Friends rings in its 25th anniversary on Sept. 22, but the festivities have already begun. For one week in August — from Aug. 16 through Aug. 23 — two Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations in Los Angeles turned their spaces into real-life Central Perks, where fans could order everything from "The Rachel Matcha Latte" to "The Joey Mango Cold Brew Tea." This month, the celebrations are even bigger, as the Friends pop-up shop in New York City opened its doors, and it includes multiple photo opportunities only true Friends fans would understand and appreciate. As a diehard fan of the series, I have just three words to say about the space: "Oh. My. Gawd."
On Friday, Sept. 6, I got to experience the Friends pop-up shop — created by live entertainment company Superfly — one day before the sold-out event opened up to the public, and it completely activated my nostalgia. I got a sneak peek of the original copy of the 18-page (front and back) letter Rachel wrote Ross, asking if he could take full responsibility for the demise of their relationship. That nearly brought tears to my eyes.
Other original props at the space include a copy of Ross' Science Boy comic; the Geller Cup; Chandler's "best bud" friendship bracelet from Joey; Phoebe's dollhouse; Joey's stuffed penguin, Huggsy; and about 50 more authentic pieces. Plus, there are five Rachel wigs, immortalizing Jennifer Aniston's iconic hairstyles on the show forever.
As with any pop-up experience, photo opps were a must. And, let me tell you, this particular experience did not disappoint. Here are the seven — yes, seven — Instagram-worthy opportunities you can find at the Friends pop-up shop in NYC:
1. The Opening Credits Scene
Grab the pals who'll always be there for you, and you can recreate the scene that kicks off every episode of the show. The area is equipped with multiple umbrellas and replicas of the classic water fountain, lamp, and orange couch.
2. The "Pivot!" Couch
Though it's far too difficult for me to pick my favorite episode of Friends, my favorite scene is the one where Rachel and Chandler attempt to help Ross squeeze his new couch up the stairs of his new apartment building while he continuously shouts, "Pivot!" (This probably doesn't sound funny to non-Friends watchers, but my besties and I still crack up over it.) At the pop-up, you can pretend to do the same. Similarly to the show, that couch won't budge.
3. Monica's Door
Monica's apartment is, arguably, the main setting of the comedy. (Though you can definitely make arguments for Central Perk as well.) So of course you can poke your head out from behind her quintessential green door. On the flip side, you'll find her equally recognizable purple door with yellow peephole frame.
4. Monica's Turkey Head
One of the most memorable moments from "The One With All The Thanksgivings" is when Monica puts a turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler. (You know, after he learns that she accidentally cut off the tip of one of his toes because he once mocked her weight.) She completes her look with a fez and yellow sunglasses, and proceeds to shimmy. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you can now do the same, because the pop-up has a (fake) turkey head for you to try on as well.
5. Everything Chandler Owns
Could you be wearing any more clothes? Like Joey does in "The One Where No One's Ready," you can put on everything Chandler owns. Just make sure you're not going commando.
6. Joey & Chandler's Apartment
Speaking of Joey and Chandler, you can also take pics inside their apartment. Sit back in a BarcaLounger, relax in front of Pat the dog, play a round of foosball, and hope Joey isn't locked inside the cupboard.
7. Central Perk
The pièce de résistance of the NYC pop-up is, of course, Central Perk. Gunther won't be working there — though, James Michael Tyler did make an appearance on press day — but you can still sit down at the counter, on the green loveseat, or on the iconic orange couch. Sorry, but Maggie Wheeler (aka Janice) will most likely not be there when you arrive.
FYI, Central Perk is not just for show — a few steps away from the photo opp, you can actually order from a replica of the coffee shop. Options include "Joey's NY Apple Pie," "Ross' Mini Blueberry Bribe," "Chandler's Licked Banana Nut Muffin," and "Phoebe's Great Great Grandma's Famous Cookies."
Though the Friends pop-up experience has sold out, you can still purchase exclusive 25th anniversary items at the retail store, located at 503 Broadway in NYC, or online at Friends25PopUp.com.