The world’s largest indoor ropes course, “It,” is tucked away inside a Jordan’s Furniture in Long Wharf, New Haven. Its entrance is like a portal, looming large and black at the far end of the otherwise brightly-lit store. Inside, there are four levels of rope bridges, multiple ziplines and a water fountain right underneath them on the ground floor. The space is cavernous and imposing. The lights within gleam violet and green.
“It” is a result of the “shoppertainment” movement, an odd marriage between local attractions and the retail shopping experience. In the ’90s, Jordan’s owners pioneered shoppertainment by lining their stores with IMAX theaters. A few years later, they opened ropes courses in Massachusetts, and then Connecticut and Maine.
I will admit I am not fit for a ropes course. I fear heights, unsteady surfaces and all things of that nature. At Yale, I’ve learned not to trust my body. About a year ago, I broke my right foot falling down the stairs in Linsly-Chittenden Hall. A few months later, I broke my other foot on the laundry stairs. I remember the aftermath of the second breakage; sitting in my octet, surrounded by my suitemates, crying, cursing my luck, then laughing. One suitemate had pointed out the absurdity of the situation. We could not resist joking.
This year, I have four suitemates. Our schedules, so far, have been at odds with each other: seldom are all five of us in the same room. The Friday after classes started, we were all, however, equally gripped by the unlikely fusion of a furniture store and a ropes course. We made plans to visit Jordan’s that Saturday.
To experience “It” at Jordan’s fully, you must leave your indifference behind. The suite, especially at the beginning of the semester, is a