The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.
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.
Elk Grove Bowl first cracked open its doors in August 1963, and since then, it has evolved in step with technology to become a modern 40-lane alley with automated scoring. Bright colors splash every corner of the space, flaring to life under the black lights of Cozmic bowling, when fog and pulsing music fill the air to make competition seem more urgent and friends' faces seem more attractive. Year-round leagues, including the peewee bumper league for kids, help athletes to hone hurls and spins.
Bowlers can also sharpen hand-eye coordination atop pool tables. Nearby, libations clutter a steel-topped bar and electric-blue booths in a restaurant ringed with vintage bowling photography. A private room is equipped with all of the trappings for birthday bashes, such as pizza, soda, and festive plates sliced from tree trunks that share the birthday girl's birthday.
When he decided to open a hookah bar, Farrukh Pakal knew that one thing had to be perfect: the seating. ?If my body is not relaxed,? he reasoned, ?I cannot relax my mind.? So, within Silk Hookah Lounge's cherry-colored walls, guests? backsides will not bounce into a single hard-backed chair. Couches and sofas sprawl throughout the space, inviting patrons to linger over teas imported from Pakistan or hot chocolates sprinkled with coconut, cinnamon, or vanilla. And, perhaps most importantly, the cushy seating cradles holders of Egyptian glass hookahs. Like anger over an incorrectly punctuated parking ticket, these slowly burn for up to three hours, releasing scents of chocolate, mint, lemon, apple, or other fresh fruits into the air.
While enjoying their hookahs, groups can grab cards, dominoes, or other games as LED lights splash a rainbow of colors overhead. On weekends, DJs infuse the flavorful airwaves with music.
What started as a five-chair salon in 1993 has become an award-winning business with 20 styling stations, and eight color stations. Helmed by owners Lisa Shriver-Brooks and Steven Brooks, Diva Studio’s stylists have developed a reputation for outstanding hair services, which has earned them the honor of styling strands for major events such as the 2005 Billboard Music Awards and VH1’s Divas 2004. High ceilings and an open floor plan characterize the industrial-chic space, which is illuminated by hanging studio lighting and decorated with stainless-steel fixtures made from former Brave Little Toasters. While standing on the polished cement floors, stylists wash clients’ hair before transforming their look with high-end products and services from blowouts to updos.
Starting when it opened in 1994, Rani Spas' image specialists have been polishing impressions through waxing, facials, massage, hairstyling, and mani-pedi services. The expert aestheticians enhance skin with a medley of visage-rejuvenating treatments, including the smoothing crystal collagen facial and the Synergie peel, which combines a powerful chemical peel with microdermabrasion to repair skin damaged from acne, sun exposure, and professional-apple-bobbing careers. The spa's stylists also tend to coifs with strand transformations ranging from cuts and updos to highlights and moisturizing treatments, and fuzz fields are left clean and sleek through gentle waxing and traditional threading methods.