We Tried It: Boston’s Friends 25th Anniversary Pop-Up
Could we be taking any more photos?
It’s a gray and drizzly November day, and commuters are bustling up and down Brookline Ave. in the Fenway, clutching coffees, tunnel vision imposed by the hoods of their rain jackets. Most pass by the papered-over windows of the old Blick Art Supply without a second glance. I, however, make a beeline for the inconspicuous door labeled “media entrance.” It’s press day at the Friends 25th Anniversary Pop-Up, and along with a handful of fellow BoMag staffers, I’ve ventured out early this dreary morning to sit on some orange couches, imbibe cups of Central Perk coffee, and find out what it really feels like to dance around with a turkey, fez, and sunglasses on your head (“Echoey and claustrophobic,” per one of my co-workers. But more on that later).
The pop-up, which opens this Thursday and lasts through January 5, promises fans a chance to revisit the show’s most iconic moments through props and costumes actually used in filming, recreated sets, and many, many photo opportunities. We thought we had best test out every photo background the pop-up has available, as a service to you, our readers. Here are our findings.
The exhibit, which takes about 30 minutes to complete from start to finish, kicks off with a set where you can recreate the show’s iconic theme song sequence. This is one of the photo stations spread throughout the pop-up that is equipped with a photo light and timer camera, a convenient perk that allows you to snap a picture of your whole group and text or email it to yourself. No, you cannot jump into the fountain (we asked). Yes, you do have to listen to “I’ll Be There for You” the whole time.
After opening and closing those umbrellas for a few dozen Boomerangs, we moved on to the Ross room. Each of the Friends gets their own dedicated space within the pop-up. Ross’s, of course, includes the PIVOT! couch. Ugh! We’re never going to get this couch up to our apartment at this rate!
Next, we moved on to Monica’s room.
Here’s a seasonally-appropriate and very-difficult-to-replicate photo opp: Just like Monica in the episode when Chandler finally tells her he loves her, you too can insert your head into a turkey and dance around to your heart’s content. While I personally did not don this getup, I’m told by my fellow writers that the shiny, rubbery pseudo-poultry is very heavy. Never fear: pop-up staff will be on hand to help you suit up. Anyway, as we waited for professional assistance in placing the turkey upon our intern’s head, a staff member informed us that in the New York City iteration of the pop-up, a man proposed to his girlfriend by getting down on one knee while she was inside the turkey. Local Romeos, take note!
After a quick hair touch-up, it was on to Joey and Chandler’s apartment. Don’t worry: You can’t accidentally lock yourself inside the entertainment center. You can, however, kick back and relax in the recliners.
We also took the liberty of putting on all of Chandler’s clothes.
Interspersed with the set recreations are actual props and costumes used on the show, from Ross’s Spudnik helmet to Monica’s chef uniform. If you see something you like, take note: For Giving Tuesday this year, Warner Bros. will be auctioning off Friends props, costumes, authorized reproductions, and production materials as a fundraiser for the Trevor Project. While it’ll cost you a pretty penny (the estimated sale price of a reproduction of the Holiday Armadillo costume, for example, is somewhere between $10,000-$15,000), some Friends fanatics’ love knows no bounds.
What better way to follow up all that couch lifting and recliner sitting than with a caffeine hit at Central Perk? The friends’ iconic hangout tops off the pop-up experience. By the time you’ve worked your way here, you might need another burst of energy. Fortunately, coffee and pastries, provided by Finesse and Union Square Donuts, are available on-site. Sit, sip, and scroll through your newly-packed photo library—
—And then maybe pick up some merch to commemorate the experience, because photos just aren’t enough sometimes.
The Friends 25th Anniversary Pop-Up, $33-$55, Thursday, Nov. 21- Saturday, Jan. 5, 401 Park (entrance at the corner of Brookline Ave. and Fullerton St.), Boston, friends25popup.com.