The popular camp sport Gaga has come to Westchester County with the opening of The Gaga Center in Scarsdale. The center focuses on a safe alternative to dodgeball and offers birthday parties and after-school programs.
The Gaga Center opened its second outpost in Scarsdale this past March. The first center on the Upper East Side in Manhattan has been doing well, and owners Marcy Singer and Alissa Schmelkin say they decided to bring business to the suburbs.
Gaga is a less intense version of dodgeball that is played in an octagonal pit. The object of the game is to hit opponents below the knee with a dense, foam ball to tag them out. Once one person is left, the game resets and a round usually lasts 3-5 minutes.
Singer says that business has already been booming in Scarsdale, with many reservations for birthday parties. Both locations have the same layout, color, and a party room, however the Scarsdale location has more space. “It’s been amazing how the community has welcomed us,” Singer says. “We have had a ton of school groups come in and play and kids really love it, which we’re so happy about.”
Along with birthday parties, The Gaga Center provides after-school programs and a Private Pit option, during which people can rent one of three pits for an hour and bring in a small group to play. There are also programs offered when kids have days off from school.
The idea to create The Gaga Center came about when Schmelkin and Singer’s oldest sons learned how to play Gaga at day camp and came home playing it in their living rooms. The two, who are best friends from childhood, saw this as an opportunity to open a space solely dedicated to the game, which originally opened on the Upper East Side 3 years ago.
Prices vary to play and Open Gaga is $25 for kids in grades K-6. There are also classes for preschoolers and parents sign waivers when registering online.
Main photo: An instructor at The Gaga Center explains the rules of the game to players.