Yesterday while visiting the Bodies Exhibit at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan I participated in a second exhibit called Dialog in the Dark. Along with 9 other nursing students I followed my guide as we wandered through Central Park, crossed a busy street intersection, discovered a vendor cart, shopped for groceries at a fairway supermarket, examined a newspaper stand, visited a coffee shop, enjoyed Times Square, and even rode the subway. All without leaving the exhibit building. Did I mention we were blind? Well, not really blind, but there was absolutely nothing to see because we were in complete and utter darkness. I’m talking about the kind of darkness where you can’t even tell if your eyes are open or closed.
We diligently followed the voice of our tour guide, Frank, as he led us throughout the city. Using only a white cane to navigate through these obstacles would be impossible. So along with our newly acquired tool we also had to rely on senses we normally take for granted. Our bodies quickly adapted to complete darkness and soon we were touching and feeling our way around as we followed our ears and noses to the sounds and smells of the city.
Dialog in the Dark is an amazing shared experience that will astound you as your senses rapidly adjust, and you find yourself able to discover and identify objects and locations without the use of sight. This is definitely an exhibit worth experiencing with closed eyes and an open mind.
Our tour guide, Frank Senior, is an impressive man. He attended Marist college and NYU, he owns and operates a Newstand on 42nd and 5th Ave, is a Jazz Vocalist, has a great sense of humor, and an impressive personality. Oh, and he was born blind.