend who was in a manual chair was able to roll under the table without a problem, however, she did sometimes have trouble reaching over to some of the pots, this is where able bodied friends really came in handy.

Aside from the question of can I get inside into particular locations, my other other major concern is if the bathroom is accessible or not. Simply Fondue's bathroom is fairly simply accessible (Sorry! Corny I know). It would have been a bit nicer if the bathroom door swung outward. It did take a bit maneuvering to get my chair past the door but once I was in I was okay. The toilet was of average height; not too low not too tall and the grab-bar was just in the right place. Since there was nothing underneath the bathroom sink, I was able roll under, although I did have to get someone to help me reach the soap.

I probably should have started with information about the entrance earlier but here it is. There is a wooden ramp that seems to have been built over a couple of stairs, it seems to be ADA compliant as it was not abnormally steep or anything. Then there is a set of glass doors you have to open (there is no push button) which is fine if you are with someone but may be problematic if you cannot open doors and you are alone because the restaurant is upstairs and so there isn't people around to help with the door. Once you get past the door you walk a couple of feet and there is the elevator that takes you upstairs. Simply Fondue is a fun place to have cheesy, chocolately goodness that is accessible to all.

Simply Fondue of Great Neck
24 Great Neck Road
Great Neck, NY 11021-3305
(516) 466-4900


Notice anything ironic about this photo?

Introduction to Wheels in the City

I want to start this blog by introducing my self and explaining my purpose. My name is Toni and I am a native New Yorker and one of the things I love about living in New York is the many different things to do and try. Having a physical disability changes how you go about deciding what to do, where to go, and how to get there. There are so many reviews of restaurants and activities to do in NY, but never do they mention accessibility. And of course we all know that calling and asking someone if their establishement is accessible doesn't always help ie; You call and ask if something is accessible, you get there and it turns out that there is a bunch of steps. What accessible means to some does not always mean the same for a wheelchair user.

Well, here is a place that does. I plan to review places, not so much for the typical stuff such as price and tastiness but for accessibility (Bathrooms, doors, tables and overall wheelchair maneuverability)

As always feel free to comment :)