The Boylston Street storefront that houses a new pop-up called "Happy Place" once brought joy to bargain hunters — it used to be a Marshall’s store. Now, it has many of the same elements as an over-the-top kid’s birthday party.
People throw confetti, jump into a giant ball pit and sink into a bright yellow bath tub filled with rubber ducks. And very few are celebrating their sixth birthday. "Happy Place" is filled with adults focused on a camera lens.
“This is literally an Instagram haven,” explained 29-year-old Kara Lennon, a fitness instructor, who enlisted an intern to capture her posing on a stretch of fake green grass punctuated by giant glowing letters that spell “happy.”
“Yeah, it’s artificial, but we don’t play enough. We’re not playing. No one’s jumping in ball pits and playing with confetti. Like, we should do that,” said Lennon. “And if you get a great Instagram, tag the 'Happy Place.'”
Why Instagram instead of Facebook?
In short, the former is a lot more fun.
“Honestly, I don’t have Facebook,” explained Alexandra Brown as she posed by a larger-than-life model of a chocolate chip cookie. “It’s just a lot of political differences and just a lot of things they’re showing on Facebook you don’t want to see. … Instagram’s way happier.”
Or at least that’s the illusion.
“Because you know you’re getting snippets of people’s life and it’s not always real, so that can cause people to feel lost or what have you,” said Cagla Hurd, who drove two hours from her Connecticut home to check out "Happy Place."
Hurd followed the pop-up’s progression on Instagram from its start in Los Angeles to stops in Toronto, Chicago and now Boston.
“As much social media based as it is, it really is about bringing people together, because our world really does need a little bit more happiness,” she said.
They say you can’t put a price on happiness. But "Happy Place" puts a price on admission: $30.