long (whoops!) note on ACCESS, building a venue accessibility database, & what’s [not] out there already:
i wrote in a thing that “nyc noise is the city’s largest resource for venue wheelchair accessibility,” but i wanna be clear that it’s NOT COOL that this is true: that element of the site needs a LOT of work, it will take more people / info to make it a truly useful resource, & this is not my area of expertise.
however!!! i am an expert at bugging people until i get information & gathering data on smaller-capacity spaces… so! i’m asking lotsa wheelchair users & disabled artists for input / tips, all database info will be made freely / fully available to The Public once it’s cleaned up, & anyone can hit me up for access to the spreadsheets (w/ the disclaimer that i still need to confirm & clarify lots of info!).
if u are disabled & luv live music (especially if u live in nyc & use a wheelchair or other mobility aids) &/or if you work on accessibility in the arts, plz get in touch!!! <email@example.com> i’d love to get feedback on stuff like sample language for websites, & long-term would like to have most listings link to [someone else’s] Real Disability Site w/ expanded venue profiles.
[ to repeat: i hope to partner with Another Website capable of hosting & maintaining a database of detailed venue accessibility profiles; if your org can handle this project, i will help & also have every listing link to yr site! ]
“yr website is Not Smart, how are u even gonna handle basics”
okay you ARE *correct,* skeptical fabrication –– but nick mcmaster (of krallice) knows about code stuff & has not just talked about helping out: nick legit started building a web app that’s like, actually usable??? & can quickly import spreadsheets to stay current??? with visual indicators of access???? he’s trying to explain to me what API means, also, so that??? & we have other pals who do ~phone apps~ (like johann diedrick!!!), so idk i think between the lot of us we could do a better job!! it would just REALLY help to be able to pay people a few bucks & also for me to be able to work on coding more consistently, my slow progress makes nick sad :'(
“but surely this already exists???”
look dude trust me, i was in disbelief also!!!
half access says “Our database provides accessibility info on any and all venues,” but that means 31 open venues in all of nyc, with no immediate indicators of whether spaces are wheelchair accessible & lots of incorrect info. still better than nothing, so i reached out, had a meeting, shared a spreadsheet of all my info & links & offered to partner in revamping their database –– but unfortunately they said they can’t put any staff/resources into expanding their nyc listings, even if i handle all the research. their only offer was for me to update their website myself, & in the months that i’ve been sharing data, they haven’t corrected their existing pages or added a single nyc space. </3
nyc go has an “accessible nyc” page that looks promising –– wow, accessible venues: 1728 results!!! –– but when you change the accessibility type to “wheelchair” & add category “music” it drops to 10 venues. it’s possible they just don’t know what zones have music (some show under “nightlife,” tho that also includes bars), but i tried & failed to find anything from an ABCs of common zones (alphaville, baby’s, c’mon everybody, dimenna center, elsewhere); it’s not a comprehensive venue database.
gotham early music scene deserves a shoutout: they have info on 19 spaces, mostly churches, though i’m not sure when the list was last updated. (there are a few other similar bundles, but i haven’t seen any that look super recent outside of websites trying to like Sell U Things.)
is this venue accessible? was a website launched by sean gray, which i know bc liz pelly told me (& wrote about it; HURRAY FOR JOURNALISTS!!!). it looks like it was last active in 2015-2016, & sadly as of now the site seems to be down–– but gray did a WICKED job of spreading the word on this project, w/ coverage in spots like VICE & the village voice. the site was still up as of a few months ago, so you can check it outcompliments of the wayback machine; there’s info on maybe a dozen nyc spots.
google maps does technically track wheelchair access, but there are no specifics, & i also don’t particularly trust the info given to platforms like google, yelp, & all other centralized monopolies of Websites Selling U Sh*t
why i think other efforts have failed (/ TIPS if u wanna try!!!)
okay so i think part of the problem is that accessibility is too complex, & nyc is too big, for any multi-city database to accurately & comprehensively cover our ~sitch~ –– this is obvs EXTRA true if you define “venue” as loosely as i do (that is, “place where a show has occurred”), but even if you’re thinking of Dedicated Music Venues, we’re def in the… idk the LOTS, & unless u have MILLIONS OF STAFF, odds are you aren’t gonna keep up w/ changes. again: multi-city efforts fail!
also, there’s PILES of info it would be HELPFUL for people to have, incl. measurements of doors & ramps & bathrooms, masking policies, nearby transit, deaf & hard-of-hearing accommodations, seating, contact info for questions, etc… but the more info you request, the less likely you are to get anything from a given venue –– plus it makes it infinitely harder to keep yr data up-to-date / accurate. databases requesting too much info fail!
(btw, this makes sense! everyone is tired & overwhelmed, plus often the person you reach when you contact a venue thru social media or email or whatever doesn’t know everything; giving a quick & certain “yes / no / sure” is easier than going thru a whole questionnaire of stuff u don’t know –– & if it’s just for some other org or website, like, why???)
what might work = help venues share the info themselves & link to that! i’ve been talking about doing this for like… jfc *3 months* & still haven’t gotten around to it, but eventually something here will have short example copy of common scenarios that venues can quickly copy/paste/tailor onto their websites or socials. that has immediate value *for the space,* enough that they’re more likely to take a few minutes to figure sh*t out, & bigger databases can then just work on tracking basics + URLs for accessibility pages.
i’m hopefully meeting w/ other ppl soon to discuss priority points & will also give examples from sites doing a gr8 job.
“why not do all that before starting to provide incomplete info”
“trying to do a good job” is my absolute nemesis + the reason i don’t finish 98% of the things i start; this is too important for me to f*ck it up with competence, soooo welcome 2 the mess! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯