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Things We Are Doing
Please check back regularly for updates.
Recent Things We Have Done
GNYCB Members Participate in PSA Video for ACBNY
Three of our members - Fitz Martin, Yasmin Campbell, and our President, Terence Page - recently participated in a PSA video for the ACBNY Diversity Committee. The goal of the video is to help the organization reach out to a more diverse population while highlighting the many strengths and accomplishments of ACBNY and our chapters. You can
Watch the Video Here
PASS Coalition Applauds New Level of Pedestrian Access for Blind and Deaf-Blind New Yorkers
The Pedestrians for Accessible and Safe Streets (PASS) Coalition was founded by eleven organizations that represent people from across the disability spectrum - most of which focus on the needs of blind and visually impaired people in New York City (NYC). Specifically, PASS has advocated for the expanded and proper installation of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) devices, which communicate critical information about walk signals through sounds and vibrations.
After two decades of gradual APS installation, at the end of 2020 (the latest data available) there were 749 locations with APS. That equals 5.6% of NYC’s
13,430 signalized intersections. Previous city proposals would have only achieved complete APS coverage by mid-century. The PASS Coalition congratulates
the American Council of the Blind of New York State (ACBNY, a PASS member) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), who went to court to seek a more equitable and accelerated plan for installation of these critical devices. U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that the city must install APS at a minimum of 9,000 of its signalized intersections by 2031, which, in addition to the approximately 1,000 already in place, will achieve 70% coverage over the coming
decade. Furthermore, the court has directed the city to have installed APS at all signalized intersections by 2036.
The PASS Coalition has always advocated for an accelerated timetable and this ruling roughly doubles the rate of APS deployment relative to city proposals.
We especially appreciate Judge Engelmayer’s recognizing the importance of prioritizing APS at intersections with Lead Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) and other
design features that present heightened hazards to people who are blind. The ruling lays out procedures for oversight and community input to make sure APS targets are being met.
PASS looks forward to continuing to offer its support and assistance to the Department of Transportation. With such a significant increase in annual APS
installations, it is especially important to ensure that these installations are happening in a consistent way that serves the needs of the blind community.
PASS Chair, Dr. Karen Gourgey: “PASS is proud to have partnered in this effort by documenting the problem and its dangers through letters from individual members, and by suggesting solutions through witness testimony.”
Member Hayden Dahmm: “When I moved to NYC in 2018, I was overwhelmed by the number of complex, inaccessible intersections in my neighborhood. As a blind person, I felt deeply unsafe and restricted. When a single nearby intersection was then equipped with APS, it dramatically expanded my independence and sense of security. I’m excited to think what thousands of added APS installations will mean for the mobility and basic dignity of blind New Yorkers.”
For additional information and inquiries, or to speak to a blind and/or low vision individual impacted by the court decision, contact PASS Chair Dr. Karen
Gourgey at email@example.com
or PASS Co-Chair Raymond Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org
ACB Community Events List:
Sign up to receive daily emails containing announcements of virtual events scheduled throughout the day. Also includes notices of upcoming ACB conferences throughout the country. Membership in the organization is not required to join the email list or participate in any of the events. Subscribe to the list by sending an email to email@example.com
ACB National and State Legislative Imperatives for 2022
The Greater New York Council of the Blind meets on the first Saturday of the month from 2:00-4:00 at the
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.
Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice. Feel free to join us via one of the following Zoom links:
Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
Telephone number: (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
Upcoming meeting dates are Jun. 4, Jul. 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 10, Oct. 1, Nov. 5, and Dec. 3.
All are welcome! Come on out and help shape the world!
Board of Directors:
President: Terence Page
Vice President: Barbara Robins
Treasurer: Suvro Banerjee
Recording Secretary: Shanel Cherry-Mitchell
Corresponding Secretary: Rachel Graff
Delegate to the State Board: Fitz Martin
Board Members: Yasmin Campbell, Karen Kacen, Audrey Schading, Gail Sussman
Immediate Past President/Legislative Representative: Robert White
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
165 West 65th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5375 e-mail for more information
Lincoln Center is pleased to offer a variety of programs that help extend accessible arts and education to all visitors. They provide large print and Braille
programs for most Lincoln Center performances and offer Verbal Description Tours of the campus. Audio Description is available for select performances.
United in Stride
A tool for uniting blind and visually impaired runners with sighted guides
United States Association of Blind Athletes National organization that provides sports programs to athletes of all ages and abilities who are blind and visually impaired. Includes local grassroots
programs to the elite Paralympic level.
This section of our site is dedicated to the health and well-being of blind and visually impaired persons.
Accessible Pharmacy Joins Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes welcomes their first partner pharmacy onto the Be My Eyes app. Users in the United States will be able to ask questions about medicine, drug
interactions, and starting in December, order in-home COVID tests from trained professionals who know how to safely and effectively set up the tests. Learn more by visiting:
ACB is also a specialized help provider on the Be My Eyes app. Download the app today and locate ACB in the Specialized Help menu under Blindness Organizations. Make the call – our ACB representatives are ready and waiting!
CVS Pharmacy Introduces New App Feature
Spoken Rx is a free new feature of the CVS Pharmacy app that reads a specific type of label. When the RFID labels are scanned by Spoken Rx in the CVS Pharmacy
app, prescription label information will be spoken out loud in either English or Spanish. For more information, and a list of active stores, visit
Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (always check with veterinarian or animal poison control expert before giving to your pet)
Scissors with blunt end
OTC antibiotic ointment
Oral syringe or turkey baster
Liquid dishwashing detergent (for bathing)
Saline eye solution
Artificial tear gel
Phone number, clinic name, address of your veterinarian as well as local veterinary emergency clinics.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Learn about research they fund to prevent, treat and cure inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Also provides information, resources and referrals.
HHS Launches Hotline to Improve Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Disabilities: The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is now available to help people with disabilities find vaccination locations in their communities and assist callers with making vaccination appointments. They also connect callers to local services, such as accessible transportation. Call
from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations Available for Some New York City Residents: Eligibility is based on one of three categories: 75 years or older; a person with a disability; or fully homebound. Can request vaccine preference: Pfizer,
Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
Request an in-home appointment
Vitacost.com: Items found in health food stores, including food that isn’t refrigerated or frozen
Silver Sneakers: Silver Sneakers is a program available to seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare Part C that provides free gym memberships. Please check for participating gyms.
Walking Can Keep You Sane and Healthy by Terence Page
How do we stay sane during this COVID-19 thing? I’m not breaking ground by saying a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Keeping this idea in mind, here are some simple exercises that can help you to stay moving which releases the chemical known as endorphins into the brain. Endorphins give you a feeling of happiness, joy, and lightheartedness. After completing these simple exercises, you will also feel a sense of completion.
So, this is what I recommend. We all hated calisthenics in school, but in this time of limited movement, running or walking in place is quite cathartic and fun.
Step 1: Clear an area to run or walk in place. This area must be buffeted on all four sides or at least three sides. When I attempt to do this in my apartment, I tend to drift in all four directions. My choice of places to do this exercise is between my bed to the left, the window and radiator to the right, and my chaise to the rear.
Step 2: Make sure that you are wearing sneakers or a very soft shoe with a lot of padding. If you have a padded non-slip rug or mat, that will help keep you from drifting because when your feet reach the edge of the rug or mat, you will recenter yourself. And a non-slip rug or mat will cushion your joints. If you have hand weights, use them.
Step 3: I suggest that you do this exercise for about 15 minutes and build up to 30 minutes walking. Then build up to a very light jog for 30 minutes. If you have an iPhone, you can say, "Siri, set timer for 15 minutes.” If you don’t have a smartphone or an iPhone, I suggest you play music or use your favorite TV show to time your workout. The average song is about four minutes long, so four songs is about 15 minutes.
Remember, before attempting any exercise, check with your doctor, and stretch your legs by trying to touch your toes. You don’t have to touch them - just try to touch them. Note: If you feel any pain or health issues, STOP!
Wishing you the best of health and reminding you to wash your hands!
Walmart Adopts ScripTalk Accessible Prescriptions at All Stores! - Advocacy Update Podcast
Happy 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act! On this episode of the Advocacy Update Podcast produced by the American Council of the Blind, Clark Rachfal is joined by Amanda Tolson,
En-Vision America, and JoAnn Stephens and Carrie Farber, Walmart, to discuss how Walmart is making the ScripTalk accessible prescription solution available
at all Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs throughout the U.S. To get started with ScripTalk, call En-Vision America at:
or speak with your local Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacist today! If you have any feedback or questions about getting setup with ScripTalk, please let us know by
emailing usListen to the podcast
ACB Link: Stay up to date with ACB National events and items of importance to ACB members and friends; view a complete list of affiliates and make contact with them; and stream all seven ACB Radio streams. Price: FREE
Aipoly Vision: An artificial intelligence app. Point the camera to a thing or person, and it will learn to identify it. Price: FREE
Aira: Provides virtual sighted assistance by connecting you to a human being. Price: Free to download the app and for calls lasting less than five minutes each; monthly plans vary.
BARD Mobile: A digital book app from the Andrew Heiskell Library to download audio books, magazines, instructional music material, some in multiple languages or in digital Braille format. You must join the library first. Price: FREE
Be My Eyes: An app that uses the camera on your phone to identify objects or anything with a visual assistant (real person). This app is also connected to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for 24-hour computer assistance; Google products are also supported. Price: FREE
Blindfold Games: Games everyone can play but developed for blind and visually impaired persons. Price: Depends on the Game.
BlindSquare: A navigation app that lists locations of arts and entertainment venues, colleges and universities, restaurants and their menus, outdoors and recreation, nightlife spots, professional and other places, residences, shops, and services. While traveling, this app will also bring up a map and estimate your walking time to public transportation and how much it would cost to travel by Uber. Price: $39.99
EyeNote: An app that reads U.S. currency. Price: FREE
Google Duo: Allows iOS and Android users to make video calls to each other. Price: Free
Here We Go: Tells you how to get from one place to another; is easier to use than Google Maps. Price: FREE
KNFB Reader: Scans documents and will turn them into Word or emails. Price: $99.99 (price varies during the year)
Move It: A transportation app that tells you the nearest subway station or bus stop from where you are standing. This app will also tell you when the next bus or train arrives. Price: FREE
NaviLens: Tells the time of buses, how far away they are, and if they are crowded. Premieres on the M23. Price: FREE
Nearby Explorer: A navigation app that tells you where you are and what’s around you. Price: FREE
Netflix: A movie streaming app. A person can also request a movie on CD with audio description. A good portion of the movies are audio-described. Price: $13.99 per month
NFBNewsline: Provides access to the text of 400 newspapers and magazines, weather, TV listings, and retail ads. Price: FREE, but must register to use.
Notify NYC: Alerts you to city-related issues, such as road closures, transit disruptions, and emergencies within the five boroughs. Price: FREE
OO Tunes: A digital radio. Gives you access to hundreds of stations in the U.S. and around the world. Radio alarm clock, records online radio shows, stores your favorite stations. Price: $4.99
Over There: Tells you what store you're pointing your phone at. Price: FREE
Read to Go: A digital book app brought to you by Bookshare. Digital audio books and Braille format accessible by downloading into your phone. This app is associated with joining the library. Price: FREE
Seeing AI: Scanning program that reads documents, labels, money, environments, faces, and handwriting, depending on the model of your phone. Price: FREE
Soundscape: A navigation app that tells you where you are and what’s around you in walking distance. Price: FREE
Spectrum TV: Allows a person to watch those cable features you have trouble accessing on your TV, such as the guide, shows on demand, and movies. The app has a library so you can go back and continue watching much later. Price: comes with your cable provider.
Talking Tuner: A chromatic tuner that helps you to tune any instrument by listening. Price: $.99
Tap Tap See: A camera app that describes pictures you have taken. Price: FREE
Voice Dream Reader: This app allows the listener to improve or change the voice on the Read to Go app and other places on your phone. Price varies depending on voice purchased.
Voice Dream Scanner: A scanning app that does the job better than KNFB Reader and Seeing AI. Text can be oriented in any direction, and your phone can be tilted in different directions. Recognizes text in low light and can save it in various file formats. Price: $6
Blind Mice Mega Mall A shopping mall that contains stores carrying a great variety of products. Also includes a Movie Vault, where you can download the soundtrack of thousands of audio-described movies
Directions For Me A Web site that provides cooking directions or packaging information for thousands of products
Disability Benefits A comprehensive guide to the SSI and SSDI benefits programs from the Social Security Administration
ACB Partners with Be My Eyes: ACB has partnered with Be My Eyes, an innovative app that provides real-time video assistance for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. To contact
ACB through Be My Eyes, download the app from the
and locate ACB under “Specialized Help”.
read the press release about this partnership
Accessible Station Lab: Learn about the Accessible Station Lab at the Jay St-MetroTech Station in Downtown Brooklyn, where the MTA is testing out various features designed to make subway travel more accessible to people with various disabilities, including blindness and visual impairment. Come test these features for yourself and provide feedback to NYCT.
AIRA offers free service in Target stores and at JFK International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports. They have also partnered with ACB to offer members special pricing plans. The ACB Member Intro Plan:
Minutes: 30 per month
Price: $20 per month
Plan Share: no additional users
The ACB Member Enhanced Plan:
Minutes: 140 per month
Price: $99.99 per month
Plan Share: up to two additional users
Plans are only available through AIRA's Customer Care Team. To qualify for these plans, one must be a member in good standing of the American Council of the
Blind or its affiliates or chapters for the current membership year. Membership will be verified through AIRA's Customer Care Team.
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library:
Call center hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Walk-in hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. You may call
You can order ten books per person per week, but you must call or email to order.
Tech coaching is available onsite and via phone and Internet.
Apple Offers Accessibility Classes: Josh Rifkin and Edwin Ramirez Pery, representatives of several Apple stores in Manhattan, have assured us that you can get a schedule of accessibility
classes from your local Apple store.
Get a listing of accessibility classes offered throughout New York City
We have also been assured that an Apple representative will speak to our chapter about the latest updates for Apple products (to be scheduled).
"Can You Help Me Fill This Out?": How many times have you been to the post office and asked a postal employee to help you fill something out only to be told, “We are not allowed to do that. I could lose my job.” This is NOT TRUE! I repeat, this is NOT TRUE! When blind and visually impaired persons try to use our local post office, we are often told the above phrase. Since we do not have knowledge of the postal codes, we take this information as fact. But we do have the information now. We at GNYCB have also encountered such difficulties, so we are making available a letter from a lawyer for the post office that you can print out and hand to your local postal worker to back up your argument that, “Yes, you can fill this out.”
Post Office Letter (Microsoft Word document)
Caribbean Club at Visions
The club helps individuals apply for services with the NYS Commission for the Blind and other agencies. They send canes to people who need them in the Caribbean and other countries, as well as to those in NYC. Recently, they collected money for the Bahamian hurricane
relief and for the earthquake in Puerto Rico. Contact Wayne McKenzie for further information.
Catholic Guild for the Blind:
Saying Goodbye to the Catholic Guild By Yasmin Campbell
The Catholic Guild for the Blind was an organization whose mission was to provide rehabilitation and education services to persons with vision impairments. It served New York City and provided services to help those in need which included independent living skills, employment training and placement, as well as information, referrals and other supports. Hearing of the Catholic Guild’s closing was a major blow to many people, especially the visually impaired and blind communities who depended on this organization’s services for assistance. We want to thank them for all their years of service and let them know the Catholic Guild will truly be missed.
Spectrum now has Braille and Large Print Guides available for receiver remotes. Contact the Accessibility Help Desk at (844) 762-1301 to request any of the following:
Large Print Orientation Guide for Spectrum Receiver Remote
Large Print Orientation Guide for Spectrum Receiver Big Button Remote
Braille Orientation Guide and Tactile Map for Spectrum Receiver Remote
Braille Orientation Guide for Spectrum Receiver Big Button Remote
VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired:
A program is being offered at VISIONS Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Spring Valley, NY, for students who want to learn a trade, become work-ready and
want to be employed shortly after graduation. This job readiness program is for blind and visually impaired youth between the ages of 18 and 22 - until
their 22nd birthdate. The 15-week residential program was created to give youth who are not college-bound, and/or have dropped out of college, an opportunity
to gain more skills and experience. Participants will gain independence skills, learn technology and software-readiness skills, gain work experience and
complete a highly recognized Customer Service training from the National Retail Federation. There are opportunities to achieve vocational certificates
in programs including: Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Teacher Assistant, Veterinary Assistant, HVAC, Technology - including Web Development, as
well as other courses offered. Certification is reciprocal with other States.
If you have any questions, please contact: Carmen Thorne, VCB Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator
Office: (212) 625-1616, ext. 107 or
Fax: (212) 219-4078 or
Black Lives Matter Statement: The GNYCB stands with the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognize that institutional racism was instrumental in the founding of our nation and that systemic racism continues to this day. We honor George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others who have sacrificed their lives in the African-American struggle for equality. We also believe that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, abilities, and/or disabilities.
Editor's Statement: We will not post anything that goes against the philosophy of the Greater New York Council of the Blind. In addition, we have the discretion
to edit all submissions for clarity, grammar and however else we deem necessary.
The Greater New York Council of the Blind is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.