Invasion of the Pop-Ups: Time for a Smackdown
In this past Sunday’s NYT Metropolitan section, the City Critic ripped into the recent rash of Pop-Ups in New York City:
There’s an epidemic in this town that seems to have reached crisis proportions in recent weeks, and it cries out for a whack-a-mole-style response. This has turned into the Summer of the Pop-Up.
Although he raises some valid points: they are everywhere, sometimes providing no value, charm or delight, but I don’t agree with his fervor. Among the pop-up experiences he mentions are a bowling alley in Grand Central (fun), an art exhibit (art for the masses, great!) and a Brooklyn restaurant in Manhattan (yum). I agree that the current Uniqlo pop up under the High Line is a bit TOO in-your-face-retail (the sponsored roller rink is fun and good for the brand, but do I want to buy sweaters when it’s 90 degrees?)—but I think this is the rare occasion.
Sure pop-ups are on trend right now, but especially in NYC, I think it’s a nice homage to the ever-changing city we live in. Nothing is permanent here. And when you stumble upon these experiences I don’t see it as a disappointment that it’s not going to last, I see it as a lovely experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Somehow in my supremely lame life, I happened upon a cool (sometimes secret) experience and I feel included in an exclusive club—oh and I’m willing to tell people about it so they can experience it too. I think this is a good thing.
Recently in my neighborhood, a small storefront that houses an artist was turned into a pop up flower shop while he’s in Spain painting (oh the life!). I think this is a delightful addition for the summer. Instead of an empty storefront that feels depressing, I walk past a window full of flowers. If pop-ups can continue and focus on delighting, surprising and introducing people to something new—I say continue popping.