Joining the ranks of past exhibitors Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Goldsworthy and Jeff Koons, Tomás Saraceno has this summer’s one-artist exhibit on the spectacular Metropolitan Museum of Art rooftop. Like last year’s Big Bambu (by artists and twin brothers Doug and Mike Starn), you can enter this Argentine sculpture’s space-station-like creation – if you have a ticket.
Since I want all of you not just to see this “Cloud City,” but to be inside it and experience the disorienting sensations caused by this exhibit, I’m going to give you the skinny on getting a timed-entry ticket. It’s not expensive and it’s not difficult; it just takes a little strategy (like so many things in our beloved and busy New York City). So here’s what you do:
First of all, know when it’s open: The roof is open every non-rainy day that the museum is open until November 4. The roof hours on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are from 10-4. On Friday and Saturdays, you get a bit more time up there as it is open from 10-6 or a bit later until dusk.
After an optional but highly suggested stop at William Greenberg Desserts (1100 Madison Avenue between E. 82 and E. 83rd Streets) for one of the best black and white cookies in NYC, I’d suggest getting to the museum early, by 9 a.m., before it opens, and get on line. You won’t be the only one there. Make sure you go to the Education Entrance (south of the big stairs and the main museum entrance) directly across from E. 81stStreet and Fifth Avenue.
Once the museum opens and the guard checks your bag for contraband, buy a regular museum entry (note: the Met is pay-as-you wish, so you can donate any amount you like to gain entry). You will then be able to go to the desk at the back of the lobby to sign up for the timed-entry tickets. Choose an early visit (those fill up first), or choose a time later in the day, go enjoy the museum and Central Park or shopping on Madison and Fifth Avenues, and come back later. Your colored M entry button is good all day.
Before you go up to the roof, you must sign a waiver. Museums have lawyers too.
Like some Disney rides, you must be 10 years of age or older and at least 48 inches tall to go inside the sculpture. Wear rubber soled, flat shoes (no leather soles or heels allowed) and skirts are strongly discouraged for the sake of modesty since people on the roof gardens walk directly under the clear acrylic structure and look up into the sculpture.
Finally, the museum will not allow you to take anything other than sunglasses and hats into the exhibit. That means you cannot take pictures from inside “Cloud City.” The Met provides you with a private and secure locker to store your stuff though, so no worries.
You get 20 minutes or so inside the sculpture to explore and enjoy the marvelous experience inside Tomás Saraceno’s spacey Cloud City. As you are elevated, the unparalleled views over the canopy of Central Park’s magnificent trees and the surrounding, stunning cityscape are even more beautiful than from the deck of the Cantor Roof Garden.
When you’re done exploring the Cloud City cubicles and you descend back to the roof garden, go get your camera and your wallet, grab a cocktail and take pictures from one of the most amazing public access roof gardens in the City.