Just because alcohol was outlawed during Prohibition didn't mean that no one drank. In fact, it was often the opposite, with speakeasies cropping up throughout the country and bartenders whipping up old fashioned cocktails such as the Bee's Knees, the Highball, and the Sidecar. These are the kinds of classic recipes high in gin, bourbon, and rebelliousness that are taught at Prohibition Spirits Academy of Bartending. Instead of crafting run-of-the-mill drinks, students learn to recreate the eclectic libations from a bygone era. Their teachers: a quartet who, between them, have owned 12 bars, served as head bartenders at a variety of establishments, and been lauded by Time Out, Gotham Magazine, and Grey Goose. Together, the foursome instills drink knowledge in their students, and offers continuing education courses and job assistance.
Golden Bridge was founded in 1985 by world-renowned yogi Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. She rooted the studio’s focus in the Kundalini yoga style, which was brought to the west by Yogi Bhajan—a master yogi, doctor of philosophy, and author who has spent his life promoting world peace. Today, Golden Bridge’s New York– and Los Angeles–based studios continue to spread the teachings of Kundalini yoga, which combines meditation, prayer, movement, and breathing exercises into a comprehensive practice.
Chef Karl Wilder teaches small groups of students to prepare multicourse meals using as many local, organic ingredients as possible. As students do the cooking, the chef offers experienced instruction, teaching students refined cooking techniques, such as how to emulsify a vinaigrette. After each session, students may dine on their meals, which include wine pairings. The Chef at Home program strikes a philanthropic tune as well, as it was created to support 'Stirring the Pot', a free program that teaches disadvantaged Diabetics in Harlem how to cook at home.
Instead of setting up shop inside a brick-and-mortar building, Classtivity stretches its fitness-bestowing reach throughout five cities, inviting people to burn calories, tone muscles, or find inner peace—all on their own schedule. Students simply search for the type of class they wish to take, such as yoga, cardio dance, or strength training, along with the time, price range, and location, before booking it online. With hundreds of activities and 20,000 available classes, the right class is always just around the corner. The company even includes classes in artistic pursuits such as guitar and painting. Classtivity’s CEO and founder Payal Kadakia sums up the business’s philosophy succinctly: “Because finding a class shouldn’t be harder than taking one.”
Amid the illuminated signs, speedo-clad cowboys, and web-slinging superheroes of Times Square, it can become difficult to stand out. Ral’eau Salsa Dance Company, one of the neighborhood’s many businesses, has just the solution—teaching students to express themselves through a variety of energetic, sensual dances that originated in Latin America and calorie-torching Zumba classes. Teachers demonstrate the steps of New York- and LA-style salsa with patience and positivity, using easy-to-follow cues to help students master each swivel, spin, and air-guitar solo. They also teach other styles of movement, including tango, hip-hop, and swing, which students can take to the streets during field trips to dance clubs and cruise ships.
In addition to hosting signature Salsa classes, Ral’eau Salsa Dance Company opens its spacious, climate-controlled studios to those who want to tone muscles and burn fat through Zumba classes. Fostering a community of 1,000-plus members, the company hosts more than 300 classes per month across various disciplines while maintaining intimate class sizes. With five levels of progressive advancement, students will meet new people, improve dancing techniques, boost self-esteem, and stay fit while swiveling their moves in a lively environment. To accompany a wide array of fitness classes including pilates, yoga, and mixed martial arts, instructors lead private dance lessons to help couples gear up for weddings, proms, or three-legged races on the set of Soul Train.
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.