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.
Katrina Wells was frustrated. The new mother loved spending time with her child but still longed for a place to relax and sip coffee. Family-friendly play centers had been widespread when she lived in South Florida, but they seemed entirely absent from her new home in Long Island. Undeterred, Wells took initiative and designed a business that would cater to children and their parents.
Across Le Play Cafe Indoor Play Area & Coffee Lounge's 2,000 square feet, imaginations spring to life at performance stages, dress-up areas, and pretend kitchens. A climbable play structure helps little ones to develop gross motor skills, and age-appropriate toys delight toddlers. On the other side of the play center, scents of fresh roasted coffee fill the café as parents relax, socialize, and share photos of their baby dolls. In addition to cheering children and adults, Wells' brainchild also puts a smile on Mother Nature's vine-covered face. Her eco-friendly facility boasts LED lighting and oversize windows that help to reduce energy costs.
It would be natural to think that the only wall climbing available to a Manhattanite is of the illegal, daredevil variety. Steep Rock Bouldering proves that assumption wrong with its indoor rock-climbing gym, where enthusiasts who usually find themselves teasingly surrounded by high rises, scaffolding, and New York Knicks centers can enjoy the strength-building sport. The one-story wall has plenty of routes available for the creative climber.
Woodmont Summer Camp is nestled in the hallowed halls of an elementary school. In the school's classrooms, gymnasium, and outdoor fields, a team runs summer-camp activities for kids aged 4 to 13. Throughout the day, kids participate in a variety of activities, including basketball, swimming, and special events. They even have a video-game area where kids who need a break from running around can run around virtually. The camp also sponsors field trips and a talent show that parents can attend to see their kids shine.
Why build a business based purely on surprising people? “Because life moves fast and we don’t play nearly as much as we should,” say Surprise Industries founders and sisters Kat Dudina and Tania Luna on their website. By setting up surprises for big groups and individual clients alike, the duo, along with their imaginative staff, encourages the giddiness of play that often gets lost in the shuffle of adult responsibilities. With only a location and a time to arrive, participants are swept into an unpredictable adventure that may involve anything from attending an ice-sculpting workshop to being elected chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The guides at Vertically Inclined maintain an intimate knowledge of the steep slopes, craggy rocks, burbling steams, and scenic wooded overlooks at each of their chosen hiking locations. They tailor their day hikes, overnight treks, and fall-foliage winery expeditions to fit the ability levels of their fellow hikers. Depending on their chosen route, treks may wind along trails through the Bear Mountain region and the Hudson Highlands, or to rugged landscapes including Fort Montgomery. During their many journeys, they keep their cameras handy to snap photos and document their hikers' victories over the terrain and in arm-wrestling matches with bald eagles. Though adventures technically begin at the trailhead, guides know that getting there is half the battle and provide round-trip transportation from the Bronx.