Best Room Full of Dirt (2008)

New York Earth Room

Shopping in Soho got you down? Do you want to get back to the heart of things? Back to the earth? Do I have a place for you, kiddo. The New York Earth Room, a 280,000-pound sculpture by Walter de Maria, has been offering Zen-like escape since 1977, when it was commissioned by the Dia Center for the Arts. It spans the building from front to back, and is about two feet in stature. It is raked and watered regularly to prevent mushroom growth. No, you can't romp around in it, but you will be smacked with a rich, pungent soil smell and may even leave with a sense of serenity. Reactions range from general befuddlement to angry, real-estate­conscious New Yorkers exclaiming, "A room full of dirt?! In Soho? I could be living here!"


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