At Created By You, visitors discover new depths of their creativity. Armed with a rainbow-array of supplies, guests make masterpieces on ceramic or canvas. When painting ceramics, painters first choose a blank white dish or figurine as their muse, and then adorn it with glaze. Though the glazes appear muted at first, they become vibrant in the kiln where high heat reveals their true colors, much like bringing a baby into a candy factory reveals its true selfish nature. For those trying their hand at painting, they can learn in a more structured canvas-painting class. During these sessions, they'll follow a teacher's step-by-step instruction to create a landscape or still life. Each student works on the same image, but in the end, every image is as unique as its creator. And the sessions are BYOB, so as artists realize their visions, they can also sip on their favorite beverage.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. MetaBody created a real-life version of that ticket with the MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
At Beauty SQ, hairstylists, massage therapists, and aestheticians administer a wide variety of treatments aided by OPI and BSQ gel polishes, naturally derived Aveda products, and deluxe Bumble and Bumble haircare serums. Therapists ease muscles with Western- and Eastern-style massages, such as deep tissue, acupuncture, herbal reflexology, and Chinese tui na, a technique similar to Swedish massage that aims to positively redirect chi, or energy, throughout the body. Aestheticians create tailored weight-loss packages by combining targeted massage with other treatments, such as body wraps or facials administered prejog.
Staten Island Fitness Boot Camp shifts idling body engines into energy-boosting gear with 50-minute motivational workouts three days a week. Designed to push exercisers further than they would normally push themselves, the calorie-burning conferences blend strength, cardio, and agility exercises with plenty of social support from the group and encouraging cheers from overhead seagulls. Anatomies engage in a mix of rope jumping, running, and medicine-ball work to incinerate fat, bolster metabolism, and build physical and mental strength. Groupon holders can choose 10 classes from any of the schedule's morning and evening slots, fitting neatly into the spaces between recurring dreams about playing jai alai with U2.
The tech-savvy staff at AT&T Authorized Retailer keeps customers connected with AT&T cellular phones and phone accessories. Fingers fly over the touch screens of dozens of smartphones and wireless devices, including AT&T’s Impulse 4G phone, which runs on Android 2.2 OS and snaps pictures with a built-in camera ($29.99 with two-year contract). The Blackberry Torch 9860’s 4G broadband network moves along loitering data, and a 1.2 GHz processor streamlines videos and games ($99.99 with two year contract). Tunes traverse a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary audio cable by Griffin ($14.99) that connects iPhones to car or home stereos. Also, 4GB of photos, data files, music, and videos find storage real estate on SanDisk’s SDHC memory card ($24.99), delighting audiobook dealers specializing in Proust.
For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.