Amid its 25,000 square feet of climate-controlled indoor turf, Long Island Sports Complex treats up to 15 birthday celebrants to one hour of motion-based merriment, followed by a half-hour of pizza, cake, drinks, and party goods. The facility takes care of all the food, decorations and invitations, so parents can spend more time knitting the perfect birthday gift or reanimating it during an electrical storm. Sports-party revelers get to release excess energy with their choice of soccer, baseball, softball, football, or lacrosse without the outdoor inconveniences of grass stains or slingshotted acorns from territorial squirrels. Two to four sport-savvy supervisors will be on hand to make sure that everyone has a safe time.
A restaurant, a rock-climbing wall, batting cages, and a custom embroidery shop are all housed in Artistic Stitch’s 30,000 square foot facility. At the cages, Probatter Simulators accelerate batters’ learning processes with sophisticated programming that allows for different types of pitches, aiming lobs in the strike zone, around it, or directly at the nearest Ming vase. A 20’ rock-climbing wall invites visitors to ascend to new heights, and soccer and doge ball games spark friendly competition. In addition to general recreational play, day-camp sessions and birthday party packages allow children to let loose and engage in energetic matches. Famished athletes can replenish their energy at the on-site restaurant, Saverio’s Bistro, which serves up piping-hot brick-oven pizzas, paninis, and pastas.
Having set up camp at The Mount Brace Outdoor Club and Flight Park, Let’s Go Paragliding sends its students skyward under the guidance of owner Benoit Bruneau. A certified instructor, Benoit was named the 2010 paragliding instructor of the year by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. At his facility, Benoit oversees introductory paragliding lessons, and for more advanced students, tandem flights, personal training, and training programs. Let’s Go Paragliding also stocks high-quality paragliding equipment and gear.
Just about the only decoration at CrossFit Long Island City is its name, tagged in big graffiti letters across the wall, along with a spray-painted city skyline. The 9,000-square-feet, no-frills facility holds no treadmills or elliptical machines. Instead, the space is outfitted with rowing machines, barbells and weighted plates, medicine balls, and ropes that dangle from the ceiling. Steeped in functional fitness exercises, the gym’s CrossFit and boot-camp classes whip bodies into shape using everyday movements, such as teaming up to flip oversized tires and office chairs, which prepares bodies for massive garage clean outs.
During the Big Apple Beatdown, an all-day roller-derby tournament hosted by the New York Shock Exchange, spectators arrive to the rink with chairs under their arms to watch six notable MRDA teams battle for the National Champion title. Bouts begin at 10 a.m. with the Dallas Deception taking on the Magic City Misfits in a storm of skates, helmets, and trampled 10-gallon hats. Other teams battling for supremacy include the St. Louis GateKeepers, Puget Sound Derby Outcasts, and Pioneer Valley Dirty Dozen. A special women’s game will also be held featuring the Long Island Roller Rebels taking on the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. The championship bout commences at 7:30 p.m., and the day ends with a presentation of medals at 9:15 p.m., where one team is deemed the victor. Matches occur on two separate tracks, allowing smooth transitions between bouts and enough time for padded pros to finish a game of Connect the Bruises.
For more than 20 years, Igor Dyachenko has trained with top coaches around the world and won numerous awards in international competitions. As a former world champion, certified instructor, and founder of D-Dojo Karate, he calls upon those years of experience to fuse classical Japanese karate techniques with modern science, including knowledge culled from biophysics, biomechanics, and reruns of The Bionic Woman. The dojo is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF) and an official branch of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF), headed by Hirokazu Kanazawa. Dyachenko trained with Kanazawa, a 10th-degree black belt who studied with the creator of Shotokan karate.
Dyachenko and his team strive to train students quickly with basic karate techniques known as kihon, kata, and kumite exercises. Children practice exercises through running, jumping, and playing, in order to help develop physical strength, agility, and mental toughness. Dyachenko also used his karate skills and sense of humor to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech on The Colbert Report.