My neighbor's groovy "conversation pit" perfectly preserved from 1974


201011181347 During a recent trip to my New Jersey hometown, I had a chance to revisit the "Conversation Pit" located in the basement of the house next door to where I grew up.

The Pit (as we called it) is quite literally unchanged since the day it was completed in 1974 -- original pillows, hanging basket chairs, groovy wall graphics, foam-padded lounge areas, stainless-steel mobile, track lights, and all.  As kids, we were never allowed to play in The Pit, lest we soil the pristine white shag with our grubby little paws. We always wondered what the adults did in there, and our banishment only added to the mystery.

Anyhow, during my visit, my neighbor mentioned she was considering the idea of remodeling The Pit. This triggered howls of protest both from her own daughter, and from me.  I threatened to alert the Smithsonian Institution of The Pit's existence. "If you go ahead with the remodel," I warned, "The Smithsonian will slap you with a Historic Landmark designation so fast it'll make your lava lamp bubble over."

She laughed, then relented. The current plan is to "restore" the pit by simply replacing the carpet, and leaving it at that. Whew!

My Neighbor's Basement Conversation Pit