Alien attack in K-Town.
Not familiar? K-Town is a single-block parameter, filled to the brim with premium Korean restaurants, Korean-style karaoke bars (private rooms with percussion instruments!), and tons of other fun things to do. How does such a large population of the city fit all of their commerce into one city block, you might ask? Simple. Like the rest of the Big Apple: Stack up.
It’s true, many of K-Town’s commercial businesses exist on the upper levels of the 32nd street block between 5th and 6th Aves. But this makes for an incredibly underground experience. Word-of-mouth is the only way you’ll ever learn about many of the gems you’ll encounter here, as there is often no trace of these establishments on the internet.
Here, facades can be deceiving — It’s like, the opposite of Beaux-Arts. Instead of a grand foyer sporting some loud centerpiece that makes you feel small and insignificant, your first impression might be a tired entrance, behind which there is an entire world.
Often, a doorman-less hallway leads to a tiny elevator with surprises on every floor. Take a ride — along the way, the doors just might open up to a bubble dog spa, a karaoke boxing ring, or a room full of cosplay Pikachus lounging on Lovesacs. In short, Korea Town is a longitudinal theme park. Welcome to Manhattan.
On our way, we passed by Gallery 32, the Korean food court with incredible desserts. If you go, you must try Bunn’s fish-shaped creme puffed pastries, dipped in chocolate and drizzled with sprinkles.
We crossed to the south side of the street and entered a surprising restaurant by the name of “miss KOREA BBQ.” By surprising, I mean that I had no idea it would be three stories of atmospheric rooms with grills built into the tables. (And to answer your burning question, YES — it was a Pokemon Go charge point. Ferinaf was very pleased, and took to hatching her turtle eggs (or whatever you do at Poke-charge points) while the rest of us looked over the menus.)
We were seated on the second floor. Vines draped through boxed wood on the ceiling. The aura in the room was fantastic. And we all know that’s like 50% of the restaurant experience.
We ordered a quantity of small plates and spiced meats, as well as Bibim bop. Chansoof made the comment that he always felt like a bad Korean when he ordered from a Korean menu in English, and often gets shade from the servers like:
But he must’ve done something right, because the food was delish!
The dishes came out in a timely order, and the meats were cooked right in front of us. The rice wine we ordered was crisp and organic. In all, a delectable experience.
I know what you’re thinking. What about the aliens — when are we going to get to that part? To you I say chill brah, the aliens are happening soon. There’s more to Korea Town than intergalactic space battles.
We crossed the street after dinner to head for Escape Entertainment. We had a shuttle to catch. A Russian Space pod, that is. We Google Mapped the address and Ferinaf even managed to catch a Pokemon on the way there. I think it was Squirtlef. Anyway. We found the numbers over a plain glass door, walked into a no-frills hallway, and found an elevator on the left. Hoping we were in the right place, we rode to the 4th floor and the doors opened —
— to an incredibly comfortable room. There was plenty of lounge space, with a lofty gaming area that offered all kinds of amusement while you wait to board your ship.
“Okay, guys, so what’s our plan of attack — What happens if the aliens breach the threshold?” Asked Chansoof.
We unanimously decided to use Camf as bait, but that’s largely because she was in the restroom as we made our decision. When she came back we all smiled and acted as if there were no conspiracy, none whatsoever. The Men in Black would have been proud.
The time came and we filled into the pod. The instructor, a kind and intelligent astronaut, gave us our tools and briefed us on our mission. Apparently, the Russians had abandoned the very space station in which we stood, only hours before our arrival. Because it was a Russian space station, we didn’t understand ANY of the writing on the walls, none of us being Russian. I mean, it might have helped if it were in Korean at least, but Chansoof said himself that the dinner menus were a struggle. Luckily, they left us with a handheld language/photo translator.
Well, that astronaut wasn’t one small step for mankind out the door before we heard a giant crash and a siren.
The aliens were among us. We had to think fast — 60 minutes fast, because we all know it takes aliens that long to reload after landing. We took to scanning the room for clues, and off we were.
What happened then, I cannot say. We did our best to get out of there, making it out with just 7 minutes left on the clock — and thank goodness we did, or else we might not have Camf with us today. What I can tell you is that we had a blast, and I highly recommend this experience to all earthlings. I leave you with these four clues, one for each hatch:
- Use your tools — if you’re stumped, it’s best to view the problem in another language… or use the image scanner!
- If there are holes in puzzle pieces, they’re probably meant to cover up some numbers and/or letters to reveal a code… just sayin’.
- Even sounds can be clues.
- Break up into smaller groups and attack several doors at once! If someone is monkeying around, give them a notebook and tell them you need all of the letters and numbers in the entire room. That’ll keep ’em busy.
In closing, we must say that we have the utmost gaming respect for Escape Entertainment. All escape rooms are fun in their own unique ways, but these guys make a totally immersive experience. In case you can’t tell, we really felt like we were in an actual space ship. It was great fun and a superb team-building exercise. After escaping aliens in a Russian space station, we now feel like we could take on anything together.
And at the end of it all, they even gave us a free group photo!