With a barbed-wire fence as its backdrop, The Looney Bin Comedy Club, opened just last year, promises its patrons a night of cutting-to-the-core comedy provided by both up-and-coming and veteran stand-up comics. As giant portraits of Eddie Murphy, Dane Cook, and Don Rickles look on, you will exhaust your internal laugh-engine at any show, thanks to the funny-bone fuel of such glee-gas-pumpers as mirthful magic-maker Chipps Cooney, appearing on Saturday, October 30, or punch-line slinger Joseph Anthony, appearing on Saturday, November 6. As your eyes drink in the chill, relaxing vibes of the club's space, each ticket holder's taste buds will drink in two selections from The Looney Bin's bar, featuring adult libations such as Samuel Adams beers, long island iced teas, and Bloody Marys, able to lubricate vocal chords sore from constant chuckling.
With six handcrafted beers on tap and a full menu of delicious pub provisions, J.J. Bitting Brewing Company enrobes taste buds in warm, comfortable flavors. The Blazing Brewhouse wings ($5.95) perk up palates with a tangy zest that earned them the title of Best Hot Wings in Woodbridge by BestHotWings.com. Wrangle the Colorado burger's bison patty into hungry mouths aided by sautéed onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried-tomato pesto mayo ($7.95), or follow the delicate salmon steak's incredible journey through pan-searing and potato-breading before rousing it from snug beds of rice and fresh veggies ($15.95). Like the cool table in a high-school cafeteria, Bitting's homegrown pints ($4.50 each) stay popular with or without delicious food. The Garden State IPA balances appealing bitterness with a floral aroma, and the heavily roasted Black Jack Stout swoops up from cellars to slake any thirst in the house.
A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
Since its beginnings in 1980, Staten Island Fencing Club has developed the skills of collegiate athletes and Olympic hopefuls under the guidance of head coach and founder Steve Khinoy, a Johns Hopkins PhD with more than 30 years of coaching experience. In 2010, the club—once relegated to college cafeterias and church basements—took up permanent residence at Staten Island Fencing Center, a full-time facility as bright and spacious as the Man in the Moon's front yard, complete with fencing strips, an armory, and a pro shop. There, Dr. Khinoy cultivates an atmosphere of camaraderie, teaching both novice and advanced swordsmen to master the Olympic and NCAA sport's triumvirate of blades: foils, sabers, and épées.
Beyond the center's one-hour introductory lessons, regular courses stretch for several weeks, during which competitors learn the strategies and fancy footwork necessary to best opponents on the piste and during freestyle dance contests. Summertime day camps and clinics sharpen slashing technique with five hours of daily instruction that include warm-ups, basic drills, and individual lessons. The staff also hosts parties for birthdays or other celebrations, in which guests practice the art of dueling amid cake, refreshments, and bouquets of colorful balloons shrieking in terror.
The teachers of Dance Factory lead students of all levels through ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop, acrobatics, pointe, and contemporary dance instruction during their year-round sessions. In addition to teaching students the proper technical skills, the instructors seek to instill good habits and character traits in their students.
Fifteen thousand square feet of colorful training equipment beckons to be tumbled upon. That's where the dedicated staff comes in, working with students of all skill levels to build confidence and coordination through gymnastics programs. With classes designed for students between 18 months and 18 years old, gymnastics programs provide a well-rounded curriculum that helps motivate students while honing concentration and basic motor movements.
Classes for tots and kindergarten-age students include practice on obstacle courses, trampolines, balance beams, and tumble tracks. Girls and boys older than 5 1/2 years learn fun and challenging exercises while climbing rock walls, swinging on uneven bars, and attempting to bridle wild pommel horses. Sunburst Gymnastics also offers competitive programs, in which students train for state, regional, and national events.