Settlement to improve access at nine Broadway theaters

Photo of a red stage curtain
Settlement increases accessibility

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Nederlander Organization have reached a settlement to bring nine historic Broadway theaters into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s architectural standards.

Under the terms of the settlement, the theaters will fix over 500 identified ADA violations, as well as provide 70 wheelchair accessible locations and 134 aisle transfer seating locations for persons who are able to transfer from a wheelchair into a seat, according to a news release from the Attorney’s Office.

The lawsuit and settlement were simultaneously filed on Jan. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which still must approve the settlement.

Since the theaters were all built prior to the passage of the ADA in 1990, they normally would not be required to make modifications until it was “readily achievable to do so,” according to the news release. The settlement will speed up this process, allowing people with disabilities to experience and enjoy some of New York City’s most iconic spaces.

“Today’s resolution marks the culmination of years of work to ensure that one of New York City’s leading cultural and entertainment treasures – Broadway theater – is accessible to people with disabilities,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in the news release. “As a result of this suit and settlement, coupled with a similar lawsuit filed by the Office against the Shubert Theaters in 2003, over twenty of the leading Broadway theaters, operated by the two largest Broadway theater organizations, will be more accessible than ever before.”

The Nederlander Organization owns and operates the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon, Palace and ­Richard Rodgers theatres.