Megaphones decorate the windows, microphones hang from the ceiling, and fans roam around, taking pictures of one another and dancing along with the music videos projected across a wall. The words “Speak Yourself” are everywhere, and it’s all a testament to the empowering message of BTS and their ARMY.
It's a pop-up store in the heart of Manhattan in anticipation of BTS’ upcoming Love Yourself: Speak Yourself stadium shows at the nearby Metlife Stadium on Saturday and Sunday nights. Decorated in white and bright red, the Live Nation Merchandise space opened its doors to ARMY on Tuesday and will remain open through Monday. It’s the third and final store of its kind to be opened in the U.S., following similar shops opened in Los Angeles and Chicago earlier this month to accompany BTS’ shows in those cities; according to BTS' label Big Hit Entertainment, the former was visited by 13,000 people and the later by 20,000. Each one had its own unique tees for sale. In New York City, it’s a pair of tees: one with NYC icons like yellow cabs and a bagel with schmear superimposed onto BTS’ doors logo and the other with the silhouettes of BTS’ seven members decorating the Statue of Liberty’s crown.
Serving as much as a meeting place for ARMY as a store, fans spend time at the venue taking pictures of a variety of photo opps, including giant artwork featuring BTS and their related iconography, looking at items, and watching and dancing with the aforementioned music videos. Every person who enters the space receives a red rubber slap bracelet that reads “BTS: SPEAK YOURSELF” and “Find your name and find your voice by speaking yourself,” coming away with a free souvenir just for checking out the special event space.