For more than four decades, Merion Art & Repro Center has supplied artists, engineers, architects, and other professionals with the building blocks of creativity. One needs only to look down an aisle for inspiration. In one area lie hundreds of paints and canvases ready to be transformed into watercolor masterpieces. In another, clay waits patiently for the right sculptor to come along and mold it into its true form: an even bigger ball of clay.
Beyond art supplies, Merion encompasses a fully equipped copy shop and a custom-framing center. Here, expert framers help clients select from thousands of frame and mat styles, honing in on the perfect design to preserve photos or parking tickets autographed by the best traffic cop in town.
Owner Nancy Nagle stocks a colorful rainbow of knitting supplies in her bright and eccentric gallery, which has become a go-to outlet for the local knitting community. To meet the demand, she constantly stuffs her shelves with new styles of material, ranging from traditional yarns to luxury fibers—banana, recycled silk, and Wookiee fur—to carry-along yarns with sequins, flags, and lash. Nagle’s passion for fiber arts has introduced her to a community of artists who dye and spin some of her more than 20 brands of yarn. She uses the shop as a gallery to display the work of these local artists—including Philadelphia native John Stango—as well as share her own bold collection of woven work such as hats, shawls, and sweaters.
City Paper's A.D. Amorosi describes the two-floor Nangellini as a "doubly colorful" space as "bright and open as a bay window in Sag Harbor." Amorosi admires the gallery's art collection, and between the vibrant space's "faux-tin ceiling" and "matronly rugs," Nancy leads open and privately scheduled classes on knitting, crochet, and lace work. Classes cover all the basic techniques required for newcomers to begin creating their own woven pieces, such as scarves and felt toupees.
Children crawl, climb, and careen through The Little Treehouse's sprawling wonderland, pausing only to dine with their parents at a café that Main Line Today named one of 2011's Best Restaurants for Kids. Socked feet scale sophisticated play structures and scream sonnets into pillow piles under colorful mobiles while high-quality wooden toys sow new synapses. Guests can stretch imaginations and limbs during yoga and movement classes, somersault through tumbling classes for different age groups, and schmooze with peers during seasonal and private events. Between romping sessions, tots can don bibs for a helping of organic, sugar-free applesauce at the café, where parents sip fair-trade coffee whilst navigating free WiFi and reminiscing about the steam-powered web browsers of their youth. The kitchen is open for lunch every day and for dinner Wednesday–Sunday, filling a wholesome menu with pasta, paninis, and brick-oven pizzas wrought with whole-wheat dough and local ingredients whenever possible. In clement conditions, adults can bring a bottle of wine to the outdoor terrace to watch their children play with bubbles and write chalk prescriptions for cootie remedies.
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.
The sleek, glossy Pathfinders Travel magazine focuses on the interests of active, affluent African Americans by offering travel tips, in-depth information on cultural events, and more. Published quarterly, the magazine informs its readers of U.S. and international destinations, such as the Caribbean islands, South Africa, and more, as well as articles that provide exciting spots to put on anyone's to-see list, including the Ten Black History Sites for Every American. Subscribers learn money-saving tips, such as how to rent a luxury villa for less than a hotel room, or when to hit the currency exchange to trade American dollars for British bags of Colin Firth's hair. In addition, avid readers get the scoop on some of the best African-American inns and spas, as well as advice on how to travel safely in the winter or how to smartly prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime summer vacation. Through detailed features on cuisines and wines of the world, foodies and fledgling sommeliers can find pages of excuses for indulging their passions, and outdoorsy readers can discover desirable destinations for skiing, golfing, sailing, and more.