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Artful Dirt in the Earth Room

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New York is a city where nature was an afterthought. After paving everything over, city planners added some pretty amazing parks to sit in the grass and stare at buildings peaking up over the trees. Soho is a bit lacking in the green space department, but it’s home to the Earth Room, the most surreal form of urban nature in the city.

The Earth Room sounds like it could be a weird new age-y shop with unicorn scented oils and crystals or a room full of piles of dirt. The Earth Room is Soho is a later. It’s an art installation by Walter De Maria consisting of 250 cubic yards of soil spread across part of an apartment floor. It’s a fairly simple concept, but it’s disorienting in the best possible way. The sprawling dirt looks like unplanted farm land, until it stops at a solid white wall or continues through a doorway. Then out the window, you can see all the brick buildings. The smell alone is worth going to the Earth Room; it’s fresher and more crisp than any manufactured park could ever be. It’s not a place where you’re going to spend half a day, but it’s the perfect refuge from the shopping tourist laden streets of Soho.

photo from

The Earth Room
141 Wooster Street between Prince and Houston Streets [Soho, Manhattan]

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12 to 6pm

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.