Wellness-obsessed hordes (AKA us!) have taken over New York City landmarks before (think massive yoga classes, everywhere from Central Park to Times Square to Madison Square Garden.) And now that meditation is a part of our social lives and we urban dwellers are blissing out with sound baths in droves, it was only a matter of time before meditators took over some serious NYC real estate as well.
In a spot that’s about as scenic as the urban jungle gets (a Greek-inspired amphitheater with an 83-foot wall of glass overlooking the Manhattan skyline), the home of jazz at Lincoln Center will be transformed into a giant sound bath for 450 people, something Miles Davis and Duke Ellington would have had a tough time imagining. It’s all happening on Sunday, April 10, thanks to The Big Quiet, which has been bringing modern meditation to the masses since last summer.
“We organize The Big Quiet so New Yorkers can come together and share meditation in a way that is accessible, social, and blended with modern culture,” says Jesse Israel, founder of The Big Quiet and Medi Club, a meditation meetup and social club for New Yorkers. “And the Appel Room amphitheater is a killer venue because of its stunning view overlooking the city and its advanced acoustics.”
With a ceiling of microphones floating above the stage and hundreds of speakers buried in the wall, “it’s a perfect sonic experience post-meditation, when the audience’s senses are refined, and the crowd is captive and grounded,” Israel says.
Sonic star Sara Auster, who will be creating the sound bath, usually works completely unplugged, without microphones, amplifiers, or other electronics. But in this case, the setup “allows for a completely acoustic concert amplified through dozens of microphones in the room and over 100 speakers buried in the walls,” she says. “This will offer a complete surround and audio-immersive experience. Of course, the energy of a large group coming together to share this kind of experience will add a whole other level of ‘amplification.'”
As far as the meditation goes, it’s BYOP (practice, that is), and for first-timers there will be instruction on a simple meditation technique. Two sittings are scheduled (one at 4:30 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m.) of 450 people each—but keep in mind that 1,200 people showed up for a Big Quiet meditation and sound bath event on a boat on the Hudson River in September (and the boat only held 700 people—so yes, hundreds were turned away).
What’s next for The Big Quiet? Israel is coy on details but promises more events this year at “iconic buildings, music festivals, and unique city spaces.” So go ahead and pick up that extra muscle tee and those cool-girl sporty shorts that you can move in—sounds like it’s going to be another meditation summer.
The Big Quiet, Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019. Sunday, April 10, two sittings: 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets available at jazz.org or (212) 721-6500.
New to group meditation? This chic Manhattan studio is like a Drybar for social sittings. Or to go it alone, try these quick stress-busters: a five-minute guided meditation from Tiffany Cruikshank or a one-minute “light bath” with Gabrielle Bernstein.