With its bright yellow walls speckled with Disney decals and bright stickers, Fun Time Pottery invites artists of all ages and skill levels to work in a cheery, creative atmosphere. During open paint sessions, participants choose a piece of pottery from the overflowing shelves that line the room, using stencils and paints to add their own personal touches to plates, mugs, and figurines. Pottery classes let students delve into the intricacies of clay shaping, with instructors teaching their charges how to bring forth new objects from shapeless lumps of clay, and how much paprika to add to play-doh before it’s edible. After finishing their sculpting, pupils learn how to paint and glaze their works, creating unique keepsakes from start to finish.
At Grace Space - Yoga at RDCC, Grace Hernandez leads students through the ancient postures and breathing exercises of Hatha yoga, a style that developed in India more than 2,000 years ago. Grace’s studio is fully matted, meaning students don’t need to bring a mat to class. Along with exposing people to the benefits of yoga, Grace also wants to help her community. Once a month she leads a free class that focuses on a few postures and delves into the anatomy and benefits behind them—all she asks is that attendees bring clothing, canned goods, or monetary donations that Grace then purposes toward causes and groups.
The practice dummy at Budokai Fitness & Self-Defense has a scowl on his face. Maybe he was molded that way to look menacing, or maybe it’s because he’s being subjected to a barrage of students’ punches and kicks during Budokai’s adult and kids’ martial-arts classes and personal-training sessions. Helmed by Sensei Fritz Michel, Jr., the classes take an MMA approach and combine effective techniques from disciplines such as karate, judo, and other martial-arts styles. Sessions cover techniques such as striking, take-downs, throws, and submissions, and also incorporate stretches and calisthenics during warm-ups.
Each day, sports persons enter a brick façade on 39th Avenue with bow cases and leather quivers slung over their shoulders. Queens Archery was founded in 1967 and remains a clubhouse for the city's archers, offering a practice range, opportunity for organized competition, and a pro shop that stocks all manner of gear for the sport with a small but passionate following. In recent years, interest in the age-old discipline has surged—in part due to the popularity of the bow-and-arrow-wielding characters in The Hunger Games series—bringing an influx of beginners eager to learn the sport to Queens Archery. In addition to the resident eagle-eyed veterans, the facility is home to a coterie of young archers who take part in the Junior Olympic Archery Development program. The JOAD program is administered by Columbia University archery coach Al Lizzio and certified teacher Erin Vecino, who help youths cultivate the sharp eye and steady pull necessary to be competitive-level archers.
At Golden Touch Boot Camp, owner Dewayne Barrett helps clients reach their personal fitness goals using his experience as a personal trainer and as a competitor in international high-hurdling and sprinting contests. Barrett and his staff assist athletes and casual exercisers alike with personalized workout plans, weight-loss and muscle-building regimens, marathon training, and specialized classes in boxing and kickboxing. The staff also includes massage therapists trained to knead out athletes' muscular aches. An assistant cross country track and field coach for St. Johns University, Barrett boasts a number of athletic accomplishments, most recently a 2011 World Championship bronze medal for Jamaica in the 4x400m.