Bryan Cohen Jan. 15, 2013, 7:50pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an agreement Monday with the 42nd Street Development Corporation to improve access for patrons who wish to buy wheelchair accessible seats.

Schneiderman's office determined that 42nd Street, the owner and operator of the Theatre Row theaters near Manhattan's Times Square, did not make accessible seating available in the same manner and through the same purchasing methods as other seating. This limited the time and opportunities for people with disabilities to buy and secure accessible seating. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that individuals with disabilities have the same access to buy theatre tickets as other members of the general public.

"This agreement takes us one step closer to fully realizing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act - encouraging independent living and providing equal opportunity," Schneiderman said. "People with disabilities should have the same opportunities to enjoy places of public accommodation as all Americans, and theaters are no exception. This agreement will help ensure that more New Yorkers have equal access to accessible seating. 42nd Street ought to be commended for its cooperation, diligence and commitment to providing equal access for patrons with disabilities."

Under the terms of the agreement, 42nd Street will take steps pursuant to the ADA's Accessibility Guidelines to make sure that accessible seating is sold in the same manner and during the same hours as general seating. The steps will be put into place by the end of January. Additionally, 42nd Street will make available a pair of tickets, including one wheelchair accessible seat and one companion seat, once a month for a year for performances at the Acorn Theatre to non-profit organizations that provide services to disabled New Yorkers. The venue is one of the company's six venues in its theater complex located at 410 W. 42nd St.

The matter is part of Schneiderman's ongoing initiative to promote compliance among sporting complexes, theaters and other public accommodations with ADA guidelines.

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