“I’ll be there for you…”
For me, the show Friends defined my adolescence and young adulthood. It premiered when I was in 8th grade, continued through high school and college and ended at the end of my first year of teaching. It saw me through the ages of 13-24 and probably shaped a lot of what I thought my twenties and early thirties should look like (spoiler alert: they looked nothing like the show!). When I saw that there was a pop up museum coming to New York to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary, I knew I had to go. I snatch up tickets and eagerly awaited the chosen day. My friend Sarah was happy to tag along, being a fellow Friends fan (plus I bought her her ticket for her birthday).
As is the case with most pop ups, this one was full of photo ops. I had seen some preview images before going, so I knew most of what to expect, but there was still plenty to see that I didn’t know about going in. For example, the first photo op, which featured the couches and a faux version of the fountain from the opening credits:
This is the only official photo op at the pop. It is taken by the staff and then you can have it sent to your phone free of charge. For all the other photo ops, they conveniently have staffed placed to take pictures with your phones or cameras.
My favorite photo op, of course, was Ross’ Pivot couch! You can’t help but imagine Ross’ voice yelling, “Pivot… pivot… PIVOT!!” as you’re standing there.
I loved the whole exhibit, but I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have the girls’ apartment. It would’ve been so much fun to sit on the couches and look out through the windows into Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment. However, while they may not have had the entire apartment, they did have the iconic door. It was set ajar, a la the Thanksgiving episode where everyone is late for dinner and sticks their heads in.
And speaking of Thanksgiving episodes, remember the one where Monica puts a turkey on her head and dances for Chandler? Yup, they had that too!
They even had a mock up of the time when Joey puts on all of Chandler’s clothes. This is my best “Could I BE wearing anymore clothes?” face:
While they didn’t have the girl’s apartment, they did have Chandler and Joey’s. You can see the ridiculously large entertainment unit, the door with the Magna Doodle (which is interactive), the large ceramic dog, and – of course! – the chairs.
In between the photo ops, there’s plenty to look at. There are familiar props from the show, as well as some fun little things you would never see, such as Rachel’s eighteen page letter to Ross.
At the end of the exhibit is the ultimate photo op that everyone wants: Central Perk! They have the infamous couch and table, as well as some stools and various other pieces of furniture. It’s by far the longest wait for a photo, but totally worth it.
Central Perk is the last stop on the tour before the gift shop, but you can also stop for coffee and pastries at the little coffee shop. We opted out of that as we were going to dinner, but we did visit the gift shop and load up on souvenirs (had to have a Central Perk mug, of course!).
The evening was polished off at Black Tap. They are famous for their Crazy Shakes, one of which has an entire piece of cake on top of it! We opted against that one, as I’m fairly picky about the cake I eat, but also because it turned out they had a “Phoebe’s Crazy Shake” in conjunction with the exhibit (I didn’t know this going in, I just picked the restaurant because it was within walking distance and I’ve been meaning to try it). So, of course the Phoebe’s Crazy Shake it was! Totally worth the amount of calories I don’t even want to think about (see the description in the image).
Unfortunately, the exhibit is now sold out (so glad I jumped on the tickets a month ago when they went on sale), but there is a standby line if you want to take a shot at it! It’s located at 76 Mercer Street, and is open through early October. The gift shop, however, is open to the public (entrance on Broadway), if you can’t get in and need a Friends fix! Link here (store is also online).