Nancy Mahon, founder of Sanctuary Yoga Studios, was raised by a family of Buddhist teachers. Her family led her down a meditative path throughout her teenage years, which laid a foundation for a lifetime of studying zen, as well as other cultures and religions. She was also inspired to pursue yoga with an inquiry-based approach to cultivate awareness and understanding. While she instructs, she strives to elicit the same passion from her students. She incorporates classic poses, breathing techniques, and meditations to coax bodies and minds into harmony without resorting to bribery.
Inside her serene studio, sunlight and gentle breezes waft through the room as seasoned instructors lead hatha- and Vinyasa-based classes. Students of any skill level can deepen their practice through traditional yoga, or target problem areas and ailments during therapeutic and stretching sessions or classes focused on abs and glutes. When they aren't teaching regular classes, the yogis inculcate novice instructors with their teacher-training programs recognized by the Yoga Alliance.
A mother and her teenage daughter stand at the counter side-by-side, chop, chop, chopping in unison. Neither have cooked much with vegetables before, but under the friendly guidance of experts, they find their veggie phobias fading. This is a recurring theme within The Food Evolution's kitchen, where students learn to toss their culinary insecurities into the flames and begin having fun with meal prep.
At The Food Evolution, which Diane Hoch founded in 2010, students aged 16 and older learn from professional instructors how to create healthful, tasty, preservative-free meals. Classes highlight either techniques or styles of cuisine and vary in levels of participation—from demonstration classes where students observe and take notes, to hands-on courses in which students are required to touch everything with all 10 fingers. In private nutritional-counseling sessions, Diane, a certified nutritional-health counselor, tailors advice and programs to help individuals reach their health and wellness goals.
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing. Studios also boast children’s classes that take place concurrently with adult sessions, allowing kids and parents to work out simultaneously.
At Premier Athletic Club, a large team of instructors lead classes ranging from intense barbell-focused BodyPump to soothing restorative yoga. Barre workouts use easy-to-learn ballet techniques to help tone bodies, and boxing boot camps teach striking fundamentals while building strength and agility. Club members get access to indoor and outdoor pools as well as class discounts.
Bergen Academy of Music and Art fine-tunes the music skills of students of all ages, offering private lessons in piano, guitar, violin, voice, and a multitude of woodwinds. Students are matched with one of more than 20 potential teachers based on levels and instrument choice, and for most sound makers, including guitar, voice, and woodwinds, the minimum pupil age is typically 5–7 years. Lessons teach a variety of musical styles, including classical, rock, and jazz, and teachers develop pupil-personalized methods to cover technique and musicianship. Classes also coach scholars in music theory, ear training, instrument maintenance, and cummerbund-wearing basics. Private symphonious sessions are once a week, and must be taken in consecutive weeks at the same time and day. Those interested should call their selected location to schedule a first lesson.
Inside the kitchen of Marcello’s, teardrop chandeliers cast their warm gaze over copper cookware and a dining table that wraps around the stove. Here, Chef Marcello sheds light on the techniques of preparing Italian cuisine during cooking classes and private parties. In such events, up to 12 guests can sip wine while he picks recipes secretly stored in his chef’s hat and demonstrates how to assemble artful dishes, which may include risotto with chicken and spinach or pasta with fresh tomato mozzarella and basil. Although the private dining experience is the easiest way to witness Chef Marcello’s passion for sharing the cuisine of his native Italy, guests can also enjoy his dynamic entrees without front-row seats at the chef’s table. In the restaurant’s dining room, floor-to-ceiling murals depict the Tuscan countryside and ferns adorn honey-colored walls as diners anticipate hearty meals. Atop crisp white tablecloths, servers present platters of housemade pastas and veal prepared seven ways. The knowledgeable staff is also happy to recommend pairings from the vast Italian wine list.