DENISE AND THE MTA
Words By Sidney Emerman and Sam Anderson
Vocals: Sam Anderson and Sid Emerman
Banjo: Eric Levine
Guitar: Maura Gregory
This true story of a woman in a wheelchair who performed a dramatic act of civil disobedience which led to the movement to make all New York City Buses truly accessible (they are almost now).
'Twas a pleasant warm day in the month of September
'81 on the 30th day
When a plucky little maid named Denise McQuade
Went to ride on the MTA
It was opening day for the rear lift buses
On the route M 104
Denise looked up Broadway, saw that GMC coming
And wheeled right to its front door
And will she ever get on?
No, she'll never get on. No, she'll never get on board
She may wait forever on the streets of Gotham
For the bus plan is a fraud
The bus driver said,
"I'm sorry lady, they didn't give me a lift key."
Denise flew into action threw herself on the steps
"You won't leave here without me."
When the MTA brass heard of this impasse
They offered her a boost to get inside
But she stuck to her guns, said
"You promised us the lift,
So get the key - and then we shall ride."
Well they hemmed and they hawed, they pondered and they jawed
And seven hours later brought the key
When Denise and her chair got a lift into the air
She flashed a sign of victory
And will she get her ride?
Yes, she'll get her ride, she's trimphantly inside
With her will, with her way she has won the day
Overcoming the bureaucrats' pride
Now her victory smile and her victory sign
Weren't seen by just you and me
It made page on of the New York Post
And Arnold Diaz put it all on TV
Now many years have come and gone since that day Denise got on
And a thousand wheelchair riders board each day
And soon all buses will have lifts on both day and night-time shifts
'Cause they put Denise in charge down at the MTA.
And will we all get on?
Yes, we'll all get on
We'll make the system work for us
Able-bodied and disabled we will ride together
On the subway and on the bus!