Inflatable bubble dome hosts week-long ‘Democracy Lab’ at Grand Army Plaza

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BROOKLYN — It's nothing more than your normal coffee klatch discussing the news of the day — in the middle of a bubble in Grand Army Plaza.

"We are creating this bubble, this safe haven for you to slow down and discuss your own life," Jakab Orsos said.

Orsos runs the Arts and Culture Department for the Brooklyn Public Library. He discovered the bubble during a pop-up event in Fort Greene Park and was hooked by the effect it had on people right from the start.

"The structure is really evocative. It's poetic," he said.

All this week, Orsos has scheduled 15 unique hours of programming taking place inside the Democracy Lab every day. Each day starts with a guided reading of the New York Times where participants get to weigh in on the news of the day.

"This notion that everyone is welcome to have a conversation and bring their opinions and that everybody's voice can be heard is something that has always been part of the democratic process, but people don't always feel that, especially as of late," said Brynna Tucker of Bed-Stuy.

There are events for people of all ages, like the Imagination Playground.

Jessica Ralli at the Brooklyn Public Library says the space helps inspire language in the kids.

"It's just such a wonderful new experience for all of us and I think it awakens the wonder in the adults as well as the children," Ralli said.

"This is awesome for all of them to come together and have play time and get to make friends," said Mother Nicole Wilson. "It's good for the parents as well."

Throughout the week, there are more than 50 free programs focused on civic engagement, social justice, utopia and democracy. And for local New Yorkers stopping by any of the events is a chance to start a conversation and alter the pace of daily life in the big city.

"As the day goes by it gets slower and deeper and hopefully more and more profound," Orsos said.

For more information on the Democracy Lab head over to

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