In his early teens, Mario Godiva Green was overweight. At school, kids bullied him daily, and he was tired of their incessant mockery. At 16, his mother died, providing the catalyst to the dramatic life change that Mario was about to embark on. Over the next 11 years, his rise to prominence in the fitness circles of New York and Chicago was nothing short of meteoric. From modeling for Calvin Klein to pioneering Kangoo workouts in the United States, Mario has been at the forefront of physical fitness. His work has been featured on the New York Times, The Steve Harvey Show, and ABC Nightline.
Today he jet-sets around the world to promote and teach Kangoo to throngs of eager exercisers and underachieving gravity forces, and his Kangoo classes have become one of the trendiest, most exclusive workouts in the city. A firm believer in having fun while exercising, his hip-hop classes are half dance, half fitness class, and he also leads hoppers throughout Manhattan during outdoor boot camps and jogs. The springy shoes reduce the impact on the joints and spine, harnessing the 33 health benefits associated with rebounding without danger to joint cartilage.
Butter Lane's cupcake connoisseurs imbue curious cooks with the power to frost cupcakes in traditional American style, earning the outfit a featured spot on Martha Stewart and Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. During the one-hour Cupcakes 101 class, small groups of about 12 students don aprons and proceed to fully stocked prep stations to make Butter Lane's delectable frostings. Sweet-toothed snackers learn the recipes for Butter Lane's classic American chocolate, vanilla-bean, and cream-cheese flavors and even make their own versions of non-traditional toppings such as raspberry, peanut butter, and cinnamon. Once recipes have been mastered, students clothe bare cupcakes with custom designs and learn the secret to Butter Lane's technique and signature swirl, eventually competing for the prize of Best Icer in a stadium arena. When the class concludes, students take home recipes and a barbershop's dozen of four deliciously and personally prepared cupcakes.
As a leading wine educator in Manhattan, New York Vintners helps budding wine enthusiasts define and expand their personal wine tastes and cooking techniques at their high-end wine shop. During basic to advanced classes and wine-themed events, a team of six certified sommeliers and authorized enophiles elaborate on each wine's nuances from the angles of producer, region, and varietal. Smartly matched pairings and hands-on cooking instruction from Executive Chef Ryan Smith unpack the flavors even further. The staff keep a strong focus on terroir—the effect that environment has on a wine's flavor—as they select high-quality biodynamic and boutique wines for the shop's impressive, ever-changing list.
Giovanni and Sherry Preziuso, owners of Fierce Fitness, specialize in tailored personal-training sessions but also offer small-group fitness classes designed to condition muscles and shed weight. In addition to functional core and suspension-training classes—classes that employ a system of ropes and webbing to allow the students to work against their own body weight—Fierce Fitness also offers therapeutic massage.
As a member of TeamBeachBody and an ISSA-certified personal trainer, Eric Shaw knows how to avoid fitness pitfalls. He encourages his pupils to "live richly" by abstaining from shortcuts and consistently testing their physical limits. His routines adjust programs such as P90X and Insanity to suit distinct goals, shunning the monotonous cookie-cutter workouts that force clients to carve gingerbread men out of cement. Dietary and supplement advice round out Eric's transformation plans, which target entire lifestyles instead of just muscles.
In the talented hands of Sean Shapiro, a camera can say anything. He's snapped colorful action shots of Easter parades for Time Out NY and has explored the Syrian border in Fine Art Magazine. His self-published photography book, depicting New York City just weeks after Hurricane Sandy, earned a "Staff Pick" distinction on Kickstarter. With his perceptive eye and an ever-expanding resume of awards and publications, Sean has made a name for himself in commercial, fine art, and journalistic spheres alike. But now he turns his lens toward the personal with shoots on-location in parks and city neighborhoods. Families, engaged couples, children, and even pets rely on Sean's virtuosity, taking home prints as engaging artistically as they are emotionally.