Tom Paladino, owner of the 95-foot American Princess, steers passengers over the Atlantic Ocean's scenic waters on many noted tours that leave the city's commotion behind, including his seal and birdwatching tour that earned a New Yorker mention. Staffed by a team of experienced captains on its luxury boats, American Princess Cruises' excursions encompass a variety of sightseeing, cruising, tours, and partying opportunities. The company's many voyages ferry passengers past scenic areas that include New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay, Long Island Sound, or the Statue of Liberty as she readies her torch for that night's show at Madison Square Garden.
Within these geographic areas, passengers cruise on tours during which it's common to spot whales and dolphins cresting the sea's surface, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, or take in the area's flame-colored leaves in autumn.
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.
Rab's Country Lanes seems to stretch endlessly into the horizon, housing 48 lanes, each with touchscreen computers and 42-inch LCD monitors hanging overhead. Late night cosmic bowling adds dazzling fluorescence to the alleyscape, and automatic bumpers keep the game fair for children and people who just stepped off rollercoasters. In the laser maze, aspiring spies can slither through a web of lasers, attempting to clear the course without tripping the alarm. Gennaro's snack bar refuels indoor athletes with pizza, burgers, and coffee.
The Willow stretches limbs and centers chakras in a serene studio swathed in aura-inspired colors. The studio offers a bevy of body-bending classes, including basic and advanced Pilates, hot Vinyasa yoga, and belly dancing. During group classes, guests can stretch out their body blankets as experienced instructors provide comprehensive, step-by-step guidance. With a month of unlimited dips, students can try their abs and minds in one or many formats, hunting for the regimen that suits their sweat beads best.
Center for the Arts produces unique music, dance, and comedy performances from the campus of the College of Staten Island. Its children's series brings light-hearted whimsy to that most somber of life stages. Center for the Arts' upcoming kid-friendly offerings include the musical Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, featuring the talent of the ArtsPower National Touring Theatre. The play brings Judy Blume's novel to life as 10-year-old Sheila Tubman deals with hilarious coming-of-age struggles when she moves to Tarrytown, N.Y., for the summer. Black Violin melds together classical music and hip-hop, as two violinists and a DJ fuse the two sonic genres in a way unheard since Beethoven's Symphony No. 12: Mo' Measures, Mo' Problems. Rainbow Fish, also presented by the ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, emphasizes the importance of friendship and generosity in a far more effective fashion than last season's production of Rumble Fish.
Since its beginnings in 1980, Staten Island Fencing Club has developed the skills of collegiate athletes and Olympic hopefuls under the guidance of head coach and founder Steve Khinoy, a Johns Hopkins PhD with more than 30 years of coaching experience. In 2010, the club—once relegated to college cafeterias and church basements—took up permanent residence at Staten Island Fencing Center, a full-time facility as bright and spacious as the Man in the Moon's front yard, complete with fencing strips, an armory, and a pro shop. There, Dr. Khinoy cultivates an atmosphere of camaraderie, teaching both novice and advanced swordsmen to master the Olympic and NCAA sport's triumvirate of blades: foils, sabers, and épées.
Under President and Coach Susan Monardo, the center's focus has been to help both the recreational fencer and competitive fencer reach their goals. Beyond one-hour introductory lessons, regular courses stretch for several weeks, during which competitors learn the strategies and fancy footwork necessary to best opponents on the piste and during freestyle dance contests. Summertime day camps and clinics sharpen slashing technique with five hours of daily instruction that include warm-ups, basic drills, and individual lessons. The staff also hosts parties for birthdays or other celebrations, in which guests practice the art of dueling amid cake, refreshments, and bouquets of colorful balloons shrieking in terror.