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New York Revs Up New Handicapped Sign
July 9, 2013

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Guerrilla art in Boston has prompted New York City to change its handicapped sign.

The sign, which depicts a person sitting ramrod straight and immobile in a wheelchair, is instantly recognizable. The initial design, in which the person had no discernible head, was created in 1968. The head was added a bit later, but now the sign is getting a bit of a facelift.

Two artists in Boston began painting a different sort of person on their city's handicapped signs. In the Boston version, the person is leaning forward, with arms on the wheels, suggesting moving forward at speed. The art student also changed the outline color from white to orange.

Along the way, a man who uses a wheelchair adopted the new symbol, put it on T-shirts, and raised awareness of the new symbol's potential. The art students helped by producing a whole lot of the orange stickers and sending them round the country. They also spread the word by telephoning lots and lots of people.

One of the calls they made was to the New York City commissioner for people with disabilities, who agreed to change his city's symbols to the new ones.

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