Catching Up with New Kids: INTER_

I toured INTER_, the new immersive exhibit that has taken over the First National City Bank building at Broadway and Canal, back in December and I am sure so much has changed already — and that is part of the point (comment or send pics if you get over there). It opened in November in the beta version, and founder Scott Yo intends it to grow and evolve — Version 2.0 is expected this summer.

The first iteration as I saw it this winter was a celebration of light and color done through mirrors and projections, but all with a theme: “Who am I?”

“One of the age-old questions man has been asking,” Yo said.

Part of it is observable shows and part is interactive, and while you can stay longer, most visitors are there for about 40-45 minutes. It starts with an orientation video in a ground-floor room that gets the experience started with questions about self and your role in the world. There’s a 9-minute guided mediation room, a sound bath with a vibrating floor like a meditation chant, a fully-immersive video project room, many other rooms with interactive displays that use sensors to create layers of sound and light, often using the images of the viewer taken from other parts of the space.

The vibe when I went was very energetic — there were about 50 couples and packs of kids, many running around to show their friends one exhibit or another. Of course every corner is a selfie waiting to happen. The space accommodates 100 people an hour — at 8000 square feet it is not huge, despite the grandness of the building. Tickets are $36 for adults, $27 for kids 12 and under.

The space was created by Jobi, a family business that launches brands — with the architecture by Brooklyn-based Colberg Architecture and exhibits by the Brooklyn-based Chemistry Creative. Yo is now the CEO of INTER_ and sees it as the first of many experiential installations.

“INTER_ is our expression of how we view the future of entertainment,” Yo said. He has a background in hospitality and has overseen hotels all over the country. “We don’t need to go out to the movies anymore, so how else will people go out and have dates and meet their friends? People still want an experience — a place to have fun in groups and even with strangers.”

The company is renting the space directly from Walgreens (they have been paying rent on the empty space), the last tenant of United American Land, which owns the building (and many of the properties along Canal). They took a 15-year lease and have already signed a lease for another space in a tourism hub in the US. (Yo has tried to be cooperative with the illegal bag sellers on the corner, by asking them to make sure his entrance on Canal is clear.)

They do not have a liquor license and have no plans for that. That said, the place certainly invites the use of substances.

“We are here for the long run,” Yo said. “We feel it has potential for national or international expansion.”

415 Broadway at Canal
Open Wednesday to Monday; closed Tuesday


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1 Comment

  1. Looks cool. Glad to see this beautiful building being used to great effect.