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Photos by Jenna Bagcal/QNS
Walei Sabry, digital accessibility coordinator of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

The IDNYC program recently announced several monumental updates to the identification card during its fifth anniversary celebration at Queens Library at Flushing, including the addition of braille embossing on the card’s front.

The updated cards would include “IDNYC” in braille for individuals who are blind or have low vision, making it the first locally-issued ID in the nation with braille. Since its launch in January 2015, over 1.3 million New Yorkers have signed up for IDNYC, which continues to become more accessible to residents across the city.

“In order to provide an ID for all New Yorkers, it needs to be accessible for everyone,” said Victor Calise, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of IDNYC we are proud of the addition of braille for the 200,000 New Yorkers who are blind or have low vision. This is one step of many as we continue to work with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and DSS to provide people with disabilities equal access to everything NYC has to offer.”

The braille embossing is located on the left-hand side above the cardholder’s identification picture, which helps individuals distinguish and utilize the card.

Sample IDNYC card with braille embossing

“Braille is irreplaceable,” said Walei Sabry, digital accessibility coordinator of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “Studies have shown that blind individuals that read braille are more likely to be employed. By adding braille to IDNYC, we are increasing access for the blind community and also raising awareness about the importance of braille. I look forward to continuing to work with city agencies to increase access to braille for blind New Yorkers.”

In addition to rolling out braille embossing, IDNYC also announced the launch of its #RenewYourIDNYC campaign with the first set of cards expiring in January. Those whose cards are expiring in 60 days or less or those with cards that have been expired for six months or less can renew their IDNYC online or in person at a designated enrollment center.

Since 2015, IDNYC cardholders have gained increased access to City services, free and reduced admission to cultural institutions and discounts on recreation and entertainment. According to the program, cardholders have accrued over $57 million in savings as of January 2020.

The following benefits are new to IDNYC cardholders in 2020:

  • Costco partnership: New members who sign up with Costco by purchasing a membership activation certificate will get exclusive coupons valued at over $60 plus other free items
  • Free one-year membership to IDNYC’s newest cultural benefit partners: The Juilliard School, Atlantic Theater Company, Signature Theatre, and South Street Seaport Museum, IDNYC’s newest cultural benefit partners
  • Free all-day admission to the Queens Botanical Garden every Wednesday
  • Expansion outside NYC: In partnership with Sullivan Catskills Vistors Association in the Catskill Mountains, cardholders can get discounts at select businesses in Sullivan County including Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark and The Sullivan Catskills Event Center.

See a full list of IDNYC benefit partners here. To learn more, visit nyc.gov/IDNYC.

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