It really doesn’t matter if you went to summer camp or not (I did). Or if you went overnight or day, or if it was horseback riding or band camp. Or if you loved every minute or had the worst homesickness in recorded history. Everyone has the idea of summer camp in their mind and the amazing CAMP in Manhattan’s Flatiron district is bringing that ideal to life all year round. Peeking through the windows at 110 5th Avenue reveals all kinds of wonderfully kitschy products that could fill any care package and many that are for the grown-up campers who just wish that they could go back to carefree days lakeside.
The shop is also home to the city’s newest Milk Bar location, Milk for CAMP, where campers and parents alike can order from a sundae bar with a rotating special and Milk Bar classics including crack pie, corn cookie, and birthday cake truffles.
Just when visitors think that they have seen everything, you will be invited to pass through a hidden door (really, the kind that everyone wishes they had) and into the real “family experience” that CAMP is providing. The majority of the 10,000 square-foot store is themed to look like the summer camp that everyone imagines. I will avoid most spoilers, instead encouraging the kids to explore each area and the adults to suspend disbelief, pretend they are kids again and follow the same directions.
What would summer camp be without a theater? Of course, CAMP has their own — the stage here features daily performances and workshops for kids (ages 2-12). The very appropriate workshops are reminiscent of the electives that are offered at real summer camps, some of the current offerings are CAMPer Movement + Yoga, Make Your Own Merit Badge, Slime Time at CAMP, and (of course) Classic CAMP Lanyard Weaving.
Since there are many different varieties of summer camp that cater to kids’ range of interests (imagine computer camp, dance camp, horseback riding camp, band camp and more), CAMP will be re-inventing the hidden campground occasionally to showcase different themes. The first reboot of the flagship store is scheduled in the near future, so make that first visit soon before the next super-secret theme takes over.
Visit the CAMP website (camp.com) for more information and schedules of upcoming events. And if you are not in New York City, do not worry — CAMP is expanding to other locations around the US later this year, and all the themes will rotate through the different venues to allow new experiences every season.