4 THE QUEENS COURIER • DECEMBER 5, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
LIC resident sues Queens Public Library for
inaccessibility issues at Hunters Point Library
BY BILL PARRY
Accessibility issues at the brand-new
$41.5 million Hunters Point Library has
led to a lawsuit.
Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)
fi led a class action lawsuit against Queens
Public Library, its Board of Trustees and
the City of New York, challenging the
inaccessibility at the waterfront facility on
Plaintiffs Tanya Jackson, a Long
Island City resident, and the Center for
Independence of the Disabled New York
are suing to require the library to fi x what
they call an unjust and discriminatory
situation. Under longstanding disability
rights laws, newly constructed buildings
must be made fully accessible to people
with disabilities, yet Hunters Point
Library excludes persons with disabilities
from full and equal access to its services
through reliance on stairs and other inaccessible
features, according to the lawsuit.
“It is shocking to me that a brand-new
public library would not be fully accessible
to people with mobility disabilities like
myself,” Jackson said. “Libraries should
welcome everyone, not exclude whole
populations of people.”
Th e barriers at Hunters Point Library
are numerous, according to the lawsuit,
including three levels that are completely
inaccessible to people with mobility disabilities.
Th e children’s section contains
multi-level wooden lounging and a smallgroup
meeting space inaccessible to children
and caregivers with mobility disabilities.
Additionally, the rooft op terrace has
no access for people with disabilities and
there are long waits for the heavily utilized
single elevator, which does not stop
at every level.
“Twenty-nine years aft er the ADA
promised open doors and equal opportunities
for people with disabilities, we
fi nd the doors of a brand-new library
shut to children and adults with disabilities.
Th is should not be allowed to happen,”
Center for Independence New York
Executive Director Susan M. Dooha said.
“Th e Queens Borough Public Library and
the city of New York must obey the law
and make this right.”
DRA’s goal is that the lawsuit will rectify
the exclusion of people with disabilities
by requiring the defendants to develop
and implement a remedial plan to provide
equal access to Hunters Point Library.
“Th is morning we learned that a disability
rights organization fi led a lawsuit
against the library and the city of New
York alleging that Hunters Point is not
accessible to people living with disabilities,”
Queens Public Library spokeswoman
Elisabeth de Bourbon said. “It is always
the library’s goal to be welcoming, open
and available to everyone, including customers
with disabilities. We are taking the
matter very seriously.”
Th e DRA notes that ADA is not a new
requirement, and it is not hard to understand.
“It is baffl ing that this $41.5 million
building is missing these fundamental
elements,” DRA Staff Attorney Andrea
Kozak-Oxnard said. “It’s as though the
library didn’t care about these requirements,
or worse, didn’t even consider the
needs of these members of the community.
People with disabilities should be able
to browse, relax and enjoy the library just
like everyone else.”
Th e suit alleges violations of federal and
local civil rights laws designed to eliminate
“Hunters Point Library was meant
to be a model, state-of-the-art institution
designed to serve the needs of the
community,” DRA Managing Director
of Litigation Michelle Caiola said. “Th e
library’s total disregard for adults and children
with disabilities must be addressed.”
Flavored e-cigarettes now banned in New York City
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Th e New York City Council approved
a ban on fl avored e-cigarettes on
Th e vote was almost unanimous with
only two council members, Kalman
Yeger and Steven Matteo, voting in opposition
to the bill.
Th e legislation also requires the
Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene to conduct a public information
campaign about smoking cessation
Th e vote comes a week aft er the New
York State Department of Health confi
rmed a second vaping-related death.
Th e fi rst death occurred in October aft er
a Bronx teen was hospitalized with a
vaping-related respiratory illness in the
September. As of Nov. 20, over 2,200
people nationwide have been treated for
vaping-related illness and 47 people have
died of the illness.
Councilman Mark Levine introduced
the legislation in order to curb the rates
of children vaping in the city, an “epidemic”
he said that legislators across
the country have epically failed to deter.
According to the Center for Disease
Control, at least one in four high school
students and one in 10 middle school
Photo via Getty Images
students vaped last year.
“We have no higher obligation than to
protect the health of kids,” said Levine, shortly
before the vote. “We are acting to protect
our kids, to protect them from the fl avors
that have been hooking them for years.”
Photo by Mark Hallum
Queens Public Library is being sued over inaccessibility issues at its new Hunters Point branch.