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People-watching: It’s the great equalizer. And lucky for us, we rarely get caught ogling the doormen at the Smyth.

But we’ve found a much less guilty way to rubberneck, surprisingly at the Met.

The exhibit “Street” heralds a new direction for the tried-and-true institution. Centered around an experimental video of the same name, it’s essentially an hour-long loop of Manhattan pedestrians, but as you’ve never seen them before.

Director James Nares traveled around the city in a moving SUV, filming passersby with a high-speed camera. He then greatly slowed down the footage (similar to The Matrix’s famous bullet-firing effects) and layered it with a dissonant score by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. The result, which in real time would be less than three minutes, is utterly transfixing.

In the surrounding galleries, you can also browse dozens of complementary photographs from the museum’s permanent collection. Hand-picked by Nares, these shots round out a theme of shared humanity--something we often forget to appreciate as we’re staring down our neighbors.

Through May 27; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. (at 82nd St.); 212-535-7710 or

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