This past weekend, Bushwick residents abandoned the oft-disparaging hellscape that is the year 2016 (You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it.) and indulged in some full-blown ’80s nostalgia at Bushwick’s own “local living room,” Lot 45.
Located off the Jefferson L stop, the typically laid-back lounge transformed itself into Hawkins, Indiana and the Upside Down for an immersive three-day party in honor of the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.”
Tickets for the event sold fast, with more than 17,000 users indicating interest on the event’s official Facebook page—a detail that did not go unnoticed by Koala Tea Agency member Matthew Diaz, who helped produce the event.
“I just hope that people enjoy the event for what it is,” he said in the days leading up to the party. “I’m a huge fan of the show, and I wanted to celebrate the show with other fine strange folks. I’m really excited to hear the music and get my grub on with some waffles.”
The three-day rager was a truly immersive experience, featuring trivia segments, inspired art, dungeons & dragons, and a vaguely ominous promise that themes from the show would be “brought to life”. Now don’t get me wrong—I’m down to channel my inner-Eleven and get spooky under flickering lights just as much as the next fan—but my desire to fully experience the world of the show stops short of interacting with a real life Demagorgon.
Luckily, Lot 45 offered its partygoers various (and safe!) channels of total “Stranger Things” immersion. Attendees had the chance to put on Virtual Reality headsets, and interact with the Upside Down inside of Will’s very own (and now-iconic) living room; Hawkins officers roamed the landscape, handing out MISSING flyers for Will Byers and Barbara Holland (RIP); guests were also able to take home “police sketch” caricatures of themselves as lasting mementos.
Ticket prices weren’t cheap (they ran between $20-$60), but a portion of proceeds from the event went to supporting two different organizations: Variety New York (“whose programs use the arts as a catalyst to transform the lives of under-served children”), and WOAR (“a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania whose mission … education programs, and advocacy for the rights of victims of sexual assault”).
After all that, one thing is for certain: Bushwick knows how to get down in the Upside Down: