With its bright yellow walls speckled with Disney decals and bright stickers, Fun Time Pottery invites artists of all ages and skill levels to work in a cheery, creative atmosphere. During open paint sessions, participants choose a piece of pottery from the overflowing shelves that line the room, using stencils and paints to add their own personal touches to plates, mugs, and figurines. Pottery classes let students delve into the intricacies of clay shaping, with instructors teaching their charges how to bring forth new objects from shapeless lumps of clay, and how much paprika to add to play-doh before it’s edible. After finishing their sculpting, pupils learn how to paint and glaze their works, creating unique keepsakes from start to finish.
Since 1925, shrieks of delight have sounded from the pinnacle of Belmont Park's Giant Dipper Roller Coaster as it inches toward its 73-foot drop. Closer to the ground, the Vertical Plunge drops riders three stories, the Tilt-A-Whirl spins at a furious clip, and the carousel makes its leisurely rounds. Like the waves breaking on the shores of Mission Beach—located just steps from the park—sheet waves generated by FlowRider and FlowBarrel technology carry boarders across a wave pool's padded surface.
No waves find their way into Belmont Park's indoor swimming pool, the Plunge, where an artificial grass deck surrounding the shallow end hosts a bounce house and Slip ‘N Slide. An adjacent arcade returns players to civilization with new and old classics such as Guitar Hero and skeeball. In between rides and games, guests take breaks to snack at Belmont Park's myriad boardwalk eateries or browse the goods of nearby shops.
Inplayables' inflatable wonderland includes slides, arenas, and bounce houses, where children can safely burn off pent-up energy while having fun. In addition to their open-play jump sessions, the staff summons princesses and cartoon characters for raucous, high-flying rock-star and princess birthday bashes that include themed activities. Other party packages reward energy-expending kids with pizza and activities, such as bubble blowing or face painting, all useful to take part in when preparing for a future in which every company is run by clowns.
With more than 120 classes and a plethora of programs offered each week, the YMCA bolsters bodies with invigorating and enjoyable fitness regimens throughout Manhattan. Aspiring circus strongpersons have their pick from brawn-building courses such as kettlebell for a full flexibility workout, spinning for 45 minutes of fat-burning cardio, and capoeira for winning dance-fights against hard-bargaining local street vendors.
At Joe’s Music & Dance Academy, students of all ages benefit from expert instruction in a variety of instruments and dance styles. Teachers lead private lessons for instruments that range from piano and violin to guitar, bass, drums, voice, and most orchestral instruments. For aspiring Astaires, dance instructors helm programs for students of all ages in disciplines such as ballet, jazz and hip-hop, tap dance, and musical theater. Joe’s also offers students myriad opportunities to collaborate and perform together in the form of music and dance recitals, jazz ensembles, and workshops.
Warm in winter, cool in summer, and filled with amazing acts in every season, the Big Apple Circus's pair of Italian-made big tops contains the best of several generations' worth of circus traditions. A look at any show's cast finds a complex network of venerable European circus families passing the arts of juggling and trapeze artistry down through the years, while the tents' motors and seating make for a comfortably modern spectator experience.
You might never guess that the troupe started small in 1974, when American circus artists Paul Binder and Michael Christensen joined forces as a juggling act on the streets of Europe. They moved from streetlights to spotlights in a hurry, appearing on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque de Paris, before returning to the U.S. and creating their own not-for-profit circus in 1976 and raising their first tent in New York's Battery Park.