Remember in the late 20teens, when we were inundated by Instagram-bait funhouses like the Museum of Pizza, Candytopia, SuperReal, Room for Tea… the Egg House, for chrissakes? Well, after a long pandemic lull and fueled by the astonishing rise of TikTok, the city is alive again with social media photo ops, from disco roller rinks and indoor crazy golf to — as of today, and for three weeks only — a huge, inflatable bouncy house next to Greeley Square called Pop in the City.
“We are known for curating custom-designed events all over the world,” Cameron Craig, one of the co-founders of XL Event Lab, the creators of Pop in the City, told Gothamist. “The 34th Street Partnership reached out to us to create something family friendly, something bright and colorful, for people to come and enjoy the area and participate, and something brand new. People are excited to get out and do things again with friends and family.”
You start your journey with a climb and a slide into a ball pit, then you have to clamber over a barrier into a trampoline-ish room where kids pelt you with large inflatable balls. Then comes another scramble into a much larger “disco ball pit,” complete with a DJ stand at one end, from whence blasts the likes of Katy Perry and the Village People. Then you hit the snowman room and get covered in fake snow, then another climb and a slide out of there. It’s exhausting! You will get so sweaty!
“I saw it on TikTok,” Briana Hurson, a teenager from Maspeth, Queens, told us, “and I was like, that looks really fun, I’m always down for a good bouncy castle, so we had to come out. The best part was when we were in the disco pit and they started playing Abba, and Abba’s my favorite band ever, so of course I had to go hard to that. I was already sweating, already tired. But I was like, nope, second burst of energy just to dance to Abba. It was so much fun.”
Pop in the City was commissioned specifically for this site. The website boasts of “an immersive and abstract take on New York, its people, and its culture,” but in reality that just means there’s a cartoony inflatable pigeon, a slice of pizza, and maybe that’s supposed to be the skyline?
Whatever… the first group to go through on opening day had a blast.
“I thought it was an amazing experience,” said Toronto resident Prati Sharma, who ventured into the thing with her four-year-old daughter Serena. “I’ve never had so much fun in a bouncy castle in my life.”
Pop in the City is located on Broadway between 32nd and 33rd Streets, and runs through Sunday, August 28th. The attraction is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Tickets for each 30-minute time slot are $20 per person, and can be purchased in advance online, which adds a $2.85 service charge per ticket.