In the 90s, I was the ages of seven through seventeen. Which is to say, I was more or less aware of things: TV, radio, clothes, nightly news, sports—the tenor of the decade. Some of these things I dug, like neon on my shorts and T-shirts. Also, when the Twins won the ’91 World Series, that was a fucking thrill. I jumped up and down and yelled in my living room for a while that night. But, for most of the 90s, I was bored stiff.
Non-cable TV (I can only speak to that kind because we didn’t have the other kind) was pretty bad, specifically TGIF. The saving grace of TV, for me, was Northern Exposure, which I watched. But I watched the other garbage, too, and that made me feel like life was not that exciting, or that it offered much more than over-the-top morality tales. Because I didn’t live in a big place, the only music I heard came from the radio; outside of Michael Jackson and Nirvana, and eventually Radiohead, I was driven mad, not in a good way, by the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls and ‘Nsync. If I hear those sounds today, I go a little numb inside.
About clothing I remember thinking: “Huh, why is this the first decade of the century whose style is boring and sucks?” I know, advanced thinking, but the point remains that the 80s aesthetic, at least, could be outrageous with its leather and stone wash jeans and massive hair and blue eye shadow; by comparison, the 90s aesthetic seemed to lack much of one. I know, I know, there was grunge, but where I lived there were really just rolled jeans and denim button downs and floral patterns. It seemed to lack imagination.
To be fair I know that in other places where I didn’t live there was a lot of cool shit happening and being made, but without access to a bigger city and its music scene or alt book and record and CD stores, I was left with mainstream culture and media. And it was that stuff that made my eyes roll deeply to the back of my head and impatiently wait to turn 18 and run far away.
But it’s also a lot of that mainstream stuff that’s being prized in the 90s nostalgia happening today. And now it’s reached new heights with the—supposed?—impending opening of a Williamsburg store that is dedicated to one of the most boring games from that decade, Pog. Brooklyn Pogs, supposedly, will celebrate the game composed of round cardboard discs, whose purpose was to collect as many of these pieces as possible, and it is set to open on August 31st. At this lounge, in additional to reveling in the game’s existence, you will also be able to eat the same cereals that you ate when you played the game in the 90s; and, in a twist, Brooklyn Pogs is purportedly waiting for a liquor license, too.
As Brokelyn says, this store is probably a joke. If so, good one, guys behind it. Because, to me, Pogs highlights the boring depths of the decade currently being fondly remembered, and highlights how, sometimes, we value things just because they happened a while ago. But is the store a joke? Brokelyn searched business databases and found no such record of it. Plus, could a Pogs lounge afford the dough for Williamsburg rent? Can any store? If it has alcohol, it could, and so when they do get their license, they could be fine. But then it would just be a Pogs-themed bar and there are other places to drink where more fun games can be played, like Jenga.
But, we’ll just wait and see. In an email, the owner K. Oliver told Gothamist that the inspiration for Brooklyn Pogs, in addition to exploring 90s nostalgia, was to, “spread awareness about the genuine artistic merit that lots of pogs have!”
Interesting. Like the rest of the decade, I think Pogs are an eyesore. But as the saying goes, there’s no arguing with taste. Maybe the 90s just weren’t for me. If this place opens, and the neighborhood goes bonkers for it, and it enjoys a long fruitful life, then, I guess, at least I’ll finally know.
Image via Brooklyn Pogs Facebook