New York City Deaf Community

Woman in winter clothing smiling and looking up with sun in background on Brooklyn Bridge
Chris Tobin / Getty Images

New York City's deaf community is substantial, with plenty of schools, social services, and increasing social opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people. The city has five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan. Long Island is not a borough but is associated with New York City because many of its residents work in the city.

Schools for the Deaf

New York City, is home to at least seven schools for the deaf:

  • '47' The American Sign Language and English School (Manhattan)
  • The Auditory/Oral School of New York (Brooklyn)
  • Clarke NYC Auditory/Oral Center, a satellite program of the Clarke School for the Deaf (Manhattan)
  • Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf (Long Island)
  • Cleary School for the Deaf (Long Island)
  • St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf (Brooklyn)
  • Lexington School for the Deaf & Center for the Deaf (Jackson Heights)
  • St. Joseph's School for the Deaf (Bronx)
  • New York School for the Deaf (not part of NYC but close by in White Plains)

Social Services Organizations

New York City offers deaf and hard of hearing people services through a handful of social services organizations. The best-known ones are the New York Society for the Deaf Services of FEGS (, which has many services including mental health services. Another one is the League for the Hard of Hearing at 50 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY, which includes communication therapy in its array of programs and services. (The League is where I had my own speech therapy as a young child). Then there is the Deafness Research Foundation, a scientific and health organization that researches treatment and prevention of hearing loss; it is at 9 E. 38th Street, 7th Floor New York, NY.

Social Opportunities

Deaf and hard of hearing New Yorkers have a selection of options:

  • Movies:
    • Open Captioned (words on the screen)
      • The Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center
      • Clearview Cinema 100 in nearby White Plains
    • Rear Window Captioned (words visible with a hand-held device)
      • AMC Bay Plaza Cinemas in the Bronx
      • AMC Empire 25 in Manhattan
  • Theater: Broadway and other theaters have regular interpreted performances. The website provides a cultural calendar listing interpreted performances.

Some museums also offer sign language workshops.

Deaf people also have regularly scheduled get-together events at places like Jillian's in Farmingdale, which hosts monthly deaf events. There are "deaf nights" at places like the Europa Bar in Brooklyn. New York City also has a Deaf Professional Happy Hour (one is at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th Street New York City, NY). Another bar, the Sports Bar at 349 Amsterdam Ave at 77th St., is also known to host monthly deaf events. LGBTQIA+ deaf meet at places like Starbucks and the Club Atlantis in Jackson Heights.

NYC Deaf Clubs and Chapters

New York City has several deaf clubs and chapters:

  • Both Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf have alumni chapters in NYC.
  • For hard of hearing people, there is the New York State Association of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc.
  • A chapter of Deaf Women United, Deaf Women United Greater New York
  • Deaf International Club of Greater NY
  • Metropolitan Asian Deaf Association
  • New York City Black Deaf Advocates
  • Beth Torah of the Deaf, a Jewish deaf club

Deaf NYC Festivals

New York City is the site of two annual deaf festivals:

  • The American Deaf Exposition, "Deaf Seaport," held at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan. American Deaf Exposition also holds deaf professional trade shows at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, and at Lexington School for the Deaf. In addition, they sponsor an annual deaf picnic in Long Island's Eisenhower Park.
  • NYCDeafFestival, held at the Lincoln Center, Manhattan in the fall during Deaf Awareness Week.

NYC Deaf Churches

Deaf New Yorkers seeking places to worship have a choice of St. Marks Lutheran Church of the Deaf, housed in the Mount Zion Lutheran Church in the city (421 West 145th Street), the St. Matthew's Lutheran Church for the Deaf in Elmhurst (41-01 75th St.), or the St. Ann's Church for the Deaf in the city (209 E 16Th St).

Interpreter Training and Agencies

New Yorkers seeking to become interpreters can get interpreter training at LaGuardia Community College. In addition, New York has a chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and several interpreting agencies:

  • American Sign Language Learning Center (Brooklyn)
  • Birnbaum Interpreting Services (Forest Hills)
  • The Comprehensive Network Sign Talk (Brooklyn)
  • Deaf Enterprises, Inc. (Brooklyn)
  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Interpreter Services, Inc. (Long Island City)
  • Hands in Motion Professional Sign Language Interpreters
  • Hands On (NYC)
  • Sign Language Interpreting (NYC)

Captioning Agencies

As a media center, New York City is home to the headquarters or branches of several captioning service providers.

  • CaptionMax
  • Captions, Inc.
  • iProbe Multilingual Solutions
  • National Captioning Institute
  • Soundwriters (Long Island City)
  • Voltage Video
  • WGBH Media Access Group
Was this page helpful?