6. There are 280,000 pounds of dirt sitting in a building in the name of art

Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room, 1977. © The Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: John Cliett. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation.

Yes, you read that right. The New York Earth Room is an installation by land artist Walter De Maria. Described as “an interior earth sculpture” by the Dia Art Foundation, the arts organization that commissioned it, It covers 3,600 square feet of floor space in a unit at 141 Wooster Street. It was installed in 1977 when the neighborhood was full of cheap warehouses and lofts, but imagine how valuable that real estate must be now!

De Maria also has a permanent installation called The Broken Kilometer at 393 West Broadway. It’s made of 500 solid brass rods that each measure two meters in length evenly spaced in rows on the floor of the gallery space. If placed end to end, the rods would measure exactly one kilometer (3,280 feet).