Senses come alive when sitting on the plush red couches at Kasbah Hookah Lounge. The sounds of DJs spinning tracks sync with the rhythmic movements of exotically clad belly dancers roaming from table to table, weaving through clouds of aromatic hookah smoke. Customers can puff on more than 85 flavor combinations of the house’s 24 Starbuzz shishas, including classic options such as mango, or pairings such as honey, vanilla, and mint. The house also crafts their own signature blends for the five VIP flavors, including cinnamon toast crunch, which pairs apple, cinnamon, and banana. Bottles of wine and pints of beer accompany hookahs on the table, providing all of the fillers for a comfortable night out without having to lug around childhood teddy bears.
Executive Chef Dana Oddo draws from culinary skills cultivated from his time in the Memphis barbecue scene at Fuego Picante, where she fuses modern Mexican food with smokehouse barbecue fare. The restaurant's decor mirrors this savory synthesis, playfully blending sophisticated light fixtures and streamlined furnishings with whimsical flourishes, such as a mural of a cowboy. This serves as the perfect setting for Chef Oddos' warm and contemporary fare: tamales, chicken taquitos, and shrimp Creole all share menu space with mojitos that are freshly squeezed from the fruit of the 80-proof-rum tree.
Each and every rung that you climb brings a new rush of excitement and anticipation. And for good reason. What waits at the top of that ladder is a trapeze platform, but more importantly, it's a chance to flip, fly, and soar through the air like a circus performer or the most attention-starved of pet parakeets. I.FLY Trapeze's instructors guide people on just these sort of journeys, and they work with all levels?from complete beginners to seasoned flyers. Even first-timers get up in the air; during the first class, instructors can teach them to swing from their legs, let go with their hands, and catch an instructor as he or she swings from another trapeze. More and more tricks build from that moment, as long as students show up for additional sessions.
Beyond these trapeze classes, I.FLY Trapeze's instructors help people hone their strength, flexibility, and dance skills in many other aerial arts, including silks and lyra hoops (a round circle that hangs from one attachment point). They even work with students to build graceful full-scale routines set to music.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Town Sports International's network of fitness loci, opens up a number of equipment-stocked facilities across New York to exercisers. Strength-training gear, such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls, molds muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Sessions on cardio machines, ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles, inspire burnt calories to pack up and move to cooler climates. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draws from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, ensuring that no member has to jazzercise without a spotter. Each location rewards exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features such as babysitting, saunas, and steam rooms.
My Gym began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and expend energy, and now boasts more than 200 international locations. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 months) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and the hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun levels.
Retro Fitness, named one of Entrepreneur's Top New Franchises in 2011, unfurls with 13,000 square feet of vintage-styled workout space that leads visitors to physical peaks in a sunny setting marked by red and yellow fitness equipment and an encouraging team of goal-oriented personal trainers. The capacious gym's sound system blasts energetic jams from the '80s and beyond as exercisers hoist weights or watch TV shows on the 17-inch screens affixed to every cardio machine. Classic flicks such as Grease and Ferris Bueller's Day Off claim screen space in the cardio theater, where guests manufacture sweat by pedaling, jogging, and rewinding hundreds of VHS tapes. Checkerboard pathways venture toward the Retro Blends juice bar with baristas who blend made-to-order fruit smoothies using whey protein and yogurt.