Rain Room at MoMA; You Can Leave Your Umbrella at Home

Man standing within the MoMa's large scale installation, the Rain Room, created by Random International. While it looks like its a downpour, this man is not getting wet!

Last fall, when design firm rAndom International first presented their remarkable Rain Room at London's Barbican Centre, rave reviews and social-media-fueled word of mouth quickly made five- hour lines at the site routine. Now, thanks to the terrific MoMA PS1 exhibition Expo 1, Rain Room has arrived here in Midtown, Manhatthan – not a bad walk for our Glenwood residents located at Paramount Tower!

It has taken up residence in the lot next door to the museum through July… along with waits; which, while maybe not five hours (yet?), seem destined to become legendary. On opening day, for instance–a beautiful springtime Mother's Day, mind you, when half the city's out at brunch, and the other half's in Long Island or whenever the homestead is–the line was reportedly 90 minutes long by mid-morning, and three hours in the afternoon.

Two women standing within the MoMa's large scale installation, the Rain Room, created by Random International. Don't worry about your hair, ladies, this downpour rain won't get you wet!

Experience the Rain Room at the MoMA

Not that big of a surprise, really. Rain Room truly is amazing, a large-scale installation that, once you're inside, is comprised mostly of a magical field of pouring-down rain. Magical because when you step into the field, and walk around, and take pictures, and kiss your sweetheart, and do anything else you feel like doing, you will not get wet. Sheets of rain will, um, rain all around you, but as long as you don't move too quickly, the drops will miraculously stop right above where you are, then continue once you've moved on. Move too fast, and you'll get soaked, as I learned the hard (or fun, depending) way. But otherwise you are smack in the middle of a drenching downpour that's somehow missing you. It's awesome.

Girl standing within the MoMa's large scale installation, the Rain Room, created by Random International. The only downpour rain that will not get you wet!

How Does The Rain Room Work?

I don't really understand how rAndom International's Rain Room works–other than: 3D motion sensor cameras track you and turn off the water above–but work it does. Upping the awesomeness even further, at the far end of Rain Room is an extremely bright white light, that shines directly into your eyes as you enter the field, causing both a pleasant feeling of disorientation as well as illuminating the individual drops around you in a very cool way. Turn your back to the light and the whole experience, while still fun, is much less spectacular. 

Man standing within the MoMa's large scale installation, the Rain Room, created by Random International. While it looks like its a downpour, this man is not getting wet!

Avoiding Lines at MoMA's Rain Room

So clearly Rain Room is a must-see… but what about those lines? Only five to ten people are allowed into the rain field at a time, and everyone can stay in as long they like (though five minutes or so is all you really need to get the full effect), so wait times are unpredictable. I arrived at 8:50 in the morning last Sunday, 40 minutes before the daily 9:30 to 10:30 MoMA-members-only hour, and was second in line. By the time I left around 10:00 (I hung out and took pictures inside even after "leaving" the field), the line was already pretty considerable. And now that Rain Room is all over the internet, it's only going to get worse. Though maybe it'll die down once summer proper hits? If you're a MoMA member, getting there early seems to be the move. If you're not, I'm afraid I have no suggestions. Except to somehow go. 

Legendary long lines forming outside of the MoMa's Rain Room

Random International's Rain Room at MoMA 

Rain Room will be at MoMA through July 28, and is open every day during regular museum hours, with an hour tacked on to the beginning, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., exclusively for MoMA members. Rain Room entrance is on 54th Street, in the lot to the west of the museum. For lots more information, please visit the MoMA's Rain Room online!

 

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