One of New York City’s most unique art experiences — Dream House — sits just a few minutes away from the Duane Street Hotel. To check out this unique space, approach the front door of 275 Church Street. A piece of computer paper taped to the door of what looks like an unassuming apartment building advises Dream House visitors to ring the third-floor buzzer. Your adventure begins here.
Follow the stairs to the third floor, where a Dream House employee will meet you at a closed doorway. They will ask you to remove your shoes and inform you of the $9 suggested donation.
Once you remove your shoes, you are welcome to step into the Dream House. Enter a hallway lit at both ends with dark pink neon magenta. Above your head hangs a neon sign, reading “Dream House” in four directions. A circular sound — reminiscent of a gong, didjeridoo or deep hum — immediately envelopes your ears.
After walking through the hallway into the exhibit’s main room, the dark magenta neon intensifies, projected from black theatre-style lights dangling from the ceiling. The humming sound fluctuates, pulsating with an in-and-out symmetry and repetition. The exhibition’s minimalist sounds — by LaMonte Young — consist of composed frequencies tuned to an uncommon harmonic series. Young stated on the Mela Foundation: Dream House website that it’s “unlikely that anyone has ever worked with these intervals before, it is also highly unlikely that anyone has heard them or perhaps even imagined the feelings they create.”
Keeping Young’s words in mind, those of you who experience this enveloping exhibition are likely to feel something that you never have before.
The floor is scattered with pillows, providing a place to rest and dissolve into a simple state of being, a state of meditation, or something like it. The simple act of being in the Dream House is meant to expand your mind and enrich your emotions.
The exhibition invites you to sit and zone out or actively explore the room, with its various wall installations and a small shrine to Pandit Pran Nath, an Indian musician and renowned composer of classical raga compositions, who inaugurated Dream House. The room’s window allows you to gaze out on the Tribeca streetscape and see New York in a completely new light. Take your time. Wait until you’re finished.
Step out of the Dream House and decide for yourself whether or not the experience was fun, elevating, illuminating, transcending, weird, peaceful or anything else. One thing is for sure — you will have enjoyed an absolutely unique and interesting experience in TriBeca.
Note: If no one answers when you ring the third floor, buzz the fourth floor. As a last resort, you can dial the phone number listed on the paper for access. If you’re visiting during open hours (2 p.m. until midnight, Thursday through Sunday) one of these options will work.