Rain delays and snow-outs are never an issue within Hudson Baseball Center, where instructors lead baseball and softball lessons atop the indoor facility's evergreen turf. Working in individual practice lanes or in group clinics, players focus on improving distinct aspects of their game, including hitting, pitching, and fielding. Regardless of the specialty involved, every lesson places particular emphasis on critical thinking and physical discipline, valuable skills for both playing baseball and wrestling other jury members to settle an impasse. Comprised of former high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, the faculty includes the likes of a Class-A pitcher for the Reds, a high-school All-American with 14 years of coaching experience, and a softball player who spent 13 years with the Hoboken Shockers' traveling team.
As a child in Argentina, Nancy Gerardi soaked up the Spanish and Italian songs of her grandmother—many of them filtered through her father’s spirited accordion playing. Naturally, this musical upbringing led her to discover her talent for dance at a young age. It wasn’t until she arrived in the United States, however, that she decided to combine this talent with her skills as a businesswoman to open her own dance studio.
Today, at My Passion Dance Studio & Entertainment, Nancy translates the music of her youth into fun and fluid dance steps. Whether in private classes or small groups, her students strut and stomp on helpless piñatas as they learn spirited Latin dance styles such as merengue, bachata, tango, and flamenco. Nancy’s studio doesn’t limit its offerings to the styles she grew up with, though. Students can also learn the graceful moves of ballet, jazz, or hip-hop, or take lessons in piano and guitar.
Leading more than 30 bike tours across the nation, the cycling enthusiasts at Bike and Roll fuel a passion for healthy, eco-friendly transportation via guided tours and self-guided rides atop rental bikes. Their fleet of two-wheelers stakes a claim to Trek bicycles—the same brand that propelled Lance Armstrong to victory—and other recreation, transportation, road, and children's bikes. Riders can pedal behind a guide during the Ride 'Round Manhattan tour, which circles the Statue of Liberty and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial before cruising along the Harlem River bike path. More adventurous cyclists can board rental cycles on their own and confer with free maps to conduct a jaunt across the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges while drinking in the skyline and making Waldo spottings along the river. Bike and Roll also outfits patrons with other specialty transportation, such as in-line skates, segways, and magic carpets programmed to swing past the tops of only historic buildings.:m]]
Tourists and natives alike perch atop rental bikes from Blazing Saddles’ impressive fleet, pedaling down New York City's Greenway Bike Path and thoroughfares on adventures that combine exercise and sightseeing. Cyclists select from an array of comfort cruisers, 24-speed performance hybrids, and mountain bikes outfitted with the thick tread and front suspension necessary to support their riders and the mountain goats that often cling to them. Complimentary helmets and locks accompany each rental, along with detailed maps criss-crossed with routes for self-guided tours. Alternatively, three-hour guided tours of the Brooklyn Bridge area or Central Park give bikers a more structured touring experience.
It’s safe to say Catherine Fox knows her way around a pool. She won an Olympic gold medal for her ability to find her way from end to end. Partnering with Swim Jim owner Jim Spiers, a trainer for 2012 Olympics Bronze medalist Lia Neal, the pair transformed their expertise into a curriculum that helps others learn to love the water as they do. The resulting program, titled the Underwater Schoolhouse, forms the cornerstone of every class held at Swim Jim.
Teachers take on students of all ages, focusing first on helping to cure land dwellers’ inherent nervousness around water. To do this, they use a combination of encouragement and humor, never pushing a student further than they’re willing to go. Once students take the plunge, the coaches focus on teaching the mechanics of a variety of strokes, such as how to kick during breaststroke or how to emerge gracefully from the chrysalis before butterfly stroke.
BumbleBee Tennis's wide spectrum of tennis programs for juniors and adults nurture players at every step of game development. Skilled instructors helm a variety of lessons from Beginner Group Tennis classes to private one-on-one intensives. All teachers are trained professionals and most have played competitively at the collegiate level. While helping students focus on technique and making solid contact with the ball, instructors also attempt to ensure that everyone from youngsters to veterans enjoys the game and knows how to count all the way to love. Adults interested more specifically in the cardiovascular aspect of the game can enroll in Cardio Tennis, a 60-minute class comprised of high-intensity drills and games that elevate heart rates into the aerobic zone and subsequently evaporate calories.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play & Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.