At the age of 13, when most kids are writing The Karate Kid fan fiction, David Martucci was beginning his martial-arts training. He eventually transferred his punching prowess into a coaching career that has yielded title-winning students in tournaments such as NAGA and Grapplers Quest. As the head coach of the American Top Team training centers, he's overseen a team of professional fighting trainers that has produced more than 67 pro fighters competing in the UFC and WEC.
Inside the gym's 5,000-square-foot training space, trainers share their sage grappling advice and recipes for coffeecake, molding future champions disciplined in muay thai, MMA, and boxing. Students learn high-level takedowns in the martial-arts room where heavy bags hover over a floor padded in Zebra mats, or how to negotiate the grueling confines of a 22-foot competition cage. Just beyond the training room, people work on writing checks that their fists can cash in the workout facility stockpiled with dumbbells, weight benches, machines, and cardio equipment.
While exercise enthusiasts, celebrities, and athletes have practiced Joseph Pilates' unique style of controlled movements since the 1920s, it wasn’t until recently that studios such as The Pilates Experience brought the workout down from the mountain. After introducing guests to the specialized machines, including the Reformer, Tower, Cadillac, and ladder barrels, instructors lead exercises that use bodyweight as resistance. To help students perform the moves correctly, they cap the machine-based classes at six people and move from station to station handing out tips on proper alignment. Other classes include a Pilates-infused yoga class, heart-pumping indoor-cycling sessions, and muscle-toning total-body circuit training.
Kashmir Hands’ owner, Dina M. Giugliano, possesses an unending fascination with the abilities of the human body. She fosters her enchantment through three primary avenues: massage, yoga, and doula services, a Greek tradition that combines the duties of a pregnancy counselor with those of a midwife. Her thumbs relieve patrons’ tension and coax out toxins during therapeutic deep-tissue massage, a soothing avenue to injury recovery, particularly when paired with a gentle form of yoga. There are more gentle and more intense forms to choose from, as Giugliano offers 17 types of yoga classes, each developed for a certain age group, level of athletic ability, or species.
Meats, cheeses, fruits, and veggies line the counters and display cases at DaVinci Gourmet Market, where chefs draw upon a palette of fresh ingredients to compose take-home entrees and catered meals each day. To-go containers nearly overflow with wild-rice salad or crab cakes, and entrees of grilled salmon or roasted chicken make for ephemeral table centerpieces. The sun rises over omelets and traditional two-egg breakfasts, and the lunch menu’s specialty paninis invoke the Leaning Tower of Pisa with their stacked toppings and unstable groundwork of toasted ciabatta bread.
Cool Cuts owner Rafael leads a team of experienced barbers who pamper hirsute hombres with custom cuts, shaves, and skincare services. Located in the MetLife building, the fleet-fingered team also carts its cutlery to homes and offices in the Manhattan, Queens, and Nassau County areas, where they spend time consulting with clients, assessing head shape, and debating the cultural impact of the scrunchy before administering cuts and de-whiskering mugs.
Elizabeth Samudio, owner of Elizabeth Anna’s Old World Garden, cultivates an eco-friendly urban sprawl of thriving flora and fauna situated just minutes from downtown. Wander through rows of edible, unusual, and native plants whose organic designation signals freedom from synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, and whose lushness and vibrancy make them ideal camouflage for secret backyard wrestling leagues. Secure a romantic rendezvous with beguiling rose varietals, or nurture fruit trees and veggie starts into fully stocked, self-replenishing produce aisles. Samudio and her staff of greenthumbs will gladly aid customers with photosynthesizer selection, sharing planting and care tips for aesthetics ranging from asparagus ferns and creeping ivy to topiaries shaped like the mailman.