Andrew Feinberg, 22, is going out to lunch at one of his favorite downtown spots. Only he can't actually go in because the restaurant has five steps, and Feinberg's wheelchair can't get down them.
"It's definitely extremely frustrated for me and it's awkward," he said.
Born with spina bifida, Feinberg said that navigating where he can or can't go in the city has been a longtime challenge. So after too many experiences like this, Feinberg and his family came up an idea to make it easier for wheelchair users to navigate New York City's many restaurants and attractions.
"One of us said, wouldn't it be great if there was one place we could go to to find out exactly where was accessible," said Jennifer Feinberg, Andrew's sister.
So they are developing an interactive website and app called Wheel New York. Think Yelp meets Google Maps, all specifically tailored to the needs of wheelchair users. Specific locations would have their own pages where users could weigh in.
"People can go onto the profiles and explain the ratings, why exactly was this place a 2-star accessibility rating, there was a step getting into the building, there's no elevator, the elevator is broken," said Jennifer Feinberg, Andrew's sister.
Andrew Feinberg said that Wheel New York would "eliminate the unknown and it would instill confidence in its users."
We wanted to see what other wheelchair users thought of the concept, so we turned to Ronnie Ellen Raymond, a board member of United Spinal.
"Anything like this that could make it easier for somewhat to navigate their life in the city or elsewhere could be very useful," Raymond said.
But Wheel New York is not a reality yet. The Feinbergs have turned to Kickstarter to raise $50,000 in seed money. So far they are about a quarter of a way to their goal.
"It would greatly change my life and it would change the life of millions of people," Feinberg said.
The family's Kickstarter campaign ends this month. If they raise the money they need by then, they hope to launch Wheel New York in about four months.
KDFW FOX 4
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