In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
For more than 90 years, Sterling Optical’s physicians and eyeglass specialists have paired peepers with stylish brand-name frames. Men, women, children, and seeing-impaired mannequins can browse frames by Coach, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, and Kenneth Cole (designer frames are $229+), among others such as Peachtree Eyewear ($119). Eyewear technicians forge lenses in about one hour before bestowing customers with two pairs of custom frames—one for daily wear and one for incognito trips to the grocery store. If within 30 days of their purchase patrons tire of frames with x-ray vision, Sterling Optical will gladly replace said specs with another pair of equal or lesser value.
In a back room, kilns roar with flames, sealing brushstrokes onto the ceramic surfaces of plates, mugs, and figurines. As much as a week earlier, these pieces lolled beneath the brushes of child and adult guests at Just Kiln' Time, where the knowledgeable staff helps patrons personalize pottery bisque with provided paints and glazes. Clay artistes can navigate the contoured surfaces of figurines shaped like football helmets and gymnasts, or replicate the design of Winston Churchill's "World's Best Prime Minister" coffee mug. Tiles, plates, and holiday ornaments round out the selection of unpainted pieces.Just Kiln' Time's 1200-square-foot studio also caters to the younger set with kids' parties, field trips and Girl Scout events. Children who present exemplary grades on their report cards or skits about the invention of the pinch pot can also receive discounts on their purchases.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.