A self-help organization dedicated to improving the lifestyle and independence of the blind and visually impaired
Working in New York, Our Members Have:
Advocated for the installation of speech-enabled payment systems in New York City taxis
Worked to make crossing streets safer by increasing the number of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) installed at intersections
Advocated for accessible Web sites in both public and private spheres
Worked to ensure programs and professionals serving people who are blind and visually impaired provide the highest quality services
Things We Are Doing
A Library That is Not For Us
On April 24, Terence Page and Derek Pollitt wandered into Lincoln Center’s Library of the Performing Arts. The library is a magnificent two-story reserve at the edge of the plaza with a white stone façade and inlaid oak grain paneling throughout the interior, with polished gray granite floors. It is dedicated to housing thousands and thousands of recorded performances on DVD, from dramas, comedies, musicals, ballet, modern dance, operas and much, much more. And would you believe there are only maybe eleven audio-described performances on DVD, and only five are on the premises, though Mr. McMullin, a librarian in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Division, wasn’t even sure! He could not tell us if the library’s streaming service Kanopy which was started in 2017, had audio-described movies.
After informing Mr. McMullin about our issues, he sent me an email from the Head Librarian promising to address our complaints. He stated this may take a while and that the process is slow, but that they will address our concerns.
We at GNYCB will stay on this situation and make sure we get what we pay for. After all, libraries are for everyone.
Recent Things We Have Done
GNYCB Fundraiser Brunch
by Gail Sussman
On Saturday, December 14, 2019, GNYCB held its annual Fundraising Brunch at PARNELL’S IRISH PUB located at 350 East 53rd Street and First Avenue. This
restaurant is quite accessible to everyone's needs. In total, 41 people attended which included members from our GNYCB chapter, members from the Visions Senior Center, NFB President Mindy Jacobsen, as well
as friends and family. Food and drink were plentiful, ranging from traditional Irish fare of Fish & Chips to American favorites, such as the old-fashioned hamburger. Various gift cards were donated and raffled off, resulting in a gain of nearly $1,000 for our chapter, which will be used to defray some of our operating
costs. Not bad for an afternoon of fun and lively conversation! We hope you will join us for next fall’s brunch, when we plan on returning to the same venue. Watch for details coming next summer.
The Greater New York Council of the Blind (GNYCB.org) Welcomed Spectrum to Selis Manor
On Oct. 18 at Selis Manor, Spectrum demonstrated
accessibility features that they offer, such as the Talking Set-Top Box (Guide Narration on Spectrum World Box 2.0) and the accessibility features on the Spectrum TV
app on Apple TV. Attendees had a chance to learn about Spectrum Mobile and the fully accessible experience that Spectrum has created for customers
with disabilities on the latest addition to their product lineup. This event was a part of GNYCB’s continuing series of bringing the cable providers to you to answer your questions in person.
Disability Pride Parade
by Derek Pollitt
On July 14, 2019, seven members of the Greater New York Council of the Blind assembled at Selis Manor to participate in the fifth annual New York Disability Pride Parade. Our undaunted team was led by Terence Page, our president. He told us to “let New York know we are proud and blind.” Infused with resolve, we marched down the parade route, which began at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street and ended at 14th Street and Union Square. Mirko Kunstek and William Gluck held our State banner high, followed by Terence Page, Robert Weekes, Karen Kacen, Chantel Pena, and Derek Pollitt.
As we approached 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, one could feel the excitement in the air. There were clowns, floats, information on disability support agencies, and people from the entire New York disability community. Once the parade got underway Terence Page shouted out, “Who are we?” The small but intrepid group shouted back, “We are ACB, the American Council of the Blind.” As we made our way down the parade route, we passed out our business cards to members of the public. When we waved our canes in the warm July afternoon air, one could feel the crowd was as excited as we were. As with anything, all things must inevitably come to an end, but not before we took time to congratulate one another on making ACB history.
Verizon Attempts to Answer GNYCB’S Questions
On June 1, the Greater New York Council of the Blind continued its goal of having the cable providers address your issues in person. Shavi Shapiro,
a representative of Verizon, addressed our organization. He stated that Verizon is dedicated to making our viewing experience as pleasurable as possible. He said he is not a specialist in accessibility. He stated, “I will try to answer your questions as best as possible.” With a smile he said, “Please take it easy on me,” followed by light laughter. Mr. Shapiro’s primary responsibilities are selling Verizon’s cable products and services. Shapiro was bombarded with questions, which he had very few answers to, but he promised he would return with more information.
The Q and A section of our meeting went on for about 45 minutes. Some of the questions posed were: Does Verizon have an accessible contract? Does Verizon have an accessible website? Is Verizon’s app accessible? Does Verizon have a person that just deals with the visually impaired community? and Why doesn’t Verizon’s Accessibility Department stay open past 5 p.m.? Terence Page, President of the chapter, jokingly said some of us stay up past 2:00 sometimes. When Mr. Shapiro stated that Verizon (at the time of this article) did not have a visually impaired representative at their company, there were members at the meeting who shouted out a desire to work for Verizon, such as Victor Andrews—a Board member and the person responsible for arranging Mr. Shapiro’s appearance. He suggested, “I will work for Verizon!” There were smiles and laughter all around. Verizon does have a talking remote and set-top box and will provide your bill in large print and Braille.
Overall, the presentation was not very informative, but we appreciated Mr. Shapiro’s coming to our meeting and having the courage to attempt to answer our questions. We at GNYCB will ask Verizon to return and keep us and you informed on their accessibility updates.
ACB Goes to CUNY CAP (College Assistance Program) Conference
On April 24, CUNY held its annual College Assistance Program (CAP) Conference for Disabled Students at John Jay College. CAP is a program designed to help students transfer from the classroom to the work environment. The conference was well-attended by the CUNY colleges and some private colleges and universities, such as Fordham University and the School of Visual Arts. Victor Andrews, a member of our Board of Directors; Derek Pollitt, Head of our Membership Committee; and Terence Page, President of our chapter, were allowed to attend this event because of our association with Mr. Andrews, saving our organization the $500 entrance fee. Our chapter was granted time at the podium to introduce our group, its accomplishments, and our website.
The conference provided us a wealth of networking opportunities! Our band of representatives was introduced to the Disabled Student Officers of City University, the School of Visual Arts, Fordham University, and many others. Mr. Pollitt happened to be a classmate of two of the Disabled Student Officers, guaranteeing a long-term connection to a pool of newer and younger members for our organization. One of the nuggets gleaned from the conference is that the School of Visual Arts has blind and visually impaired students on its roster. Our chapter has been graciously granted a tour of the facilities of the School of Visual Arts. (date to be announced)
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: Meetings are postponed until further notice. Upcoming meeting dates are Apr. 4, May 2, and Jun. 6.
All are welcome! Come on out and help shape the world!
Board of Directors:
President: Terence Page
Vice President: Barbara Robins
Treasurer: Gail Sussman
Recording Secretary: Shanel Cherry-Mitchell
Corresponding Secretary: Rachel Graff
Delegate / Legislative Representative: Fitz Martin
Board Members: Victor Andrews, Karen Kacen, Sal Moscato, Ellen Rubin
Immediate Past President: Bob 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.
Visions at Selis Manor offers free ceramics class: Free ceramics class for people who are blind/visually impaired. Classes are held at 135 West 23rd Street in Manhattan, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. They are currently seeking new students.
To register, call (646) 486-4444, ext. 223
This section of our site is dedicated to the health and well-being of blind and visually impaired persons.
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
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)
Money Reader: Reads money in many different currencies. Price: FREE
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
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: $10.99 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
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.
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).
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.
CCLVI Scheigert Scholarships 2020 - 2021
The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI), an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, annually awards three scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each to fulltime college students - an incoming freshman, an undergraduate and a graduate
student. All students must have low vision, maintain a strong GPA, and be involved in school/local community activities.
Application materials must be received by 11:59 pm Eastern Time March 15, 2020. Scholarship monies will be awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year.
To access the guidelines, application and vision certification form, visit
and click on the Scheigert Scholarshp link.
Applications will be available to complete and submit online from January 1, 2020 to the March 15 deadline. Questions may be directed to
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
MTA NYC To Offer Free Access to Aira
New York, October 16, 2019 – The NY MTA launched a three-month pilot today for Aira services at an opening ceremony held at the Jay Street-MetroTech accessibility
model station. Aira can now be used for free at all 496 subway stations, as well as a phased rollout of free Aira Access for all 13K bus routes. MTA customers interested in using Aira while in the MTA system should visit
to download the free Aira app and find more information.
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