Ten-year-old Benjamin, his dad, sister and escape room teammates grab some props to pose for a photo after completing their first escape room together. Photo by Tatiana Pinheiro.

Ten-year-old Benjamin, his dad, sister and escape room teammates grab some props to pose for a photo after completing their first escape room together. 

The Bronx has its first-ever hip-hop themed Escape Room at the Andrew Freedman Home , honoring the art form’s 50th anniversary.  

Contestants are locked into one of two rooms, Hip-Hop Heist or Studio Session Showdown, and have an hour to solve several riddles before they can escape. One of the rooms mimics a homemade hip-hop studio featuring vinyls, instruments and other culturally centered artifacts, while the second room is staged as an old bedroom with similar memorabilia. 

As two teams are locked in each one of these rooms, the clock counts down and they must put their heads together to find each clue in order to unlock the door and win the game. 

The interactive game invites family participation.  Ten-year-old Benjamin attended with his dad and sister, and they were teamed up with three other players. 

“Even though we didn’t know each other, it was fun because of all the clues, the clock and the clown music playing at the end gives you the goosebumps,” Benjamin said.

The young gamer and his family weren’t the only ones raving about their experience.

Sulma Arzu-Brown, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, visited the Bronx Escape Room on its opening night with a few of her colleagues.  She had so much fun that she immediately booked her daughter’s birthday party there, along with 50 guests. 

“It so happened that my daughter was turning 13, so what better way to celebrate than with a whole bunch of the next generation of Bronx kids to have them experience what hip-hop is and how we can make it fun for the entire family,”  Brown said.

Vinyl record player provides a clue in the Studio Session Showdown Escape Room. Photo by Tatiana Pinheiro.

Rachel James, event planner to the Andrew Freedman Home, said that she and her team worked quickly to provide an experience for users that would honor hip-hop while capturing the culture of the Bronx.

The layout of each escape room was designed to provide a feeling of nostalgia, reminding visitors of an experience they may have had in the borough. With mentions of neighborhood streets, historical sites, clues and artifacts throughout the rooms, James and her team wanted to be sure to provide an educational and culturally robust experience for users. 

“We don’t want to have to go to midtown to do something like this or to have to travel outside the city when we have this beautiful building with a beautiful history, she said. “I want people to realize that there are things for people to do in the Bronx that are safe, family-oriented, aren’t expensive and I think that people are looking for something different.” 

The Andrew Freedman Home is a known historic site and place of residency to community arts, education and culture along the Concourse. 

The exclusive pop-up experience has been open every weekend since November 10 and was scheduled to end on November 19. But with its growing popularity, it has been extended three times.

Visitors may book their one-hour session in one of the two rooms online for Dec. 8. Per person prices range from $30 to $45, depending on the size of the group.

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