So there are two things in life that I truly fan girl over. I fan girl over a lot of stuff but I’m talking full on next level fan girl shit. And that is for Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC, and the TV show “Friends.” During late August an announcement was made that made my fan girl radar kick into high gear. In honor of “Friends” celebrating the 20th anniversary of the day the pilot episode premiered and made fans fall in love with Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross, New York City would be host to a “Central Perk” Pop Up shop. A replica of the gang’s daily coffee hangout. I NEARLY LOST MYSELF! I did. I have been saying how they needed to do something like this FOR YEARS. I remember reading awhile back that the only Central Perk that existed was somewhere in London and well let’s face it being a New York girl, London isn’t really around the corner. So when I heard this news I was ecstatic. If you doubt my dedication to the show or my love of Central Perk…I say click HERE…and all will be understood. Yup that’s right July 2013, I hosted my very on Central Perk themed party….and it was a blast.
My friends and I had been planning to go for weeks. But things kept coming up and we kept having to put it off. The shop opened up September 17, 2014 and closed October 18, 2013. ONLY A MONTH! A MONTH! The more I read about it, the more I knew I had to make time to get there. I am a huge TV nerd, and I love behind the scenes footage, I love props and getting to learn things about what goes on behind the camera of my favorite shows. Set secrets are my weakness. I love them! So when I heard we would be able to take a picture on the famous orange couch, I was super stoked! I can’t even explain to you how much of a tv nerd dream that has been for me. And even hosting my own party to try and make it happen couldn’t lessen the joy I felt when I actually got to do it! I sat where Jennifer Anniston sat!
Here’s my journey…(in pictures)
My friend and I got there around 2 in the afternoon we went on Columbus day. And I don’t think any other day would have made a difference….there was going to be a line either way and I have to say we were really lucky with the weather. It wasn’t too cold, not hot, and the rain held up until we were all said and done and on our way home…then we got soaked sans my brilliant idea not to bring along an umbrella. Throughout our wait we got a few time updates as we moved along the line. From a wait of nearly 4 hours from when we got on line, we finally made it to the front of the shop at around 5. What I found so interesting was how considerate the host at the door was. She briefed us on how the shop worked and where we had to go for our picture with the couch and where the gift shop line was and urged us to take pictures. She also shooed away passing people who were stopping and taking pictures through the door, stating that all of us waiting online deserve to take as many pictures as we want, that people just walking by do not just get to waltz in and steal photos. I thought that was really cool of her. 3 & 1/2 hours later and we are in! We are greeted by Pat the Dog and an array of other Friends memorabilia and specific character wardrobe.
Next we move on to a glass case showcasing props used in many different episodes, all enveloped in episode stills of the show and cast photos surrounding us.
Next we move onto the coffee station…where we not only got our choice of FREE coffee but also got blessed with some very signature set props
After we got our free coffees we explored at bit more before waiting on the line to take our picture on THE famous orange couch. How cool are those signed scripts, did you know the show was almost called “Six of One” or “Friends Like Us.”
They had a big flat screen playing friends clips and there was a definite 90’s soundtrack playing over the sound system…pretty sure I remember singing along to “I believe I can fly.” On the wall behind us were some sketches of the signature sets. Also notice the umbrella holder from the show was there as well!
***Heading to the COUCH!***
They had someone taking pictures for you…but you were allowed to have someone take a picture for you using one other personal device.
Then you were given a card with a website and photo code to obtain your FREE picture.
Sitting on that couch was surreal, I did my best to take it all in. I have to admit though I was a bit skeptical of whether they were telling the truth that the couch was the real couch used on the show. But once I saw it in person and saw how dingy and dirty and flat the cushions were, I knew it was the real deal! haha. And I was cool with it! The only thing missing were our big coffee mugs; they made us put our coffee down when sitting on the couch #nospillzone. But other than that it was super awesome to live out a tv nerd fantasy of mine. I even sat in the green chair on the side [I hope that was the real chair too] and had a little fan girl moment for myself just before heading to the gift shop area.
The gift shop area was right at the center and across from the coffee station. When we got to it, there wasn’t much left. I really wanted a mug or a bracelet but they were sold out of the mugs and they had a few bracelets left but they wanted like $40 for one bracelet. So I settled on a central Perk frame to put my picture in, a magnet and a bunch of buttons.
You couldn’t use cash; only debit or credit cards, which was kind of annoying but I guess with all the craziness they didn’t want to be responsible for managing money too. They had like an iPad type credit card swiper. But thankfully I had read up beforehand and knew to have the money on my card and also they give you an option of being sent a receipt through email or text. Which is good.
After the gift shop, I remember turning to my friend and asking where the gold frame around the peephole was…that I remembered reading it was supposed to be there and that I hadn’t come across it and low and behold it was cleverly discussed right near the gift shop exit.
It was encased in a peephole esque tv box playing a few Friends clips and it was see through so when you looked close you saw the frame but from the side you can see clearly. This was a replica of the original.
All in all it was an amazing experience. The 3 and a half hours weren’t as bad as I thought and once we got the first block down we moved quicker to the front. The only downside was I had to pee! We were so close that I thought I’d make it, but when we hit the block of the entrance they said we’d have to wait about another half hour (which didn’t end up being true) but I ran into the deli/café next door to use their rest room anyway. I wasn’t about to take any chances of having to rush through my once in a life time chance of seeing all of this amazing tv stuff. When I came back I was trying to get back on my place in line and I was stopped by a security guy. I was like “I just went to the bathroom. I’ve been here the whole time.” [Mind you this guy saw my face like 10 times throughout the waiting period.] My friend was screaming over saying “she’s with me, she’s with me” and he almost didn’t let me in. I just stopped talking and looked at him with a face. Then all the girls that were waiting behind us in line that whole time were screaming out “she was here, she was here, let her in.” And he was like “Oh ok, they say you were here…I’m sorry, if you weren’t I wouldn’t be able to let you in, but they say you were, so go ahead.” And I was let in. I was like yea I was getting in here no matter what….you would have seen me flip out, there would have been tears…it would have been a scene.
But never the less I went, I saw, I conquered and I actually did manage to put my camera down here and there and actually take it all in. What a cool experience and worth the wait!
I think Eight O’clock coffee did a damn good job. The staff was nice, the atmosphere was that of a coffee shop, and looked like Central Perk! Despite the crowds of people and the amount of things to look at, everything moved rather smoothly and it was a cozy comforting experience. The different stations made it all easier and organized and I never felt pressed for time or rushed. It was so cool to see all the set pieces and stage props and everything. I’m such a huge Friends fan, it is my absolute favorite show, and this was such an amazing thing to experience and it was free! My favorite thing! haha. Take a picture sitting on the orange couch from Friends…check. #bucketlist It did so well, they really should open up a real coffee shop here in NYC for good!
And for my fellow Friends fans who do not own the box set…BIG NEWS…
It’s coming to Netflix January 1, 2015!
Could you BE any more excited???