At the top, I removed my shoes and set them beside a Penguin Classics tote bag, a tweed hat, an overcoat, and a pair of battered shoes. I imagined a lone professor bumbling about inside. Instead, when I stepped through the door into the violet light and trancelike sounds, I saw a lithe young couple embracing, surrounded by dingy pillows strewn across a musty wall-to-wall carpet. I felt as though I’d entered the bedroom of a rebellious teenager.
Behind them, windows covered in magenta gels tinted the city skyline pink. An altar featured a propped-up painting of a yogi-type howling at a cloud, incense burning below him in a blue cereal bowl. The air was hot and swirled with incense smoke, and the sound (not quite music) pulsed and droned and throbbed. The subtle pitch changes penetrated to my core.
Not wanting to disturb the couple, I retreated down a neon-lit hall to a second, smaller room. As I moved through the space, the sound changed, becoming shrill with a pounding undertone, sort of like being on a motorboat bouncing across waves. I felt lugubrious yet weightless. I sat on a pillow and contemplated the illuminated shadowbox hanging on the wall before me.