My Inhibitions Went Away at Happy Place Boston

Scrolling through my Instagram a few weeks ago, I noticed something very strange. An influx of photos featuring people standing on the ceiling of what appeared to be a child’s bedroom, and lounging in yellow bathtubs surrounded by rubber ducks, kept appearing in my feed. Using my very professional detective skills (aka, clicking the location button), I soon discovered that all of these zany landscapes were part of a pop-up exhibition on Boylston Street called Happy Place.

It’s odd to think that we live in a time when people flock to warehouses and random spaces full of outrageous props like a giant pair of high heels, a larger than life cookie, and interactive installations like a giant confetti dome, just to take pictures of themselves. I am fully aware that these kinds of “museums” are tailored to the generation born and raised on social media, and are essentially getting us to pay to make fools of ourselves and ignore life’s problems for a minute.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

I acknowledge it, and yes, I embrace it. These are the kinds of experiences you just have to fully throw yourself into without worrying about being judged or thinking about the philosophical nightmare that you’ve just stepped into that makes reality seem more like a joke. I’m not trying to be a downer, but I figured I’d give a quick shout out to the part of my soul that shudders every time I jump into a ball pit to get the most perfectly timed Boomerang.

In all honesty, these kinds of picture-perfect exhibits can be overbearing and even exhausting at times. My roommate and I embraced our crazy, Gen Z urges as we raced from photo-op to photo-op to beat the crowds before they would reach the prime spots with the best lighting. After briefly admiring the cuteness of the spaces, we got to work and snapped as many photos as we could before our spirits could break down. Smiling for that long should honestly be illegal.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

At one point, the two of us descended into pure delirium as we shouted at each other to channel our inner tigers or alligators, clawing and clapping at the camera (Derek Zoolander would have been so proud). We knew we were being absolutely ridiculous, but we were having a ball, so we let our silliness run its course.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

When we made it to the famous rubber duck room, the two of us hopped into the claw foot tub filled with plastic yellow balls and pretended to bathe ourselves. People were staring, and the employees were raising their eyebrows, but we couldn’t stop laughing and messing around. You would be surprised to see how many people act so seriously and strategically when they’re in these Instagrammable exhibits, which actually enhances the people-watching portion of the experience. Of course, we eventually managed to get some normal-looking photos out of that room, but it was nice to let loose a little before then.

One mechanical issue with Happy Place is that the space gets really warm. I was constantly fanning myself with my hand and would run every time I saw a giant fan failing to fill the room with air. My roommate and I took turns having our “Beyoncé’s hair in the wind machine” moments, which entertained some people passing by and the guy in charge of handing out cookies. In fact, there was an entire room dedicated to the almighty chocolate chip cookie that was covered with floor-to-ceiling, cookie-print wallpaper. It was a little trippy, but still pretty adorable.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

My favorite part of the installation by far was the “upside down” room. I couldn’t wait to see it IRL after so many people had shown off their gravity-defying skills on Instagram. Although I wish it had been an actual zero-gravity chamber, it ended up being the kind of generic kid’s room from a sitcom, except it was stuck to the ceiling. In here you have to put on your acting hat and pretend that everything is upside down, so when you flip a photo around it looks like you can walk on walls. Clever? Not particularly. Fun? Absolutely.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

An honorable mention goes out to the garden room, with platforms covered in holes for people to climb into using ladders, that looked like a “Pop-Goes-the-Weasel” arcade game. Sunflowers and crystal garlands hung from the ceiling above the platform which was also decorated with flowers to create a dazzling fairy-lit garden land. It was a lovely and relaxing way to top off the dizzying, technicolor daydream we had just experienced.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

All in all, Happy Place was a good time, and I wouldn’t mind going for another whirl. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, so be prepared for the endless stampedes all around you stopping every five seconds to take pictures, but if you love people-watching then consider this a real treat.

Since Happy Place Boston is just a pop-up installation, it will only be there until June 2nd, so gather all of your friends and head over to Boylston Street to release your inhibitions as you all pose in front of a variety of wild backdrops. I can promise that looking through your camera roll the next day will surely put a smile on your face. :)

 

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