Once, not so very long ago, seeing well and looking good didn’t necessarily go hand in hand. But as corrective-vision technology progressed, so did the demand for prescription frames that matched the public’s growing interest in fashion and personal style. This burgeoning demand inspired Jack Cohen to start his own designer-eyewear business in 1927, and soon, he was selling fashionable eyewear up and down New York’s Orchard Street from a humble pushcart. The concept was so successful, however, that he was soon able to open the first Cohen's Fashion Optical storefront on the corner of Orchard and Delancey. The near and farsighted from across the city flocked there, most to find frames that flattered their faces, and some because they misread the sign while looking for City Hall.
Today, there are more than 100 Cohen's Fashion Optical stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico offering sunglasses, designer frames, and the most advanced prescription lenses and contact lenses available. State-licensed optometrists screen patients for problems and determine prescriptions with eye exams and then steer them toward staff trained to advise customers on which frames will best suit their face shape. Titanium, stainless-steel, and plastic frames bear logos from designers such as Prada, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Cartier, Chrome Heart, Fred, and Ray-Ban, and a variety of lenses incorporate progressive, polarized, and transition technologies, or feature rose-colored glass to counteract pessimism. Customers can also shed frames in favor of contact lenses, with options that include disposable lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism, bifocal and multifocal lenses, and color lenses.
Personal trainer AJ Mihrzad once struggled with his own weight-loss challenges and severe back pain. After catching a glimpse of himself in the window of a fast-food restaurant, he decided it was time to make a change. Mihrzad pursued an undergraduate degree in exercise science and nutrition and a master's degree in psychology, striving to learn about all the factors that contribute to fitness success. He tried working at a corporately owned gym, but felt compelled to follow the road less traveled or treadmill less frequented. Mihrzad created LifeFuel Fit, where his focus on three major aspects of health— exercise, nutrition, and mindset—helps others achieve the same confidence, energy, and fitness level that he himself has obtained.
Mihrzad hired a team of trainers and nutritionists to assist him in this mission. The nutritionists provide dietary guidance, the trainers lead highly varied workouts designed to efficiently tone muscles and burn fat, and they all hold clients accountable for their results. Patrons lose a monthly average of 10–12 pounds of fat, or the amount of butter needed to sculpt a soulmate for the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Knowing that everyone takes a different path to fitness, Mihrzad also established LeanBuddy, an app that leads customers through their weight-loss journeys from the convenience of their smartphones. For a full month, users receive a daily email filled with the challenges and dietary recommendations they should take on for that day. Once they complete the instructions, they report back on the smartphone app, then receive personalized feedback from a team of fitness coaches. By letting participants complete challenges on their own time, the program can often produce more dramatic results than other more demanding regimens.
Trainer John Beneduce channels his athletic ability into CrossFit, a high-intensity, functional workout that he customizes for all ages and fitness levels. He and his wife opened CrossFit Bayside to offer an effective alternative to standard gyms.
?The way we do it at CrossFit Bayside is pretty much the total opposite of how a traditional gym would work,? John said. Rather than coming in to use equipment solo, members attend a packed schedule of one-hour sessions, which all begin with a warm-up before everyone spends about 15 minutes mastering new techniques. Once they can safely and effectively do the workout, students get to work, hoisting medicine balls, swinging kettlebells, climbing ropes, and dead-lifting weights. The workouts change each day, and John usually waits about three months before repeating one. As groups cool down, John leads a discussion on a health-related topic, ranging from nutritional information to how to keep a fitness journal without making your diary jealous.
?We really care about our members,? John said. ?My wife and I run it together as a family business.? He added that the members themselves uphold the gym's mission, warmly welcoming new members and throwing themselves fully into each workout. ?There?s no negative energy at my gym,? he said.
When Giuseppe and Marisa Ruta first met and fell in love in Ispica, Italy, they were only 16. Nevertheless, they got married a few years later, which led to travels throughout Europe, sampling of exotic food, and, soon, a relocation to the United States. As Giuseppe worked his way up the restaurant industry ladder, he and Marisa dreamed of one day opening a little Italian store and restaurant where they could savor the pair's favorite Italian dish of all—the humble panini. In 2003, that dream came true when they opened La Bottega, Italian for "the store." Ten years and more than 20 additional locations later, the couple has spread their love of Italian flavors far and wide. Though many of the locations feature their own spin on the original dishes, they all honor the Ruta's first love by offering more than 60 varieties of panini, each toasted and stuffed with gourmet ingredients such as prosciutto di parma, black-angus steak, and marinated Italian tuna. Like a sentient robot crossing guard, the eateries go beyond their handheld specialization by featuring a slate of full entrees, pasta dishes, desserts, and imported wine.
“Pain is temporary,” said seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. “ … If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” Staying true to this inspirational quote, the instructors at Cycle Revolutions—which features the mantra on its website—maintain that spinning is more than just an aerobic fitness regimen but also an opportunity to push yourself beyond perceived limits. Although they encourage intensity, the coaches strive to create a friendly, motivational environment where participants can cultivate camaraderie without feeling intimidated. To ensure this, they adapt their sessions to fit all fitness levels and allow each rider to control how fast and hard they pedal.
Once class begins, students adjust the settings of their stationary bikes before the instructor at the front of the room leads them through a simulated course with turns, hills, or long straightaways. Depending on the class, teachers may focus on endurance, strength, or power. Sometimes they also incorporate techniques from different forms of exercise, such as yoga, or further motivate students by having them outrun the studio’s stationary bear.
Decision Nutrition president Karen Gilbert treats every client who walks in her door with reverence, as she believes each one to be a warrior who has made the decision to overcome his or her own physical obstacles through the transformative power of nutritional health. Karen's accomplishments include a masters degree in nutrition from NYU and a dietetic residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, a resumé that has prompted media mainstays such as Fox News and Oxygen magazine to enlist her expertise during their coverage of important health-related topics. The center's staff of registered dietitians and certified dietitian nutritionists shares Karen's philosophy of healthier living through healthier habits, and they share nutritional advice tailored to each individual client, forging a bond of trust and collaboration. The team works together to help clients with a broad range of health and lifestyle goals including losing weight, alleviating symptoms of medical conditions, and refraining from eating through their noses.