It’s been a rainy June with a breaks. I’m a Californian girl and even after living in the East Coast I’m still not used to having rain outside of winter. I grew up thinking that rain was shut off from March to November. Now before I head out, I scan the weather report in case I need to grab an umbrella for a sudden thunderstorm.
While I am tired of dealing with drizzly rain that we’ve been having lately, I’m all for the rain created by Random International’s immersive environment Rain Room (2012). My mom, sister, and I went a few weeks ago when we had blazing hot weather. Rain Room opened in MOMA on May 12th and it’ll be here in NYC until July 28th.
The Rain Room is open during regular museum hours, but MOMA members and their guests have special members only access between 9:30-10:30 am. I heard stories about the incredibly long wait time for the Rain Room. Only 10 people are allowed in at a time and you’re allowed to be there as long as you want (although after 20 minutes, the guards gently/forcibly encourage you to leave). People are let in as as other people leave. The entrance to the Rain Room is behind MOMA. When we got there at 9:30 am, already there was a long line. To get into the installation, you need to buy a regular admission to MOMA. I bought the tickets online on my phone while we waited in line. There are actually two parts to the line. If you’re a MOMA member (and accompanying guest), you can go straight to the first part of the line. They check your tickets and you walk in and wait. At this point, the wait time was approximately two hours. If you’re not a MOMA member, you first wait in the second section of the line that will eventually wrap around the museum. There were only about 10-15 people ahead of us in this section and we waited in that part of the line for about an hour. If you do the math, this means we waited 3 HOURS for the Rain Room.
3 FREAKING HOURS!!!!!
Was it worth it?
RESOUNDING YES from us art lovers. Yes, it was hot in line (it was over 90 degrees that day). Yes, the wait seemed interminable. But once we disappeared through the darkened doors and entered a cool sanctuary, it was magical. Maybe we were delirious from the heat (heat exhaustion is no joke), maybe we were experiencing cognitive dissonance and had to justify the long wait, but the Rain Room was amazing. It was a mostly dark room with a few lights and the flashing lights from cameras.
In the center of the room, there’s a perfect square of rain. My sister was a little timid about walking in, but I couldn’t wait to experience it. I cautiously stepped inside the rain. Like magic, the rain that had been falling stopped. Around my body, no rain, while it was raining everywhere else in the square. Other people joined me and around them, there was no rain. There are sensors up in the ceiling that sense your movement, and it stops the rain. As you move around, the rain stops where you are and it rains everywhere else. It’s the reverse of a rain cloud following you around. I danced around enjoying myself. If I moved too quickly, I got wet by the rain, but if I moved slowly, the rain ceased.
All three of us loved the Rain Room. After such a long wait, we were famished and went to lunch. We didn’t see anything else at the MOMA, but the experience of the Rain Room was well worth the wait and price of admission. If you get a chance, see the Rain Room before it leaves NYC.
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
Closest Subway stations: 5th Ave/53rd St. on E/M; 7th Ave on B/D/E; and 57th St. on F
Entrance to Rain Room: West 54 Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Admission Adult $25
Free on Fridays from 4:00 – 8:00 pm