Wheeling NY City

By Laurence Parent.

Wheeling NYC Video Blog

In October and November 2014, I blogged from New York City and conducted wheeling interviews with disabled New Yorkers. Our conversations in the city taught me more about what it means to wheel New York City. I made eight video blogs to share these experiences and also to document my research methods.

Elevator indicationsWheeling NYC Video Blog: Wireless Quest, September 30th 2014, 13:46 (English subtitles)

I have been in New York for less than 24 hours and my top priority is getting an American SIM card so that I can have access to the Internet on my phone. This video documents the first part of my journey to Harlem from Little Italy.

Frozen zone in ChelseaWheeling NYC Video Blog: Obama and Me, October 8th 2014, 2:17 (English subtitles)

For a few minutes, President Obama’s mobility and mine intersect. Power is displayed, choreographed and celebrated. This unexpected encounter makes me think about how often I feel like I am moving through a world that wants me to be powerless. How hard I have to fight to get on a fucking bus. How many worlds of difference are there between Obama and me?

Use the Turnstiles entrance confusionWheeling NYC Video Blog: Use the Turnstiles, October 11th 2014, 1:45 (English subtitles)

I still haven’t figured out how to use the so-called accessible door at the entrance of Broadway-Lafayette station. I insert my card in the machine next to the door. The machine tells me to “Use the turnstiles.” This short video shows what happens every time I use the turnstiles.

Platform 34th Street stationWheeling NYC Video Blog: It’s Not on the Map, October 14th 2014, 6:17 (English subtitles)

One thing you quickly learn when you navigate marginalized geographies is that there are not many maps and indications you can really trust. This video takes place on the platform of 34th Street Herald Square subway station. As I get off the subway car, I look to my right for indication of an accessible exit. There is nothing. I decide to go left.

Wheeling NYC Video Blog: Wet Floor, October 14th 2014, 2:17 (English subtitles)

An elevator is out of service. Its floor is wet.

Jeanne L'Hermite crossing a streetWheeling Interview with Jeanne L’Hermite – Clip #2, November 10th 2014, 4:03 (English subtitles)

Jeanne is blind. I use a wheelchair. What does it mean for us to get from Manhattan to Forest Hills, Queens where she lives? In these two short clips, Jeanne talks about her experience in navigating streets she is not particularly familiar with, like this one. She says she always tries to keep a map in her head as much as possible.

Sunaura and Laurence in Washington Square ParkWheeling Interview with Sunaura Taylor – From the Bay Area to NYC, November 18th 2014, 5:24 (English subtitles)

Sunaura Taylor and I meet in Washington Square Park on one of the first cold mornings of mid-November. In this short video clip, Sunaura talks about her move to New York City from Oakland last year.

Wheeling with Alejandra - Broadway Lafayette stationWheeling Interview with Alejandra Ospina – I am still afraid of it, November 28th 2014, 2:53 (English subtitles)

While we are waiting on the subway platform at Broadway-Lafayette station, Alejandra tells me about what it was like for her to start riding the subway, and also about the fear she still feels when she rides it now.


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