Across the woodsball fields and speedball arena of Long Live Paintball, contenders dodge the colorful fire of their opponents as they leap over cable spools and post up behind a charred bus or towers of barrels. It's on these obstacle-ridden grounds that dye-slingers compete in elimination-style games or battle to complete a given mission, such as capturing the adversary's flag and using it to pick popcorn kernels out of their teeth. Admission rates range from simple entry fees for the fully equipped to all-day Gold packages that supply players with a marker, 500 paintballs, and all the other necessary provisions. Rentable chest protectors cushion trunks from crossfire, and disposable camo cuts down on the time players spend fusing their DNA with that of a tree. Although the field is generally first-come, first-serve, the staff can prepare for parties of 10 or more with an advanced reservation.
High-school social-studies teacher Anthony Pennino Sr. played his first round of paintball in 1985. By the following year Tony had gathered 20–30 friends and kin for paintball bouts on his family's private land. As demand for paintball guns and safety gear grew among his brigade of marksmen, he converted his basement into a makeshift store, supplying paintball accoutrement from home until moving into a storefront in 1990. Within two decades Tony and his clan formed the lauded paintball team the New York Dogs, opened their own indoor arena, and eventually combined that arena with their largest store yet.
That facility forms the backbone of Island Paintball, where a sports turf field hosts Model 98–brandishing players. In between games, players can watch other contests from behind the staging area's Plexiglas viewing windows or browse Island Paintball Supplies' gun wall and 12 massive showcases of paintball gear. An in-house gunsmith repairs any malfunctioning guns, which patrons can wield at open-play sessions and private parties.
Obnoxious Paintball offers 25,000 square feet of indoor, climate-controlled splatter heaven, with an X-Ball field (110'x125') equipped with labyrinths of inflatable rubber bunkers for strategy and shelter. Chromatic warriors brandish the exclusive, all-metal Planet Eclipse ETEK3 AM paintball gun, its compressed air tank rapidly ejecting a barrage of kaleidoscopic paint spheres that eliminate opponents from the game after transforming each one into a flesh-and-blood Jackson Pollock piece. Players can bring their own artistic armor or rent masks and chest protectors for $5 each.
The Survival Race’s 5-kilometer track challenges racers to navigate a gauntlet of mud-laden terrain. Staggered waves of 300 runners each conquer military-style obstacles, wade through murky water, and slide through muddy trenches before reaching the finish line to celebrate at a shindig awash with delicious eats and smitten swamp monsters. Afterward, a Facebook album aids online nostalgia by showcasing dirt-caked athletes and their marshy feats.
Since 1978, families have flocked to Five Towns Mini Golf & Batting Range for a day filled with raucous fun. On the mini-golf course, they traipse through well-manicured greenery, wielding putters as they strive for holes-in-one. A circular batting range offers 10 different cages including machines that chuck softballs and baseballs at varying speeds, with a special wiffle-ball cage dedicated to little ones and people made of glass. Armed with paintball markers, players take aim at black-hatted villains in the Wild West–themed arena, then further train their eyes and hands in the arcade.
Actor Jamie Hector has made a career playing bad guys: drug lord Marlo Stanfield on The Wire, criminal Benjamin “Knox” Washington in Heroes, and villain Lincoln DeNeuf in Max Payne. The real-life Jamie, however, has a much different agenda. As one of the three founders of Moving Mountains, he draws New York’s inner-city youth off the streets and into the theater in order to steer them away from negative influences, such as bullying, gangs, violence, and substance abuse. He and his team of industry mentors cultivate an ensemble of young performers, musicians, and writers who create original plays and short films that delve deep into their age group’s social issues while spreading strong positive messages. In Moving Mountains’ film studio, mentors train budding directors, photographers, and technicians to create and promote short films and promotional artwork with the aid of industry-standard equipment. The mentors and their most senior students also tackle social problems at the source by traveling to city schools to educate audiences on topics including bullying, sexting, and how to make good choices in education and personal relationships.