When vacationing in NYC, it’s generally wise to plan out your trip—get tickets to a couple shows, rank your priority museums, book your meals. If you happen to be more of a spontaneous traveler, however, the city can easily accommodate you. There’s art and culture to be found all over the city. You simply have to keep your wits about you, and know where to look. Here, we divulge four surprising places to find beautiful art in New York.
The Earth Room is exactly as it claims itself to be: 280,000 pounds of dirt. That’s 22 inches of soil covering a gallery of 3,600 feet. The soil has been watered, and rotated, and plucked of errant mushrooms since 1980. It’s a strange, hidden natural haven downtown. The Earth Room: 141 Wooster St; 212-989-5566
Photo by John Cliett via diaart.org
Joseph Beuys, one of the most revered German artists of the 20th Century, created his 7,000 Oaks installation in NYC in 1982. He envisioned bringing about environmental change and urban renewal by planting 7,000 trees around the city, each with a four-foot tall basalt column beside it. While he and a colleague only made it to 23, the trees and columns are still scattered along West 22nd Street in Chelsea. Photo by Bill Jacobson Studio via diaart.org
Usually when you’re taking the train, you’re not trying to spend more time than necessary wandering the station. If you happen to pass through 59th and Columbus Circle, however, we recommend keeping an eye out for Sol LeWitt’s enormous, colorful, geometric wall drawings. They may enliven an otherwise unremarkable commute. 59th St. & Columbus Ave Subway Station
Photo by W Castillo via nycsubway.org
This petite, ex-industrial-building in Bushwick (pictured top) boasts 23-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, and…not much else. It’s a bit of a blank slate, built to entice local artists to create works specifically for the space. The Chimney NYC: 200 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn
Photo, top, via thechimneynyc.com