Across the woodsball fields and speedball arena of Long Live Paintball, contenders dodge the colorful fire of their opponents as they leap over cable spools and post up behind a charred bus or towers of barrels. It's on these obstacle-ridden grounds that dye-slingers compete in elimination-style games or battle to complete a given mission, such as capturing the adversary's flag and using it to pick popcorn kernels out of their teeth. Admission rates range from simple entry fees for the fully equipped to all-day Gold packages that supply players with a marker, 500 paintballs, and all the other necessary provisions. Rentable chest protectors cushion trunks from crossfire, and disposable camo cuts down on the time players spend fusing their DNA with that of a tree. Although the field is generally first-come, first-serve, the staff can prepare for parties of 10 or more with an advanced reservation.
Players advance up the scenario field, taking cover behind stacks of tires and holding positions in plywood structures painted to look like rundown buildings. This scene is in contrast to the airball field, where the layout of colorful inflatable bunkers encourages a faster pace of play. No matter the field, Paintball Authority’s referees maintain safe and level play, helping out beginners to make sure they feel comfortable. The staff even leads free clinics on Saturday mornings for young players interested in entering organized team play. In addition to open games, the fields regularly host tournaments and private parties, and the adjacent pro shop keeps combatants fortified with gear, such as markers, clothing, and invisibility serum.
Armed with rental equipment, guests on All Star Paintball Arena's 13,500-square foot indoor field recharge their guns at three self-fill stations in between rounds spent ducking behind inflatables to dodge incoming splatter. Designed by avid players, the year-round field—heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer—hosts matches five days a week along with occasional cash tournaments and even a recent episode of TLC's Cake Boss. Along with its main playing area, All Star Paintball Arena houses on-site refreshments and snacks in case paint alone doesn’t suffice as friend-splattering ammo. To boot, a fully staffed pro-shop stocks an ever-growing inventory of brand-name gear.
Cousins Dean Del Prete and Paul Sattler started playing paintball for fun in 1986. Noticing a lack of places to play or find equipment, the pair took advantage of this business opportunity and founded Cousins Paintball the following year, creating a one-stop shop for players. They started out with the only paintball field on Long Island, and since then, they have grown to encompass 10 New York locations with scenario and speedball fields. Today, teams equipped with full mask and semiautomatic paint markers wander across their 20- to 80-acre spaces, searching for the opposing team's flag. Eco-friendly paint ensures trees do not suffer lasting damage, and themes such as hide-and-seek and cops and robbers add variety to a full day of games.
Since 1978, families have flocked to Five Towns Mini Golf & Batting Range for a day filled with raucous fun. On the mini-golf course, they traipse through well-manicured greenery, wielding putters as they strive for holes-in-one. A circular batting range offers 10 different cages including machines that chuck softballs and baseballs at varying speeds, with a special wiffle-ball cage dedicated to little ones and people made of glass. Armed with paintball markers, players take aim at black-hatted villains in the Wild West–themed arena, then further train their eyes and hands in the arcade.
Actor Jamie Hector has made a career playing bad guys: drug lord Marlo Stanfield on The Wire, criminal Benjamin “Knox” Washington in Heroes, and villain Lincoln DeNeuf in Max Payne. The real-life Jamie, however, has a much different agenda. As one of the three founders of Moving Mountains, he draws New York’s inner-city youth off the streets and into the theater in order to steer them away from negative influences, such as bullying, gangs, violence, and substance abuse. He and his team of industry mentors cultivate an ensemble of young performers, musicians, and writers who create original plays and short films that delve deep into their age group’s social issues while spreading strong positive messages. In Moving Mountains’ film studio, mentors train budding directors, photographers, and technicians to create and promote short films and promotional artwork with the aid of industry-standard equipment. The mentors and their most senior students also tackle social problems at the source by traveling to city schools to educate audiences on topics including bullying, sexting, and how to make good choices in education and personal relationships.