Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo have extensive experience in Bikram yoga. Donna, a former Broadway performer, noticed that actors, musicians, and stagehands had little space to stretch and warm up before their performances. In turn, she chose the theater district for her flagship BIkram Yoga studio built in 1998, when Bikram was just gaining in popularity. The first Bikram Yoga NYC location soon blossomed into seven yoga rooms spread across four locations, and all are covered in Flotex anti-microbial flooring. This waterproof flooring protects against germs more effectively than than wood floors or cooties shots. Hygiene is important when practicing Bikram yoga, as the increased temperatures cause participants to work up a healthy sweat.
On the flipside, Jennifer has an athletic background, with experience in everything from marathons to soccer and tennis. She also worked as the communications director for IMG—a powerful force in the world of sports marketing. Together, Rubin and Lobo produced the very first Yoga Asana Championship in New York. They continue to do so each year while leading a team of more than 70 certified instructors who host nearly 300 classes each week, making it convenient for clients to fit sessions in to busy schedules.
Wings Air Helicopters' band of experienced pilots advocate the beauty of airborne travel through charter services, flight lessons, and an aerial film-production studio. Luxury jets, decked out with sectional couches, meeting tables, and bars, grant passengers and their mobile studio audiences safe travels with charter and cargo services. Within helicopter cockpits, Bose noise-canceling headsets block out the hum of spinning propellers to ensure clear communication during charters and tours. Wings Air Films offers a wide range of aerial production services, supplying movie helicopters and camera platforms to capture bird's-eye shots of famous landmarks or Waldo sightings for motion-picture and television industries.
The scuba pros at Village Divers get students off land and into the water with a catalogue of scuba classes and certifications and a cache of rental equipment. Their Open Water Diver scuba-certification course transforms guppies into scuba-certified guppies with classroom and onsite pool training. They can coordinate diving events for full Open Water certification, or they can issue referrals for students to complete their certification at another location. The instructors also delve further into the underwater arts with advanced courses in technical diving, underwater photography, and wreck diving—often taking trips out to the sunken ships of Wreck Alley and the abandoned castles of local fishbowls.
It's hard to tell what's going on behind the metal grillwork covering the windows of the building that still bears the name Union Square Savings Bank carved into its stone. That's because of the blackout drapes—the vintage 1840 Greek Revival monolith with 40-foot ceilings has been a theater since 1996, when Daryl Roth took it over and got rid of all the dusty old money inside. The theater producer, who has staged seven Pulitzer-winning plays, has since opened up the unobstructed space to an array of other spectacles.
The spinning wheels of a bicycle take on greater meaning at SoulCycle Union Square. The goal isn’t just a full-body workout or shedding buckets of sweat, but rather to create a “cardio sanctuary” where riders can clear their minds and find inspiration while riding in candlelight. In the Union Square branch of this popular nationwide exercise chain, 57 bikes support up to 13 lessons per day that incorporate core training and upper body work with up to 5-pound weights. However, it’s the community aspect of the workout that has helped make the place one of the hottest trends at the moment. Participation can be a serious financial commitment, and reservations are a must for peak-hour sessions, but there’s certainly no shortage of happy customers willing to pay the price, especially when celebrities like Jake Gyllenhaal clip into the pedals next to you.
In a freshly renovated space that Well+Good called "minimalist … with elbow room," practitioners at Sacred Sounds Yoga pair flowing movements with mindful breathing—all without touching the ground. Aqua-colored aerial silks cradle students in hammock-like embraces as they perform controlled postures, inversions, and straitjacket escapes during Unnata aerial yoga, just one of the many yoga modalities offered at Sacred Sounds. Certified teachers also lead candlelit flow yoga for cancer patients and survivors, and the studio hosts tai chi classes and workshops for tai chi immersion or body detoxes. To stay connected to the community, Sacred Sounds donates a portion of its proceeds to charity.