Since its inception, all the plays that Two River Theater has produced have shared a common thread: capturing the human experience. Bridging the gap between players and audiences, their intimate performances have made them a New Jersey treasure, leading to three Theater of the Year awards from the New Jersey Theater Alliance and The Star Ledger, as well as designation as a Major Impact Organization by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. Giving them space to play along the way are two theaters: the 350-seat Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, where six-play subscription seasons and holiday shows unfold, and the 99-seat black box Marion Huber Theater.
Since 1952, this nonsectarian Jewish community center has entertained, strengthened, and educated community members with enriching programs and recreational services. Around 780 people a day lift weights, splash in the pool, or attend book readings. Children and teens absorb knowledge about scholastics, cooking, crafts, and drama during after-school programs and summer camps, while adults talk literature in book clubs, stretch out during yoga sessions, or unwind by meditating in a room filled with stacks of already-completed taxes. Seniors, meanwhile, can play a round of billiards or backgammon in a social club, learn basic computer skills, or take free, arthritis-friendly aerobics classes. The dedicated staff make a point of welcoming all community members by speaking Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, Spanish, and Upper East Side.
For more than 15 years, the stain shirkers and blot extinguishers at Laundry.bz have saved Brooklynites from being avalanched in dirty duds. The company’s lightning-fast service helps clothes-havers overcome the time constraints created by their hectic lifestyles and tedious commutes, ungriming their garments so they don’t have to wear the same barbecue-covered trousers to each week’s rib-slinging competition. Simply hand over your bedraggled accouterments at your doorstep, then wait for Laundry.bz’s talented dirt demolishers to bring them back looking mannequin fresh. Next-day service is the standard ($0.90 a pound), but for folks down to the last set of skivvies, same-day service is also available ($1 a pound). Unlike cleaners who offer extraneous services, such as wedding-dress tie-dying and personal training for pants, the team at Laundry.bz focuses solely on the art, science, and metaphysics of laundry, tackling not only clothes but also blankets ($7 each), comforters ($10 each), and other specialty items.
Puppetry Arts organizes creative-arts programming that combines the art of puppetry with cultural exploration. Puppetry Arts reaches out to a variety of audiences with its community and educational programs, youth-empowerment activities, and professional theater program. In recent years, it has fueled new musical productions including Anthropomorphic, which examines the imposition of social standards on youth, and expanded its creative scope by incorporating video and animatronic puppets into its repertoire. Puppetry Arts goes into schools to help improve literacy and oral-language skills through puppetry and mask activities, as well as a youth-empowerment program that teaches young people how to express themselves artistically. The organization also provides professional theater, which aims to help emerging artists reach out to new audiences with thoughtful material.
Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors—formerly known as Outdoor Bound—turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts—each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT—temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions]. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.
Bryan “The Brooklyn Bad Ass” Ortiz of Brooklyn Bad Ass Fitness dons many hats—the headband of a certified personal trainer, the cushioned headgear of a boxing instructor, and the top hat of a fitness-book author. Dedicated to a no-nonsense approach to fitness, Bryan conducts morning and evening weekday boot camps that whip up to 20 students into shape with intense interval training, eschewing monotonous fitness routines such as treadmill running or elephant lifting. To complete lifestyle changes, Bryan outfits guests with meal plans, customizing diets to match energy requirements. Bryan’s Wedding Body boot camp, personal-training sessions, and weight-loss challenges can all be customized to suit guests’ specific fitness goals.
The majority of TLC residents are diagnosed with severe depression, manic-depressive illness, or psychosis. In addition to providing 40 beds for temporary shelter purposes, TLC also supports residents through case management, psychiatric care, group and individual counseling, vocational services, and physical therapy. Once residents are ready to move into their permanent homes, BCS strives to supply them with several essential household items so that they can create comfortable homes and get fresh starts. Although TLC is substantially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, government funds don’t cover the costs of providing the women with these household goods.