It’s been a long time since I’ve walked out of an event and could genuinely say, “Wow, I’ve never experienced anything like that before!” It’s all been done, right? Wrong. The Internet Yami-Ichi Market last weekend was something truly fresh—and whimsically weird. It all went down at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth, complete with a free shuttle to and from the L train and a veritable smorgasbord of internet-inspired frivolity.
From the extreme weather man to the semi-psychedelic, IRL version of Web MD (his waiting room was full of patients, just like the internet!), creativity poured into the space. Internet and tech puns abound, I spotted binary greeting cards, a “paper view” 2-D boxing game, a guy who was mailing actual spam for a few bucks per envelope, and scratch off tickets that awarded social media followers.
There were plenty of interesting outfits to look at, from fully body condom-style jumpsuits to neon hair and hot pink backpacks… but in a rare twist of plot, the attractions on the tables lining the interior of the building were far more fascinating than the eclectic style preferences of those browsing. I barely noticed the people around me. Who cares about people when you can buy a sweater abstractly embroidered with glitched software, vivid digitally printed hoodies, or…delicious dumplings? Yes, those were edible.
Toward the end of the day, even as the rain rolled in and daylight dwindled, the place was packed. This was the market’s first time in NYC, and we can only see it growing in droves from here.
“We all feel the event was a huge success! It had a good atmosphere,” commented Chris Romero, one of the organizers. “The vendors brought seriously amusing things from Skype sessions with their parents to bitmoji masks. Everyone was having fun—you could see just from their expressions, even if they weren’t hardcore Internet users. I would call this the LOL or the OMG effect. We had people from Boston, New York, Portland, London, Taiwan and Tokyo… to name a few. The vibe was DIY. This was a project about a year in the making so it was a special feeling to see all of these things happen.”
After a few minutes of wandering around feeling like I was in that 90s CGI show Reboot, I took a ton of photos. Check them out below.