Retail Magic at Harry Potter New York


Look, I know I’m now in my mid-30s, but I’m still sort of, kind of, a little… waiting on my Hogwarts acceptance letter.

You don’t know. Maybe it lost in the mail.

Until that day arrives, though, luckily there are a ton of way to still experience the joy of Harry Potter (while keeping the art away from the artist, who has some seriously terrible ideas about the nature of humanity.) The latest one: The Harry Potter Store New York, the newest flagship retail experience of the Harry Potter universe.

And due to how gigantic and worldwide this fandom is, that does say something.

We were invited down for a sneak peak and inside we went…

THE HARRY POTTER NEW YORK EXPERIENCE

The new retail store is located in the Flatiron District, right next to the iconic building. Here is what they say about it:

Harry Potter New York is the first official Harry Potter flagship store in the heart of New York City next to the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway. Opening in 2021, the store will house the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world from pocket money items to rare collectibles. Spanning three floors and over 20,000 sq. ft., the flagship store will offer exclusive lines, magical photo opportunities and lots more!

While we’re creating a magical experience at 935 Broadway, you can shop from a hand-picked selection of Wizarding World products and Harry Potter New York exclusives in our online store.

Outside, the store still looks very much a work in progress. You’d walk right by it in fact.

However, on the inside…

WELCOME TO HOGWARTS…


You’re greeted by a soaring phoenix as you walk through the doors, and it’s pretty impressive. In fact, the detail and scale of everything here is amazing. There are 15 different sections (yes 15), decored to the magical nines, each with it’s own little touches and flourishes, from a giant spinning Griffin statue to a tiny Bowtruckle tucked away in a hidden tree.

We saw dark dungeons and cute candy shops, house cups and the most adorable monsters. Even the elevator is disguised as a fireplace, complete with neon-green floo powder flames inside as you travel from one spot to another.


There really were quality touches all around to help you go deeper into the world…

There was also a VR experience that sadly was not open yet, but I’m sure would be a blast too.

But that wasn’t all…

THE GAME


We were told the best way to explore the store was to take part in the digital scavenger hunt, which, truthfully, was the best way to do it. As you walk in, you’re prompted to download the Harry Potter app, which, ok, but what’s another app in the long list of apps already living rent free on my phone.

The app is pretty neat though. You can do everything from be sorted into your house to learn facts about the movie and, the big one: play the digital scavenger hunt.

Around the store are actual props from the movies, and each one comes with a little QR code. Scan it, get more facts, images and a letter that will eventually spell out the word and earn you a prize.

I will say two things about this:

  1. I would have NEVER figured out the word without help. Even with all the letters and a pretty good working knowledge of the Harry Potter universe. Woah, was that an obscure one. Luckily, the staff are willing to help you on your clue-finding journey.
  2. The prize actually is worth it! I thought it might be like a pretty bland, “10% off something in the store” digital coupon presented with a magical flourish, but no, it’s a real thing and really kind of neat. An excellent little touch indeed.

They weren’t wrong. This was the best way to explore the store.

THE CAFE


Ah, butterbeer, is there anything that has sounded more delicious in a book that you wish you could have sipped on with every page.

Hey, now you can.

This is the first butterbeer cafe in the city and they did not skimp on it. Over 1,000 bottles line the wall onto the ceiling and the menu hovers in the air, waiting for you to order. You can do butterbeer (in their cute plastic collector’s glass), butterbeer ice cream or a whole bunch of sweets and treats like cookies to look like the Weasly’s sweaters.

Mmm, butterbeer.

THE SHOP

Of course, this isn’t really an experience. I mean, not like a theme park or a movie or even the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, which is all about the immersive experience of making the movies (which, if you’re ever in the UK, you have to do it, it’s so good).

No, this is a store. First and foremost.

I was actually a little eyebrow-raised about the whole thing about how much they’d being trying to push merchandise at us throughout the space, since, again it is a store.

But honestly, it was done really well. There’s things to buy EVERYWHERE, from jewelry to stuffed animals, clothing, food, if you can Harry Potterfy it, they’ve done it. But since the rooms are so themed and the exploration so much fun, you don’t even notice it after a while. It almost becomes a delight when you go, “Oh this is so fun, I’d love something like this in my house” and then realize, not only can you, that’s exactly what they want you to do.

The experience becomes seemly, which is really impressive.

I think I’m really pulling off the hat.

THOUGHTS OVERALL

I’m not going to lie, I had a blast here. We spent about an hour going through the whole thing and it was unabashedly fun. I have no doubt when parents are dragged here by their kids, they’ll actually enjoy the time and when childless millennials like myself want to get lost in somewhere fictional and fantastic, they’re going to be smiling up and down this whole place.

Go, shop, enjoy, get lost in this store. It’s going to be INSANELY popular this year, and I imagine, every year to come.

Harry Potter New York is located at 935 Broadway and opens June 3. Learn more about it here.

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