Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dialogue in the Dark

Work. Exploring NYC. Shopping.

That pretty much sums up my week. 

I also got to experience NYC through a blind person's eyes. No pun intended. 

Let me explain. 

On Friday, I went to an exhibition called Dialogue in the Dark. My work does something called Parks and Recreation every so often, which are fun activities that various employees plan in order to get to know other employees better. It's not a company-wide event, but rather is a smaller group that gets to participate. In the past, they have gone to concerts, taken a Broadway dance class and done other fun things. It's first-come, first-served, so you basically have to be sitting at your desk when the email comes through and respond right away to get in on it. On Friday, they had a spot open up last minute so I decided I would go. 

 Dialogue in the Dark is an experience in total darkness where participants embark on a simulation of NYC. Of course, you're not actually walking the streets of the city with a blindfold, but rather go through a series of pitch black rooms while being guided by a tour guide, who happens to be an actual blind person. The rooms you go through are set up like different parts of the city - Central Park, a grocery store, the subway, Times Square and a restaurant. 

The rooms were amazing. Central Park was filled with trees, stones, fountains and the sounds of birds chirping. We even had to cross over a bridge. The room smelled of fresh air, and the only things missing were the crowds and our sense of sight. 

After visiting the park, we experienced what a grocery store would be like as a blind person. Our tour guide, Romeo, made us pick up many different objects (real food) and identify what they were. They even had a freezer with frozen foods in it. We made our way to the subway station next, which was so weird to experience in the dark. I can't imagine navigating through the terminal as a blind person. We arrived at Times Square and were met with the smells of hot pretzels and roasted peanuts. We headed over to a diner after getting our dose of Times Square and were allowed to ask Romeo any questions about being blind. It was so interesting and insightful to hear him tell us about his life. 

Throughout the tour, I was amazed at how quickly Romeo not only learned our names (there were 8 of us), but also learned our voices and knew who we were by simply guiding us in the right direction with his hands. It was unbelievable. 

On Saturday, I finally went up to Central Park. My family (plus Andrew and Katie) is coming up in two weeks, so I have been trying to visit different parks of the city so I can have places to take them. I'm a little concerned about transportation when they come up. I can just picture me trying to direct all 6 of them around the subway terminals among the crowds of people in NYC. We might not all get to the right place in the most orderly fashion, but I'm sure we will have some stories along the way. 

On Saturday night, one of the other interns and I headed to Times Square to see if we could find any last minute student tickets for a show. We ended up getting student tickets for CHICAGO. We paid student price, but I'm pretty sure the box office guy did not give us student tickets. We ended up near the center on the 13th row - great seats. I think he felt sorry for us because we were still looking for tickets an hour before show time. 

I went to Hillsong NYC again this morning and ended the day by heading over to Macy's. I walk by it almost every single day, but haven't actually taken the time to look around. Since it's 9 floors, I knew I needed to go on a day when I had some time to look around. As I was getting ready to leave, I made a last minute decision to go up one more floor and check out the shoes. Good/bad news - they were having a huge sale. Racks and racks of shoes on clearance. Every time I thought I have seen them all, I realized there was another section that I had missed. I tried on a lot of shoes, but ended up walking out with only one pair and $20 less in my bank account. Not too bad. 

Hope you all had a great weekend! I've heard it's been hot in SC thanks to all your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram pictures of the thermometer :)

1 comment:

  1. need a picture of the shoes so I can have shoe envy..just saying. Aunt Lynne