New York legislator Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) is pushing an initiative to give disabled people discounted tickets to the city’s cultural institutions.

Crowley, who is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, sent a letter to the Department of Cultural Affairs encouraging them to give disabled people the same benefits as seniors and young people when it comes to tickets.

“I am requesting that your agency introduce discounted ticketing for people with disabilities at all NYC institutions. It is imperative that we eliminate all barriers to entry that a person living with disabilities might feel precludes them from enjoying this city’s many cultural offerings,” Crowley said in a June 13 letter to Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tim Finkelpearl.

“While many of the city’s cultural institutions offer discounted tickets for groups such as the elderly and students, few extend any such benefits to people with disabilities… I strongly believe that allowing people living with disabilities to purchase discounted tickets in the same vein as seniors and students would do a great deal to expand access to these resources in a critically under-served community.”

The New York Post newspaper reported that one disabled advocate, Adrian Edwards-Smith, launched a campaign to push cinemas and museums to give federally disabled New Yorkers discounts, as they do for senior citizens and children.

Edwards-Smith reportedly said he’s appealing for help from New York’s congressional representatives, because the administration led by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been “unresponsive.”

“It’s not just about physical accessibility. It’s about financial accessibility,” he said. “That was a beautiful letter sent by Congressman Crowley. It was very forceful.”

In the future, Crowley said he wants to see Congress pass a law requiring all cultural institutions across the country to provide discounts to people with disabilities.

A spokeswoman for the city agency said: “The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs is dedicated to the inclusion of people with disabilities, and just last month launched the Disability Forward Fund to support arts and cultural organisations in deepening their own efforts to engage this important community.

“While DCLA does not set the admissions policies of private non-profit organisations, we are always open to working with them on new ways to provide all New Yorkers access to and inclusion in the vibrant cultural life of our city.”

Image: Max Pixel