The nostalgia is real. Jurassic World, the Ghostbusters all-female re-boot, The X-Files return, and so many more pop culture throwbacks are being revived for our collective pleasure right now. Perhaps it’s the comfort of going back to something that once brought joy, or the name association that takes the fear or risk level down a notch, but being an ’80s baby has never seemed trendier.
When I first moved to New York, before I got cable (and before I gave it up), I would fall asleep to episodes of Seinfeld. It seemed that any time after 10:30pm, I could find a re-run or two to watch and remember a laugh had back at home in South Africa where I originally saw the show. I can’t quote Seinfeld episodes like I can Friends or Sex and the City, but there’s still a familiarity to watching the antics of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer over and over again. Although, now living in the city they did, brings with it a deeper sense of that. I truly understand the anguish of trying to make it to the NYC Marathon start line on time, or just how riding the subway, even sans graffiti tags, is never boring.
That nostalgia has now been re-constructed in the form of Jerry’s apartment. Instead of being on the Upper West Side, where the show, which ran for 9 seasons from 1989 to 1998, was set, the apartment has been re-created in a building in the Meatpacking District and it’s now open for the public to experience – making a Kramer-like entrance or practice a comedy stand-up routine in front of the red curtain. Memorabilia items from the show are on display too, including a diner booth from The Restaurant where the gang used to hang out and the Happy Face oven mitt. When I visited, I got to meet Larry Thomas, who made the Soup Nazi one of the show’s most impressionable characters.