Billed as "the gear we like and how it works," Wired's month-long pop-up exhibition has been a perennial holiday destination in NYC for as long as we've published our own Ultimate Gift Guide. Entitled "What's Inside," the curated 'experience' is not a direct retail proposition—littleBits starter kits are the only thing that can be purchased on site—but it's tightly integrated with their online store, featuring nearly double the amount of products in their gift guide (including most of their 85 wishlist picks this year).
It also happens to be just up the block from Core HQ this year, and even though lower Broadway can seem like an outdoor shopping mall at times, it's more manageable than Times Square, where they'd set up shop last year. It's well worth a visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood, visiting another noteworthy Pop-Up Shop.
The prominently-displayed Faraday Porteur wasn't available for a test ride when I stopped by, but it's one of the few items that is visible from the street. Given the openness of the front third of the space, I was surprised to find densely packed shelves and display cases upon walking in; so too is the lower level packed with goodies (I'd overlooked several products my first time around; even Store Manager Noah Norman had trouble keeping track of where each and every item was located).
I'd venture to guess that roughly a tenth of the products on display have turned up in these very [web]pages—from the Eton BoostTurbine hand-cranked power supply (not pictured) to Clump-o-Lumps—which was a good thing, since I hadn't had the chance to see many of these items in person.
Finn Magee's trompe l'oeil lighting looked a little flimsy in real life and the Little Printer looked a little worse for the wear (though putting on a fresh face is one of his many abilities), but I thought the Kibardindesign digital clock looked better in real life than in photos I'd seen.
Of course, there are plenty of game-changing, beautiful, interactive, fascinating, clever or otherwise design-y products that have hit the market this year, and there is, in fact, but one object that turns up in both of our pop-up and theirs: the Blunt umbrella (we'd also be remiss not to mention that we have plenty in stock on Wooster St and online as well).
Indeed, store manager Noah Norman was interested to hear that we had a temporary space as well, agreeing that there are more than enough interesting products out there to fill multiple stores. He mentioned that last year's pop-up featured nearly twice as many products in a proportionally larger space (formerly the ESPN Zone, in the ground floor of the Condé Nast office building, no less).
Norman duly noted the wish list items that weren't in the store—the Biological Compound Microscope, Wii U, MoogerFooger—as well as his personal favorite: the Celestron Skyprodigy 6 Telescope.
Aspiring astronomers can try it for themselves at the Wired Store, located at 583 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, open from now until December 23. Store hours are 11AM–7PM daily, except for Mondays, when the store is closed; the space will also host several after-hours events over the next couple weeks.
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