Dolphin Fitness Clubs' forest of humming and clanking exercise equipment is overseen by knowledgeable staff who are eager to dole out instruction on playing nicely with the machines and to pass along workout tips. Professional cardio- and strength-training equipment, from top manufacturers such as Cybex, Streamline, and Hammer, abounds as the certified trainers lead clients through customized workouts that are supplemented by nutritional counseling. The trainers also conduct group fitness classes—such as Zumba—in their expansive studios. Hordes of flat-screens line the gym walls, regaling fitness-seekers with distractions in the form of TV shows and movies such as Babe, a pig in the city who overcame all odds to run his first marathon.
With more than 120 classes and a plethora of programs offered each week, the YMCA bolsters bodies with invigorating and enjoyable fitness regimens throughout Manhattan. Aspiring circus strongpersons have their pick from brawn-building courses such as kettlebell for a full flexibility workout, spinning for 45 minutes of fat-burning cardio, and capoeira for winning dance-fights against hard-bargaining local street vendors.
Lambert Epperly, founder and owner of National Bartenders School, oversees the progress of each of his school's students, and provides individual advice and adjustments from their first class through graduation. His bartending gurus pass on their knowledge and techniques in a custom-designed cocktail-lounge classroom, engaging students in hands-on training behind a 40-foot-long, fully stocked bar. These experienced instructors lead a 40-hour certificate program and other seminars in both English and Spanish, tailoring class times around students' work and crime-fighting schedules. For extended courses, they provide a bartending textbook spanning more than 200 drink formulas and detailing elements of the craft, such as types of glassware and customer-service practices. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Education, the school keeps tuition low and connects its students with free job-placement assistance in local watering holes.
For more than 40 years, the family that owns and operates Paragon Athletic Club has been helping clients meet their health and fitness goals. Their spacious facility offers the latest workout equipment: a dedicated cycling room hosts spinning classes, and cardio machines with personal televisions allow guests to keep up with local news or their favorite sitcoms. In addition to upbeat fitness classes, staff provides services including personal training, fitness testing, and nutrition counseling. Clients can also head to the City Blends Juice Bar for a fresh and healthy post-workout shake or refreshing orange juice shower.
What do New York Fashion Week 2011, the Fall Into Beauty Tour, and Jerseylicious have in common? They all featured the award-winning makeup looks of Ereny Milad. Winner of WeddingWire's Brides Choice Award 2011 and 2012 and The Knot's Best of Weddings 2012 and 2013, the MAC Pro makeup artist and owner of LUSH ARTISTRY also served as a resident makeup artist at New York Fashion Week from 2008–2012. Harnessing her skills of contouring, highlighting facial features, and hiding blemishes, Milad—along with her staff of expert beautifiers—brings out clients' natural beauty with a slate of services including glamorous makeovers, airbrushing, and bridal makeup. Milad also leads hands-on classes, during which students learn the secrets behind her dramatic runway makeup and understated everyday looks for cleaning the bathtub.
A team of friendly gurus runs each club. Fitness buffs of all buffness levels feel welcome in the fun and accommodating atmosphere at Washington Sports Clubs. During your two weeks, you get access to all the professional equipment, group exercise classes, locker rooms, and facility amenities offered (some group exercise classes require a reservation). Different clubs have on-site features such as pools, Pilates and yoga, babysitting services for a tag-along papoose, electricity, and more. Search for the club that suits your checklist here.