Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Magi in the Making

My camera has failed me on visuals once again, and for that I apologize. However, this post will be a true challenge of adjective mayhem -- I must describe to you, as best I can, the glory that is Fun City in West Nyack, NY.

Okay, yes, the kind folks at Fun City, which just opened, were kind enough to have me and Ally over at Modestly Fashioned for a little press preview of the joint. Now that that's out of the way, you know me and you know that I tell it like it is (remember my review of Susie Fishbein's new cookbook? HONESTY). So I hope you'll believe me when I say that Fun City is my new favorite place and I actually intend on celebrating my next birthday (that's September 30) at Fun City, despite having no children or nephews or nieces around to schlep with.

The day began with a drive out to West Nyack, which honestly is a quick trip from Teaneck, to the Palisades Mall. We got there with absolutely no clue where in the mall the place was, but luckily the nice lady at Customer Service let us know that it's down next to the Journeys. Hopefully Fun City will be added to the mall map, but until then, just look for Journeys (the shoe store) and you're there. I had never been in this particular mall before, but it reminded me of CostCo crossed with the Tel Aviv bus station -- it had exposed piping and the floors were a dark gray cement. It felt very ... industrial.

When we got to Fun City, we were introduced to the basic gist of how the fun center came to be. You see, three families got together and decided that this empty space in the mall was perfect for creating a fun recreational space for all ages complete with kosher food, the only NY location of the live-action game MagiQuest, mini-golf, bumper cars, an arcade, laser quest, a party room, a mini roller-coaster, and more (really, more). When you walk into the Fun City location, the first thing you notice is the towering behemoth of a screen featuring MagiQuest, and the rest of the activities sort of flow over you as you begin to look around.

We each got a pre-loaded card for the arcade games (I love that it was all electronic and even your ticket winnings are kept on the card) for a few bucks, and we got set up with our very own wands for MagiQuest play.
These aren't our wands, but this is the gist of what they look like. You get a guidebook to help you, too!
Now, Ally and I were pretty skeptical. I mean, neither of us are gamers, and I've never been into that Dungeons and Dragons kind of world, but we were willing to give it a go -- it was free after all, so what was there to lose? You choose your character style -- so I went with Malkah, one of the royal class, and Ally went with one of the nature dwelling characters and called herself Teva. Our guide led us into a room that gave us the MagiQuest 101 tutorial, and we were off. At first, we were pretty ... confused. But after we each started a quest, we were sold. And I mean that. We were completely into it. We lost track of time, we lost track of space! We did three quests and only put the kabosh on our time because we wanted to explore the rest of the facility (we're going back, and taking our husbands, and we will CRUSH THEM!).

We sampled the food offerings, including the pizza (which Ally said was outstanding), ice cream (Klein's), and french fries. I suggested they hop on the gluten-free pizza bandwagon, and they seemed perceptive. I'm really hoping that they'll include it soon for all those Celiacs out there. Also? Nachos would be a super easy option!

I have pizza envy. HUGE PIZZA ENVY.
The arcade was small, but fun. I hadn't played skeeball in ages. We considered mini-golf, but decided that we'd spent so much time playing MagiQuest, we'd save it for our next adventure. Ally and I left pretty blown away at the facility, the food, and the management.

The one major question we asked the management, actually, because there is Orthodox Jewish ownership, is whether they were expecting an outcry against the inclusion of MagiQuest in the facility as a form of avodah zara (aka idol worship or strange worship). There have been outcries against things like Harry Potter and other "fantasy" type books and movies, so we were wondering if there was a concern. The management said that walking through the mall, kids see much worse things, so this isn't really going to blow anyone out of the water. Good answer! Also, I'm guessing the super frummies out in Monsey won't be going into a mainstream mall anyway, so it probably won't be a problem.

So, listen, if I have my birthday party at Fun City, will y'all come? I'm so serious. My friend Neal had twenty-something birthday at Chuck-E-Cheese and it was amazing. There's nothing like getting to be a kid for a few hours every now and again, right?

Go like them on Facebook and get going to Fun City already!

Also: There are tons of MagiQuest locations all over the country, so one you have an account and your wand, you can go just about anywhere. I first spotted MagiQuest while visiting my little brother last year when we went to Myrtle Beach. If only I had known about the glory of this game ...