New York: Journeying Into the Dream Machine

It’s undeniable: Instagram-baiting pop-ups have been, well, popping up everywhere in NYC for the last few years. What do I mean exactly? Think of an art exhibit with a liberal dollop of narcissism and you’ll have the measure of it. Essentially, these exhibits feature room after room of colorful walls, special effects, and props, all of which are begging for a selfie. I would like to claim I’m above it, but – obviously – I’m just as much of a trend lemming as any other millennial. And so, I couldn’t help but make my way to Brooklyn for the Dream Machine pop-up.

At the Dream Machine, they invite you to “let your imagination run wild as you explore our surreal-powered playground.” What exactly does this mean? Well, one room had a bubble machine, one a ball pit, one a wall of laundry machines and a woman handing out free cotton candy (why not?), and so forth. It’s all good, photogenic fun. Well, fun for the most part: the entire experience is, of course, meant to be photographed, but may the lord help you if you should find yourself trapped behind a wannabe fashion blogger taking 500 different photos from every possible angle while obliviously blocking your path.

I had a fun morning at the Dream Machine, though I couldn’t help but be mildly embarrassed by the vanity of the entire thing. It all starts to feel silly after a while, and perhaps taking a million selfies to catch the perfect light is not my – nor anyone’s – highest calling. Bottom line: if it’s style you seek, you’ll find plenty of it here, but for substance, maybe hop over to the Met.


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