Ann Kamhi Toran credits Pilates practice with saving her dancing career. After a major back injury threatened her ability to continue performing, Ann devoted herself to Pilates, and the exercises helped rehabilitate her body so effectively that she was eventually promoted to soloist after recovering. Although she stopped professionally dancing more than 20 years ago, Ann still practices Pilates daily.
Ann?s husband, Dr. Errol Toran, also is a believer in the rejuvenating capabilities of Pilates, and he suggested it to his chiropractic patients, incorporating the exercises into their physical rehabilitation. Together, Ann and Dr. Toran decided to create a studio that shared these benefits with the general public, introducing the time-honored exercise techniques that improve posture and build lean, toned muscles.
The studio boasts four locations throughout the New York area, each featuring an arsenal of traditional Pilates equipment. The signature apparatus, the Reformer, generates gentle resistance with a system of springs, pulleys, and miniature black holes. Students push and pull against this resistance while performing sequences of relatively simple movements that require unwavering mental focus to maintain the ideal technique and alignment. By emphasizing controlled, quality movements over flailing your body against a boulder, Pilates exercises can evenly tone muscles across the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the core muscle groups.
Ann and Dr. Toran encourage their instructors to take initiative when leading classes and tailor the pacing or sequence to accommodate students, but each studio does host sessions for particular skill levels. Introductory and Level 1 classes work to develop form and technique, whereas the more advanced sessions begin to include modified exercises or long-division flashcards to ensure a more challenging workout.
Once every three years, the curators at New York's International Center of Photography set out on a mission to encapsulate the world. They scour every corner of the globe to collect the most interesting video and photography. The end result is an exhibit that reveals the Earth at present—its economic conditions, political instabilities, and social mores. The museum's other gallery spaces surround their visitors in works from the 19th century to modern day, offering windows into every era since Santa invented cameras as a new Christmas toy. These ever-changing exhibits showcase everything from evolving fashions to countries in the midst of full-blown revolution.
Hidden behind theses photographs' imagery, lies the minds of brilliant visual artists. Some of these masters speak at the The Photographers Lecture Series, a staple of the museum's research center since 1974. During these events, distinguished photographers discuss their work and how photography fits into the worlds of art, fashion, and journalism. The ICP's Library delves into these worlds even further with thousands of photobooks, periodicals, and digital files.
ICP's faculty also nurtures emerging artists. Together, they lead more than 400 continuing education courses, exploring areas such as digital photography and video. And for the most serious students, they offer a one-year certificate program and an MFA program.
Housed within a complex designed to resemble a mountainside monastery, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art immerses visitors within an environment intended to foster a widespread appreciation for the artistic and cultural creations of the Himalayan peoples. The fieldstone buildings were inspired by photographs of the Potala Palace?the historic seat of the Dalai Lamas?and the surrounding landscape features terraced gardens, lotus and goldfish ponds, and secluded nooks for meditation or high-stakes staring competitions. This connection to Himalayan architecture is also apparent in the structures' architectural details, such as a flat roof crowned with a four-sided pagoda, the trapezoidal windows, and the slate-capped doorways. When taken together, all of these architectural and landscaping features allow visitors to lose themselves in the setting while viewing the collection of artwork and culturally relevant artifacts.
The museum's permanent collection focuses on rare and sacred pieces from Tibet and nations influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, such as Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, and northern China. Featuring works from the 12th?20th centuries, this selection includes everything from bronze sculptures and silk-backed scroll paintings to furniture, photographs, and ritualistic objects. Allowing guests to view these items is only one aspect of the museum's mission though. Additionally, the staff members encourage visitors to engage with Himalayan culture by participating in tai chi and guided-meditation classes that the instructors lead on select days.
Praised in NBC New York's Hip & Healthy Blog and featured on Better in addition to other publications and media, Kettlebell Kickboxing merges Muay Thai martial-arts maneuvers with Russian kettlebell training for a full-body, female-only workout. Classes are led by creator and lauded fitness expert Dasha Libin, equipped with a master's in sports science and over a decade's experience in martial arts. Dasha, this year's official trainer for the Miss New York USA & Miss Teen USA brands and fitness brand ambassador for lululemon athletica Soho, leads sixty-minute classes that may burn up to 1,000 calories array attendees in a mirror-lined studio as they learn specialized moves, including weighted squats, lunges, and swings that hoist the kettlebells skyward. As the nonimpact regimen tones hard-to-target muscle groups, clients can hone their balance and agility without needlessly squashing their joints or practicing perilous tightrope sprints. Classes strive to strengthen and sleekify distinct body areas: the Swing/Kick session bolsters limb leanness, whereas a Punch & Knee course employs mat exercises to kindle the burn in arms, abs, and glutes. Patrons can also flock to a total body scorcher class for kettlebell-heaving drills that incorporate both cores and appendages.
It starts with a buzz. When patrons approach Raines Law Room, they’re not met by a surly doorman, just a silver doorbell. After gaining entry, guests might feel as though they’ve entered another era. In true speakeasy fashion, the windowless space is filled with plush Chesterfield sofas, the only light coming from the candles and wood-burning fireplace reflecting off the tin ceiling. In the lounge, tufted sofas and chairs recall an upscale living room. In the parlor, privacy curtains shroud four seating areas equipped with wall buzzers that can summon a server. The no-standing-around policy means parties must check in for a seat; if there aren’t any available, guests can leave their cell number and come back when they receive a call that a table is ready or a new brood of chairs finally hatched. Once seated, guests rifle through the drink list, which is divided into categories such as Bright & Crisp and With a Bitter Edge. Meaghan Dorman and her team of expert mixologists carefully blend drinks such as the South Side Rickey, a concoction of gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda infused with mint plucked from the onsite garden. Raines ranked as a top 10 finalist for World’s Best Cocktail Menu at the 2012 Spirited Awards, so most patrons will probably be tempted to sample more than one spirit, meaning their visit will end as it began—with a buzz.
In 1820, before the dawn of New York's public library system, a group of city merchants began a circulating collection of books. Now part of The Center for Fiction, that collection has grown to include more than 85,000 titles of classic and contemporary fiction, as well as literary journals and magazines.
Though readers can enjoy these works in the quiet of the eight-story building's second floor reading room, The Center for Fiction is far from a simple library. Authors, critics, and professors encourage guests to embrace reading's social aspect through reading groups on contemporary and classic works. More than 60 yearly literary events also dot the center’s schedule, inviting more than 100 writers to read and discuss their craft. Afterward, intimate, informal receptions afford readers and writers a chance to casually chat about their work or discuss the latest experimental punctuation marks.
Along with stimulating fiction readers, the nonprofit supports fiction writers with a slew of resources, from studios on the building's top floor to fellowship opportunities for emerging New York talent. Evening workshops invite writers of all levels to study MFA-level topics under seasoned faculty and bestselling authors, who cover everything from structuring stories to crafting a stronger narrative voice.