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Two people in leather jackets and masks at a rage room.
Photograph: Courtesy of Live Axe's Rage Room

NYC’s newest rage room is tailored to your personal grievances

Smash a laptop, shatter plates, hit a printer with a baseball bat, and just generally go wild at Live Axe’s Rage Room.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

At this new experience in Lower Manhattan, shattering plates, throwing glasses at the wall and smashing laptops isn't just OK—it's encouraged. 

Live Axe's Rage Room, which opens on August 29, allows visitors to take a crowbar to a printer,  pulverize glassware, shout, stomp and truly let it all out.

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The Rage Room is located beneath Live Axe, a popular axe-throwing spot that’s been open since 2020. Before you get to go wild, you’ll meet your “rage captain” who will interview you about what makes you tick, from relationship issues to work problems to political drama. Then, you’ll suit up into head-to-toe gear, including a helmet, eye protection and gloves to make sure you’re safe. (Be sure to wear close-toed shoes and long pants for the experience.)

You'll be all alone with a bunch of stuff you can destroy.

Next, you'll get to head into the rage room where you'll be all alone with a bunch of stuff you can destroy. There's a punching dummy you can whack, along with piles of props. 

Based on your interview, the rage captain will have customized your experience in the room. For example, if you chose work issues, they may place a laptop or printer in the space (they're old devices being recycled, don't worry). If you chose family issues, you might see a dining room table set-up. Unlike other rage room concepts, this venue focuses on meticulously crafting scenery that is seemingly "too perfect" to smash, adding an intriguing twist to the experience.

A man holds up smashed printers.
Photograph: Courtesy of Live Axe's Rage Room

Then, things escalate to the next level. The rage captain, who sits outside of the room in a control booth, can speak to you and will say things to truly amp up your rage. During a demo, for example, rage caption Sabrina Blezow heckled the participant who chose relationship issues. “Dude, it’s only been five minutes. Are you already out of breath?” she asked him sardonically.

If it sounds cruel, remember this is what you paid for. 

Rage captions like Blezow work with specialized scripts to trigger emotions "whether you're looking to release much-needed steam or simply embrace your wild side," the staff explained.

During the experience, cameras point toward you, and there's a window so your friends can watch from a distance. 

The concept's the brainchild of Live Axe's owner Zac Segal who says he's been wanting to add other activities to the roster at the venue. Segal and the team carefully considered every detail of Live Axe's Rage Room, from the demeaning words on the walls to the hand-painted splatter art in the room.

After you're tired out, the Rage Room team cleans up the room, setting it up for the next person.

It's important to note that these kinds of activities don't address the underlying cause of anger and they don't help people learn healthier ways to manage their emotions, according to the Cleveland Clinic

If you are struggling with a serious anger issue, skip the anger room and find a therapist.

"I think it’s fine if you want to go have fun with it, but I don’t think it’s particularly therapeutic," clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD, said in the Cleveland Clinic article. 

"Some people get a kick out of smashing stuff just because it’s usually forbidden, and that’s OK," per the Clinic. "But if you are struggling with a serious anger issue, skip the anger room and find a therapist."

The author in the Rage Room.
Photograph: Courtesy of Live Axe's Rage Room | Here I am, giving the Rage Room a try.

My experience in The Rage Room 

Here's the thing: I'm a very emotional person (Cancer zodiac sign in the house), but rage honestly isn't an emotion I experience too often. In fact, I struggled to articulate during the interview with the rage captain what really makes me angry. "Um, too many emails, I guess," I meekly shared. I more often feel disappointed or bewildered or annoyed during my daily life than angry.

Bigger systemic issues (the patriarchy, lack of affordable housing, ignoring climate change, the erosion of American democracy) infuriate me, but I'm more likely to want to cry than to smack a punching bag when I feel upset about these problems.

I shouted, 'this one's for the patriarchy!' when I threw a plate at the wall, splintering it into shards.

Even so, I tried my best to get into a rage mindset. I shouted, "this one's for the patriarchy!" when I threw a plate at the wall, splintering it into shards—and, you know what, that felt pretty decent, especially as I thought about the unequal burden women shoulder in household tasks like washing dishes.

Riffing on my comment about emails, the rage captain encouraged me to take a baseball bat to a laptop, and I really tried, I swear. It's actually quite hard to break a laptop (for my arm strength at least). As I whaled away it, tiny bits of plastic flaked off but that's about it.

I watched another participant after me, and he nailed it, crushing a printer to bits in mere seconds. That was fascinating to watch, and I can imagine it would be fun to observe friends in Live Axe's Rage Room, especially those whose personal gripes you intimately know.

Plus, if your subway gets delayed on the way there or your taxi driver lays on the horn during the drive to Live Axe's Rage Room, that's all the better to get in the right irritated mindset because in this case, it's all in good fun.

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