Lincoln Center to Make Avery Fisher Hall More Accessible

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Lincoln Center has pledged to make Avery Fisher Hall more wheelchair accessible after the United States Attorney filed a lawsuit against the arts complex for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Federal prosecutors had sued Lincoln Center but immediately settled after it agreed to install more seating for patrons in wheelchairs. Avery Fisher Hall currently lacks the required minimum wheelchair seating, according to the complaint by New York federal prosecutors filed June 27 in Manhattan Federal Court.

Lincoln Center will also have to install additional companion seating for wheelchair users, renovate its restrooms, install Braille signs and add more wheelchair-accessible drinking fountains.

The hall, built in 1962, currently has four wheelchair seating locations in the orchestra level, all of which are in the last of the 41 rows, and under the overhang of the first tier, according to the complaint. The other wheelchair seating areas are on the upper three tiers, where restrooms are inaccessible to people with disabilities.

A Lincoln Center spokesman said, "We are pleased that this has been resolved and that Avery Fisher Hall will be even more accessible to the tens of thousands of patrons who visit each year.” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did not comment on the settlement.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Since the ADA's passage, several New York City landmarks have faced court orders to make appropriate modifications to their structures including the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. It settled a disability lawsuit in January 2011.