Just a subway train's throw from Manhattan, City Island seems like a different world?tree-lined banks and sprawling waters that stretch toward the New York City skyline and out into the open Sound. New York Sailing Center's owner Captain Stephen Glenn Card touts the location for its absence of man-made disturbances such as wind shears and strong currents. Captain Card has taught since the 1980s, and continues to lead multiday immersive-sailing classes for everyone from beginners to advanced cruisers and navigators.
Throughout the years, they have developed a fine-tuned training system that combines in-classroom instruction (including practice with a large, moveable boat) and on-water obstacle courses within Eastchester Bay and Long Island Sound. Atop these waters, students practice on Beneteau sailing boats ?twin-rudder vessels that can accommodate beginner's mistakes, and are also the only boats to receive endorsements from a national sail training organization, such as ASA or US Sailing. As students progress, instructors teach more advanced skills such as bareboat cruising and navigation. They even take some of their brightest pupils on sailing trips to destinations such as Italy or Captain Hook's retirement home.
Pete Lawson's passion for the martial arts is more than 30 years old, reaching all the way back to when he took his first karate lesson in Jamaica when he was 13 years old. His love for the discipline blossomed, eventually earning him five black belts, a spot in world tournaments, and the opportunity to spar against master martial artists. He also studied Brazilian jiujitsu under renowned master Renzo Gracie, one of the sons of Brazil's famed family of martial artists. As a believer in the saying "to whom much is given, much is required," Lawson decided to put his accolades and experience to good use founding and teaching at his own academy, Brooklyn Martial Arts. Today, he offers classes for all levels of Brazilian jiujitsu and mixed martial arts, preparing students for everything from self-defense to competition.
Lawson also imparts lessons of discipline and perseverance to little ones in kids' classes, using martial arts as a platform to improve their schoolwork, teach them nonviolent ways to deal with bullies, and strengthen their listening skills by having them perform pushups with their ears. They even host birthday parties for kids, where the birthday boy or girl cuts the cake with a real sword and competes in fun and friendly martial-arts-based games and activities.
When Blake Eastman meets strangers, plays poker, sits in on corporate negotiations as a consultant, or turns on the TV and watches politicians speak, he analyzes dozens of nonverbal clues and subtle behaviors that betray an individual's true feelings and intentions. "I've always been a natural at it," he says. "It's part of who I am." But through his education and independent research he’s gotten better and can now pinpoint every indicator that shows a person is hiding their emotions––from their microexpressions to their wooden nose growing 2 inches.
During interactive group classes Blake outfits his students' observational tool belts with the knowledge to read body language or improve their dating lives. Classes engage with multiple activities that range from video analysis to role-playing. As images of apologetic celebrities and athletes flash across the screen, Blake pinpoints telltale microexpressions that crawl across each person's face. In the game "two truths and a lie," students take turns trying to deceive each other as the class hunts for the lie and its tells. The skills in each class lay a foundation for what Blake calls a lifelong effort to learn what someone is truly thinking or feeling.
For almost 40 years, the instructors and staff of Dip 'N Dive have demystified the magic of breathing underwater. They instruct and outfit both scuba divers and snorkelers at their Buffalo location, and the facility's curriculum of PADI and NAUI courses help budding divers stay safe, maintain control of their equipment, and walk like Naomi Campbell while wearing fins. From beginning diving lessons to advanced instructor training, courses include classroom work, pool exercises, and real open-water-diving trips.
Since opening in 1981, Rochester Fencing Club has produced two world-champion fencers and a slew of prodigious Olympian qualifiers, including five members on the 1996 team, four on the 2000 team, and one on the 2008 team. Two of those Olympians, sisters Iris and Felicia Zimmermann, have returned to the facilities as co-owners and instructors. Iris?s fencing aptitude has earned her a position as the president of the Stanford Fencing Association, while Felicia?s fencing prowess?she was the first and only woman to win the NCAA championship in both foil and ?p?e?remains unrivaled despite rumors that rhinoceroses will now be allowed to compete. Continuing the club?s tradition of excellence, the staff cultivates talent among young fencers in summer camps and classes of all levels. Two-hour birthday parties teach kids fencing basics, followed by an hour of frenzied birthday-cake consumption and duels with pi?atas.
Classes at La Piazza di Carolina marinate students in the language and culture of Italy, preparing families for vacations abroad and instilling a foundation of bilingualism in young children. The cooking workshop invites pint-sized sous chefs to gather around the table of a kitchen classroom to learn basic Italian cooking terminology while crafting classic Italian dishes and conjugating verbs to a golden brown. Tiny aprons and toques transform apprentices into confident spaghetti slingers as they knead pizza dough, blend ricotta fillings, and craft tiramisu, all while learning Italian translations for ingredients and techniques. Parting gifts include the day’s recipes and Italian vocab flashcards made out of pizza.