by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This article onToday’s website discusses Contento, a new restaurant in New York City. The restaurant was designed for owner Yannick Benjamin, who was paralyzed as the result a motor vehicle crash and uses a wheelchair, and his business partner, George Gallego, who also uses a wheelchair.
Part of the bar is at wheelchair height. All doors, including those to the ADA-compliant bathrooms, are wide enough for wheelchairs. There are no steps or ramps. People in wheelchairs don’t need to use the back entrance or go through the kitchen.
No one in a wheelchair needs to feel different, or that anything special is being done for them, because the modifications needed for accessibility were designed in.
“Sometimes there’s a lack of empathy,” said Benjamin, who added:
I always tell people that are in restaurants to please not rush people with disabilities, because they’re constantly being rushed. And sometimes they work a little slower. It takes a little time for them to get ready. Give them a chance. You don’t know what it took them to get to your restaurant, so show a little appreciation and show some patience.
This is a terrific idea. I wish someone with hearing loss, tinnitus, or hyperacusis would design a quieter restaurant for those of us with auditory disabilities. There’s a lot of us out there.