The wall of hand-painted tiles is likely the first thing you’ll notice when walking into Earth Arts of Long Beach’s sunlit studio. Like a tin man at a cardiologist’s office, it stands out, offering a colorful contrast to the shelves and shelves of unpainted porcelain cups, mugs, plates, and bowls. Each prismatic square offers a glimpse into the artistic world of each customer who’s passed through the shop. As a whole, they represent the studio’s mission to foster a vibrant community that celebrates artisans of all ages and skill levels.
Staffers are happy to guide customers through the pottery-painting process, supplying them with stencils, paints, and stamps to design their own patterns. In addition to pottery painting, the studio offers art classes, and utilizes the shop as a gallery space for visiting artists.
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.
A seasoned watersports enthusiast from Fort Lauderdale, J.M. Kostallas transfers his wealth of aquatic knowledge to beachgoers along the temperate waters of Long Island. The certified lifeguard and safety instructor leads all inaugural paddleboarding lessons, which emphasize form, balance, and the art of seagull intimidation in a supportive environment with only a few students at a time. Students can put their newfound skills to use in an eco-tour of the surrounding area or give paddleboard yoga a try. Kostal Paddle leads yoga sessions in the open water and at a Jewish Community Center pool.
Nationally ranked lifeguard and co-founder Cliff Skudin has conquered the massive swells of Outer Reefs Hawaii and Nelscott Reef during professional competitions. His business partner and brother, Will, is a four-time contender in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Their aquatic family history does not stop there, however. Among the ranks at Skudin Surf are three other amphibious Skudins?including a synchronized swimmer and a trained EMT?as well as a handful of instructors, lifeguards, and pro surfers who have been embraced by the family. Skudin Surf has been featured in a number of publications, including the New York Times.
Surfing, it seems, is much more than a mere sport to the Skudins. It?s also a free-spirited form of therapy. Brothers Cliff and Will launched the non-profit Surf For All to bring the sport to kids with autism, cerebral palsy, and visual impairment, among other disabilities. They also partner with Wounded Warriors to provide lessons to military members, and provided assistance with rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.