10 Reasons to Visit the New York Earth Room

New York Earth Room

If you are looking for interesting activities or attractions to enjoy in New York City, then one you might not have heard of is the New York Earth Room. This is an art installation created by artist Walter de Maria that is in a loft at 141 Wooster Street in New York City. This attraction is open from Wednesday through to Sunday from 12 noon to 6 pm with a half-hour closure between 3 pm and 3.30 pm. This is an interesting art installation to visit, and here are ten reasons why you should include the New York Earth Room in your itinerary.

1. A Magnificent Sight

The main reason to visit the New York Earth Room is that it is such a magnificent and impressive sight. There are 250 cubic yards of earth weighing 280,000 pounds covering a floor space of 3,600 square feet and with a depth of 22-inches.

2. Its Interesting History

This indoor sculpture installation has an interesting visit, which is another reason to visit this art attraction. Walter de Maria has previously created two Earth Rooms. The first was in 1968 in Munich Germany. He then created a second Earth Room in 1974 in the Heissisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany. Both these art installations no longer exist. The artist created the New York Earth Room in 1977, and it was originally intended as a temporary exhibition that would remain for only three months. This was as part of an exhibition hosted by German art dealer Heiner Friedrich. However, it was still there three years later in 1980 when the Dia Foundation was founded. This art organization decided that the installation should stay exactly where it is and promised to preserve the work forever.

3. Fresh Aroma

The streets of New York City are filled with different smells. Depending on where you are, you can expect to smell a mixture of hot food, car fumes, and sometimes smells from the sewers. Head up to the loft that houses the Earth Room and you will smell only one aroma; the fresh aroma of moist and musty earth, which is a rather refreshing, satisfying, and pleasant smell, according to Atlas Obscura.

4. A Relaxing Space

New York is an amazing city with a fantastic vibe. However, it can also get noisy and the busy lifestyle is tiring. A visit to the New York Earth Room is a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and relax. This is a tranquil space with the atmosphere of a zen garden. Spending just ten minutes in the Earth Room will leave you feeling relaxed and calm.

5. A Free Attraction

If you are visiting New York on a budget or you live in the city but do not have much money to spend visiting local attractions, then New York Earth Room is a good choice of activity. It is completely free to enter this attraction and to view this magnificent art installation. Therefore, it is somewhere that you can visit on a rainy day when your budget is tight.

6. It Is a Unique Art Installation

While to some people seeing a room filled with dirt may seem an unexciting activity, they must admit that it is totally unique. There is probably nowhere else in the world where you can you go to see an interior space completely filled with dirt.

7. It’s Unchanging Yet Ever-Changing

The whole concept of the New York Earth Room was that it was an unchanging art installation. This remains true to a certain extent as the installation has been on site since 1977. However, there have been some slight changes since it was first installed. One change is that the caretaker says the texture of the dirt is different now. Other interesting changes include the sudden growth of mushrooms and sprouts of grass that occasionally appear.

8. Meet the Caretaker

According to The Paris Review, the chance to meet the caretaker is a further reason to visit the New York Earth Room. Bill Dilworth, an abstract painter, has held the position of caretaker and curator of the installation for almost 30 years. He sits in an office behind a glass aperture, and he is there daily to give guests entrance, talk to the visitors, and to maintain the installation. He has lots of tales to tell about the installation, famous visitors, and the art world.

9. There Are Sometimes Some Surprises

The caretaker of the installation has said that there have been some surprises in the Earth Room over the years. For example, there was once a subterranean nest from which dragonflies hatched. This was the first time animals and emerged from the installation. The behavior of some visitors has also caused surprises from time to time. On one occasion, a visitor tipped a can of black beans over the soil. Of course, this type of behavior is not acceptable. Therefore, even though the installation remains the same, you never know quite what to expect.

10. A Valuable Sensory Experience

Da Maria intended for his art installation to give those who viewed it as a sensory experience. His aim was to make viewers feel grounded by the sheer expanse of so much earth in an interior setting. He also wanted people to appreciate the value of the earth and to consider their impact on the environment as climate changes are becoming an increasing issue. By preserving the earth to create a sensory experience, Da Maria hoped that visitors would understand its true value. It is also worth noting that the installation has some monetary value, as the earth used is valued at around one million dollars. As it is almost impossible to move from its current location, someone would also need to buy the property if it were sold in the future. Therefore, its monetary value is significantly more.


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