I refuse to apologize for relishing in this full-on Ghostbusters renaissance we’re living in. When you’re chugging 2 cans of Ecto Cooler like they’re Steveweisers, kneeling before a towering homemade altar of symmetrically stacked Twinkie boxes, and floating on bags upon bags of fluffy, heavenly Ghostbusters Marshmallows, this type of euphoria demands that you get a sample of it like Venkman got that mucus. We’ve got new action figures, new Hot Wheels, a new Tobin’s Spirit Guide, new Ectoplazm, and who the hell knows what else is on the horizon! Regardless of what you think of the new Ghostbusters movie, this is a magical time and shame on you if you’re letting it speed passed you like the subway ghost. In the world of The Sexy Armpit, I’m soaking it all up and appreciating every aspect. The premiere of GB2016 is upon us, and in honor of it, I’m going to show you how I’ve been savoring even more Ghostbusters shenanigans.
MADAME TUSSAUD’S GHOSTBUSTERS EXPERIENCE
There’s no better place in the world to celebrate Ghostbusters than its birthplace, New York City. Fortunately, there are a slew of Ghostbusters themed things to do in the city that are guaranteed to elevate this tremendous moment in time for you. Perhaps you want to do a self-guided tour of the filming locations from the original two Ghostbusters films? Or maybe you feel like waxin’ nostalgic, literally?
We had tickets to Madame Tussaud’s Ghostbusters Experience and man was I pumped for it! By rights, a wax museum should technically be a pretty spooky place, although Madame’s is a family attraction in Times Square, so I knew I wasn’t going to have my Batman boxers scared off me. Posing with a bunch of wax statues of Ghostbusters characters did sound like a blast, but it was how they sweetened the deal that hooked me…BIG TIME. I bought all the tickets way in advance, mainly because of how seduced I was by Ghostbuters Dimension: A Hyper Reality Experience. This is an interactive virtual reality game where I would actually become a Ghostbuster, obviously the true selling point of this whole affair, let’s be real.
It was a hot, humid day in midtown Manhattan. The sky was gray and, no joke, there was a tornado watch for the NY/NJ area. I had just started a long holiday weekend. The stage was set for a great day full of Ghostbusters fun. We just had to make it to Madame Tussaud’s in time for the 1pm tickets we had. Traffic in New York City that day was completely crazy. We got there with a few minutes to spare to shovel some fast food down our throats and then head inside.
Once we made our way into the venue. I was snapping dopey selfies with J-Lo as if she wasn’t meticulously carved out of wax. A couple more mandatory selfies with Frankenstein and The Mummy for good measure, then it was onto the Ghostbusters display!
Backdrops and motifs from the new movie were replicated and designed for photo ops. The coolest display featured Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) in a lab fixing up one of her proton packs. It was a no-brainer, a real Kodak moment:
Next up we saw the statues of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. They were all extremely lifelike, yet I felt like there could have been a bit more to the wax display area. A giant wax VIGO perhaps? Or staying in line with the new movie, what about Rowan? Then, that ugly little spud, Slimer, was roaming around projecting himself in fog machine clouds. It was awesome to see a walk through like this even though it wasn’t too extensive.
We finally wound up at the queue for the virtual reality experience. We showed our tickets and hopped on line. Immediately, we started to overhear several people in front of us complaining about how long they were waiting, which didn’t bode well. We were there pretty early in the day and there had already been a host of problems. Minutes later, one of the Tussad’s employees came over and started to run interference by making small talk with all of us waiting on line. She started to explain that there was some technical difficulties that they were trying to figure out.
We experienced the small talk distraction several times throughout the rest of our excruciatingly long wait. I guess it’s comparable to waiting for a ride at a theme park, almost being the next one to hop on the ride, but then the ride breaks down. The thing is, we didn’t expect a virtual reality game to have this kind of time consuming maintenance. We tried to give it a pass since it was the first day, but apparently it had worked well for the recent press preview.
In the end, we waited about 3 hours to finally catch some ghosts. I wanted to refrain from continuing to describe how hot and annoying it was to wait on this line for so long, and how just as we thought things were looking up, our anticipation was squashed once again. You can imagine how sucky it is to assume you had tickets for 1pm and then having to either A) accept them turning you away with a refund B) rescheduling you for another day or C) or toughing it out and waiting 3 hours. We chose the latter. We came, we saw, we kicked its ass…eventually.
Suiting up was a weird, confusing process. We went through the whole production of putting on the helmet, headset, vest and proton pack, and after being sent to the area where we’re about to begin, we were asked to go back to the suit-up area and take everything off and get into a whole other set of the same equipment. Were they f’n serious with this? This was getting ridiculous. Considering all the crap we waited through to get to that point, they really should’ve had their shit together.
After our second suit-up, we were ready to go! This time, it was for real. A VR viewer in the helmet dropped down over our eyes and made everything appear to each of us as if we were literally in a VR Ghostbusters world. It was incredible. I looked over at Miss Sexy Armpit and she looked like Winston Zeddemore, which is even more comical because she has no idea who that is. The light went on and we were able to head inside to start the game. We walked through a few different rooms where we had to blast a bunch of ghosts which felt just about as real as it will ever get.
The ghosts were so vivid. There was a moment where we were in a small elevator and a little Samara-looking girl phased her way into the elevator with us. Our proton packs were locked at that point for safety, because we’d probably wind up blasting the shit out of each other. Then, we headed into a library and that’s where business really picked up. You know what I’m talking about! Ultimately, we found ourselves out on the ledge of a high rise in New York City. The skies looked like they did back at the end of the original film, before Gozer graced us with her presence. The ledge was literally shaking and we had to blast an onslaught of ghosts while maintaining our balance. Moments later, we took part in the biggest finale that you could possibly imagine. Let’s just say we had to take down a big sailor. It was incredible. The strong scent of marshmallows wafted up our noses as we celebrated our triumph over these elusive entities.
I’d love to do it all again when they work out the kinks. I’d happily pay even more if they made it more like an interactive RPG where there’s more of a story and it goes for about 25 minutes. That would absolutely be worth a 3 hour wait.
If you’ve ever wanted to live out the ghost catching process that you see in the Ghostbusters films and cartoons, as it stands, this is the only way to do it. It was so much fun! Some people go to therapy sessions to work out their problems, others go to masseuses to ease their stress and pain, but I’m telling you, if I could do Ghostbusters virtual reality every Friday night, I might be the happiest son of a B there ever was. I’d march right over to Lincoln Center and twirl around like a silly goofball.
DAVE AND BUSTER’S GHOSTBUSTERS COCKTAILS
The Ghostly fun wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. I wasn’t going to give up now. Ever since I saw all the hoopla about the fancy Ghostbusters drinks and games at Dave and Buster’s, I needed to experience it for myself. Unfortunately, there’s no D&B in New Jersey, which is unfathomable since we literally have everything else in this state. As we walked outside we realized, DUH, D&B is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Madame Tussaud’s! It couldn’t have worked out better. It’s Miller Time!
There’s no way I can’t use this: Dave and Buster’s was a BUST. We asked the bartenders about the GB cocktails and slushie and they started in on a long tangent about how they barely have any of the ingredients. At this point, they had only been available for a couple of weeks at most. “We’re out of the gummy worms, so we’d have to substitute them with gummy bears, and there’s no glowing ice cubes,” so this roughly translates to “we can make you a drink, but it won’t be Ghostbusters themed in any way nor resemble the picture on the bar.” After that debacle, I asked about the slushie and they didn’t even have the slushies at all so things were looking bleak.
The last stand would be the new 2-player seated Ghostbusters arcade game. There was a bunch of kids hoarding the game and who am I to rob them of some good old fashioned Ghostbusters fun? I was just happy to see kids so into a Ghostbusters game, so we called it a day.
It was a frustrating day yet the VR game really saved it for me. Then, to top it off, we hopped on the wrong train home, but luckily realized it before it was too late. When we finally got on the right one, we both conked out until we reached home.
ECTO COOLER/CUT GRASS COCKTAIL (BARF!)
As I mentioned, the long weekend was in its early stages. Next up, our Ghostbusters itinerary took us to Atlantic City and then Wildwood.
A bunch of us including Matt from Dino Drac, Will from Casserole of Disaster, and Juggernauts Cave were all hanging out in our hotel room in A.C with the ladies. Juggernaut asks us if we want to try this vodka that supposedly smells and tastes like freshly cut grass. The answer my inner monologue replied with was “why the f*ck would we want to do that?” Matt seemed a lot more intrigued by it, whereas I felt that the idea of it was completely awful.
In the end, the freshly cut grass vodka won out because we rationalized it. We had a ton of Ecto Cooler in the room, a beverage that is green, and grass is green so why the hell wouldn’t we mix the two? Juggernaut poured us all up some of the bizarre concoction and it was every bit as disgusting as you could imagine. But it did allow us to shoehorn in another interesting moment from our long list of Ghostbusters memories from 2016, but it didn’t make up for missing out on the Dave and Buster’s dranks.
STAY PUFT PLUSH AND GHOSTBUSTER ARCADE GAME
Living in Jersey, no summer is complete without multiple trips to the boardwalk. Even though it’s a prerequisite, it’s still a pain in the ass sometimes. Heading down to Wildwood on the freaking 4th of July may have been another one of my dumber ideas, but I have to say, we pulled it off.
This was a memorable day. It was sweltering and Wildwood was insanely mobbed with people. There was traffic and parking fees ranged from $60 dollars to over $100! If you didn’t mind walking a bit, and coincidentally had a ton of quarters, you could grab street parking for a couple of hours. Thanks to Will for making sure the meter didn’t run out! We had a few drinks, missed out on catching up with The Sewer Den, and we ate ‘roided up Mozzarella sticks! These babies were literally 3 times the size of your average mozzarella stick, much tastier, and not soggy whatsoever. Basically, if I were ever to create one of those Atkins Diet plans, it would be the Armpit diet and it would only include giant-sized fried cheese sticks with marinara sauce.
Miraculously, even more Ghostbusters memories were created. I hope you didn’t think you had to read 35,000 words and not get a mention of those rigged Wildwood boardwalk crane machines. I don’t gamble, but I do enjoy the crane machines. I blame Dinosaur Dracula for this. I always felt they were way too frustrating and I used to pump way too much money into them, but I’ve come to embrace how much fun they really are.
We found a couple of Ghostbusters crane machines and I did the $5 dollar option. On my last attempt, I grabbed a Stay Puft plush with the claw and dropped him right into the hole. That was a big win for me since I’m never successful on those. Winning a GB plush during this summer filled with Ghostbusters nostalgia couldn’t be any cooler. Well, it actually got slightly cooler. As I glanced further into the arcade we were in, I noticed the new Ghostbusters game that I missed out on at Dave and Buster’s! It was fate. That game was basically the same thing as Pokemon Go, except you blast ping pong balls at the ghosts. You use this steering wheel to lock onto your ghosts and blast them, and then a ping pong ball pops out and hit them. It’s weirdly awesome. The graphics were excellent, but the game is over super fast. Play this for the novelty factor and to add another fun activity to the gobs of Ghostbusters we’re able to partake in this summer.
RAY PARKER JR. ON ABC’S GREATEST HITS
It’s not too late, you still have a time left to dive into your own Ghostbusters activities, especially considering that the GB love-fest will likely continue all the way through Halloween. But for now, really let this summer sink in. We live in a world where Ray Parker Jr. arrived in an Ecto-1 surrounded by a troupe of female Ghostbuster dancers and performed the Ghostbusters theme song on a show called Greatest Hits on ABC. IS THIS REAL LIFE? He sounded frigging amazing as if it was 1984 all over again. I’ve watched it 8 times (click the pic above for the link). This summer of Ghostbusters is like a magnificent feast of Chinese food…make sure you slow down and savor it!