The New Museum: A Playground!

Don’t you love interactive museum exhibits? This morning, Alex and I swung by the New Museum’s amazing new exhibit, Carston Höller: Experience, which has transformed the museum into a grown-up playground. First, we rode a mirrored carousel, where you sit on swings and rotate slowly, while listening to actual birds singing. It was incredibly relaxing, and you felt like you were five years old.

See the mobile of chirping birds? Now, see the top of the slide?


Fascinated by themes of childhood, safety, love and doubt, Höller built a 102-foot-long slide that runs from the museum’s fourth floor to the second floor.

Naturally, Alex was braver and went first.

Down he goes!

Butterflies in my stomach, I went next. The guide told me to put my hands in my lap…

…and tuck my feet into the canvas sack seat.

Whoosh! The slide was FAST with twists, turns and blinking lights. You basically fly out of the tunnel at the end; I definitely screamed! :) What a trip!

The exhibit also has a sensory deprivation tank, in which you float weightlessly and have an out-of-body experience…


…and upside-down goggles, which make you see the world (you guessed it) upside down.

What a fun exhibit; I’d highly recommend going by. See more here. xoxo

P.S. Look at Höller’s slide at the Tate Modern!

(Glasses photo courtesy of The New Museum; tank photo by Katie Sokoler/Gothamist; all other photos by us)

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  3. OMG – all those things look so awesome!! I want to go!

  4. Oh my word, now THAT is a museum I am dying to visit! How fun and exciting! :D Sooo fun. If I ever am in the area I am for sure dropping by there.

  5. bootsoo says...

    So do you take your bathing suit if you want to go in the deprivation tank? I think this exhibit calls for a special trip, amazing!

  6. Yes you have to go to the St. Louis City Museum. It is such an interesting place! It’s like a playground for adults (and kids). Although I couldn’t do much since I was struck by vertigo when I went and couldn’t walk anywhere on the outdoor playground. :/ And I was terrified to go in a slide haha. But I still think it’s worth checking out sometime!

  7. We went to the Carston Höller exhibition when it was at the Tate Modern in London. What an amazing experience that slide is! :D

  8. We had a go on Holler slide when it was at GOMA in Brisbane. It was scarily awesome. Had to calm down our nerves by playing with the all white lego exhibit.

  9. i went today it was so much fun! i didnt do the goggles however or the tank! ( no bikini)

  10. another reason why i heart ny

  11. That museum looks fabulous, thanks for sharing this! :)

  12. I’d love to check out this museum and try out that tank!

  13. woah, that’s so cool! i wanna go :)

  14. haha, jenny, yes, alex ran back up to take a photo :)

  15. about claustrophobia: yes! i’m totally claustrophobic (NEVER take the subway, hate elevators) and had a moment of i-dont-think-i-want-to-do-this, but you can see out of the clear tunnel slide and i heard the people before me going down the slide and it was obviously SUCH a quick ride. so i went for it!:)

  16. Did you know that Miuccia Prada has one of Höller’s slides from her second story office in Milan, out to the car park?!

  17. WHHAAAT? This place looks awesome!! Upside down glasses? Haha. Awesome.

  18. I will go to London this weekend, I know that my sister thinking about little trip through museums, I hope that one of them would be so amazing as this one !!!!!!
    totally crazy :) And I really enjoyed reading this post :)))
    Thank you :)

  19. that slide looks AMAZING! you make living in NY look so fun.

  20. Oh wow, this looks like the most amazing exhibition. I think I may have seen the slide at an exhibition in Brisbane (Australia), but was too scared to give it a go.

    Between Holidays

  21. How fun! This looks like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. I can’t wait to check it out when I’m in the NYC next month! Thanks for the hot tip.

  22. what a great way to spend a morning and especially with your husband! thanks for sharing.

  23. I saw the slides at the Tate when it was there a few years ago. It is so exciting to now have them in NYC!

  24. That looks sooooo fun! Wish I was in NYC!

  25. That exhibit is amaaaazing! WOW!

  26. i went on several of carsten holler’s slides at the tate modern, i just so happened to be there when the slides were, i felt so lucky! they were really really fun, even one that went from the 4th floor to the 1st!

    but have you ever been in a sensory isolation tank? when you do it voluntarily, it’s called “floating,” but it is truly, amazingly relaxing. you don’t use any of your muscles and just float in water with 1000 lbs of epsom salt, like in the dead sea. the water comes up over your ears, but never on your face, so you just lay there with your eyes closed, and let it all go. i’ve gone twice, the first time i got out after the hour was over and felt like 2 weeks had passed, i was so rested. the second time i went for 2 hours and came out feeling like no time had passed at all, but my mind was on a peaceful level above the world around me.

    one place in montreal:

    another in venice beach, southern ca:

    i fly to LAX when i visit my parents, and my husband and i both agree that floating should be the first thing we do after leaving the airport, to soothe our muscles from the cross country flight, and to rejuvenate after having to wake up at 5am EST!

  27. I wonder if the bird stuck out by itself on the long arm feels lonely. Or is there more than one bird per cage?

  28. Oh dear Lord that slide is like ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE! Amazing! *s*

  29. Oh, and I hope you had a lovely weekend away!(?)

  30. Argh, that looks amazing! Particularly doing it on a weekday morning – sounds like a great way to start your day! I missed the opportunity to go on the slides when they were at the Tate. I think we went hoping to go on them but the place was just packed! I regret it now though!

    Did Alex run all the way back up to take a picture of you doing it?!

  31. Amazing, I went on those slides when they were at the Tate Modern in Lodon, England. they were so fantastic. It was the most fun I had experience in years. I felt like a small child again. Giggling all the way down!

    I love interactive museums.

    Thanks for a great Blog


  32. Wow this looks amazing!! I just wish I could go and see it!

  33. C says...

    I went on the ones at the Tate (there were 4 different height ones), it was surreal seeing everyone shooting about because they’re see through and the turbine hall is high enough to see the whole thing. My mum screamed the whole way down!

  34. That looks awesome, definitely going to that! Thanks for sharing!

  35. That slide looks kind of too scary for me. I’m such a baby. But I would love, love to experience that carousel. The whole thing is just amazing. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to the New Museum. I’ll repent!

  36. I had the chance to experience the Holler slides in London…they were amazing and what a way to experience art!

  37. Wow, this looks so fun. I wish I could go there.

  38. Oh my goodness, this is amazing. I wish you could play with more museums..

  39. Looks hilarious. Slides should be installed everywhere!

  40. This looks awesome, and I’ve been meaning to check out the New Museum. But, like you, I’m terribly claustrophobic. Did the slide feel enclosed?!

  41. Awww this is brilliant. So fun. I love the fact that for a second there you have no idea where that slide is going. I want to be there..right now if I could. :))
    Hmm, the sensory deprivation tank seems awesome, have to also try that sometime.

  42. this looks like so much fun! what a great way to never forget your child like sense of wonder.

  43. Jealous! I was able to go to Tate Modern and ride a couple of the slides there–I think there were four? The Turbine Hall is cool in general, but definitely fun from a slide!

    Geena, I work in the museum world, and most will let you take photos without a flash of their permanent collection. Generally they are more strict about traveling exhibitions. And flash photography is almost always a no no, but especially with light-sensitive media (works on paper, etc).

  44. YAY looks like fun! Glade you braved the slide! Cant wait to go now :)

  45. Fantastic!! I’m heading to NYC on Thursday night so I’m going to have to drag my buddy with me on Friday to check this place out!

  46. Wow, thanks for sharing! The four-storey slide looks amazing!


  47. Amazing! I’ll take any excuse to go to NY. This looks like so much fun… and then I can use all of the guides you previously posted. Thanks for pre-planning a mini vacation for me!

  48. wow! what a fun post.i love it. you two crazy kids!! (i don’t think i could go down that slide….there i said it)

  49. Eep! I was there this morning too! How did we miss each other?

    The exhibit made me so dizzy. I only lasted a few seconds on the carousel, he!

  50. can you actually participate in the sensory deprivation?! crazy!

  51. I want to go!I want to go!!

  52. patsy says...

    I am surprised that with your claustrophobia you were able to go into the slide. I have extreme claustrophobia and it bothered me just seeing the picture of you getting into the slide. Were you bothered by it at all?

  53. this looks so neat! my husband and i are going to the city in december and i just added this to our to do list :)

  54. this is amazing!!!

  55. Love this!!! The slide seems like it would be a big test of bravery for me. You know that kids would just hurl themselves down without a second thought. What happens to us as adults?

  56. Fun! Added to my to-do list. Maybe a good 2nd date? I was informed the location was my choice this time.

  57. the city museum in saint louis sounds awesome!!! and geena, we were allowed to take photos. i think most museums let you take photos if you don’t use the flash?

  58. Oh that’s too much fun, i would love to see that exhibit! i would have butterflies too while getting onto that slide.

  59. That looks amazing – I’d love to go on the slide! x

  60. What a neat concept! Personally, I prefer my playgrounds with some sand, plants and blue skies :) I could see why you were scared of taking the plunge!! Pretty cool to experience!

    Kristina Gulino
    Something 2 Write About

  61. aww man! I’m 8 months pregnant so I’m pretty sure they won’t let me ride the slide. bummer. looks incredible.

  62. this looks amazing! wish i could go!

    Callie @ A Chance To Die

  63. Anonymous says...

    If you ever make it to St. Louis you should visit the City Museum. Although it’s more playground than museum, it’s amazing!

  64. how did u sneak photos? are camera’s allowed?

  65. jennifer, it was pretty intense! i’m sure a child would love the carousel, but the slide i bet has an age minimum. it was FAST!

  66. I’m so glad this just opened… I’ve been meaning to get over to the New Museum since they relocated and this exhibition is a super incentive!

  67. that looks like such a fun exhibit! that slide gave me butterflies just looking at it!

  68. Wow! This looks like so much fun.

  69. i love finding things you can interact with in a museum! we went to the serpentine gallery a few weeks ago and there was a drum kit in the middle of the room. we went to play it and got in trouble! “not for playing, just for looking at!”
    what?!?! no fun!
    will have to go to the tate modern to try that slide x

  70. this museum looks so fun! i definitely will look into it on my next trip to new york!

  71. that is super! funny, i wasn’t looking carefully at your captions. i see you getting in a slide and then, suddenly, you’re naked and floating on your back. my first thought was, ‘wow! that’s SOME slide!’. of course, i’ve looked more carefully now. :)

  72. Oh NYC !! you really can not beat living there when it comes to entertainment, can you?!

    What a fun morning date…love it!

  73. We’re going on Friday for the New Museum’s Halloween Cocktail Party. We’ll get to get tipsy AND ride the slide, haha!

  74. That’s looks awesome! Obviously it’s the month after I leave NYC!

  75. Cool !
    I love that Alex was wearing his suit on the slide and the carroussel… it just adds to the argument of the artist

  76. AMAZING! I want to do it all. It’s on the list next time I’m in town. So fun!

  77. Oh I wish I lived in NY or at least close so I could go to this! Looks so fun…

  78. Looks like a lot of fun!!! Cool slide!

  79. That is awesome! What a way to start a Tuesday morning. Every company should have their employees start their day with this:)

  80. This is crazy! The husband and I will have to go for a play date soon.

  81. oh wow, i so want to go there! it looks incredible!

  82. Yikes! That looks fun!! The slide looks incredible. I’d want to try it more than one haha

  83. This looks amazing! Do you think you could actually take a child? (ie one who is nearly 3?). I can’t find that kind of info on the new museum site!

  84. So fun looking! I definitely would have been a little scared of going in that slide. It’s more frightening when you can’t see where you’re going. A bit Alice and the rabbit hole, eh?
    P.S. I totally thought that was you in the water too. My comment was going to be, “Nice boobs!” :)

  85. haha, nope, that’s not me naked! the photo is from the museum. i think it’s a dude anyway? hard to tell!

  86. how cool!!!! museums (and cool ones like this) are thes best thing ever! makes you feel like a kid again.

    thanks for sharing! adding to my “to do at some point in my life” list.

  87. Becca says...

    I totally went on the Holler slide at the Tate Modern when it was there! It was so much fun!


  88. I wish I could get up there for this! It looks amazing.

  89. Oh my golly. THIS LOOKS LIKE A DREAM. I absolutely need to visit. I would have never known if you didn’t post. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!
    ps, !

  90. That slide looks super cool:)Have a great Tuesday, Joanna

  91. Holy man that would be the sweetest day every! I always loved playgrounds and never really stopped so this would make for quite the adventure!

  92. that looks like the best date ever:)

  93. Awww, I remember those slides from the Tate Modern! Can’t wait to check this out! Thanks, Joanna!

  94. That looks incredible!

  95. Anonymous says...

    looks like fun! and are you nude in that water picture?!

  96. Wow, that is SO awesome! I’d love to do the slide!