Spanning the eastern shores of the U.S. from New York to Florida, Scuba Network’s staff has overseen thousands of completed scuba certifications throughout its eight locations. Group NAUI certification courses keep learning to dive simple with a three-step process that includes online academic training, pool sessions, and open-water dives with sharks that have had their teeth removed by a dentist. Staffers supplement dives with know-how on equipment, from masks and snorkels to underwater cameras.
Home to the state's largest freestanding bouldering island, New Jersey Rock Gym houses 12,000 square feet of vertical terrain to climb as well as 41 top roping stations. Armed with either day passes or membership, guests scamper up the gym's synthetic summits, hoping to ask questions of the learned ceiling light sequestered at the top of the mountain. While gear is included with some membership options, guests can opt to bring their own materials or rent the individual shoes ($5), harnesses ($4), or chalk bags ($2) they need from the pro shop. New Jersey Rock Gym offers a collection of educational course work in the vertical arts, teaching belay technique to beginners or advanced skills to adults. Children can also take advantage of youth climbing programs, mini camps, and birthday parties before retiring to private refreshment chambers to absorb bottles of electrolyte-infused refreshment. The nearby pro shop outfits climbers with name-brand gear for purchase, while a WiFi lounge transmits terabytes of data into nearby electronic devices or unsecured cyborg brains.
Like leaves on a tree, Dragonfly Farms changes color with the seasons. Owners Patrick and Judy Lapide transform their show rooms to highlight new plants and flowers, home furnishings, and gardening supplies, applying vivid coats of paint and themed backdrops to complement their wares. In addition to greenery and home decor, they offer winemaking supplies and equipment—rendering fermented sips more easily than stomping on beaded fruit.
Once the chopper lifts off from the Hook Pier Heliport and rises above New York Harbor, the Big Apple's sprawling metropolis fills passengers' sightlines. Rotors spinning, the copter flies past the Statue of Liberty and toward the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and other looming examples of urban architecture. During these tours, sightseers sit comfortably within one of the company's five Bell 407 helicopters, which boast giant windows and enough legroom to roundhouse kick roving bands of skydivers looking to freeload their way onto the aircraft. The helicopter pilots also charter their aircraft on trips to cities including Boston and Atlantic City.
Seasoned instructors lead children and adults through the jabs, blocks, and kicks of traditional and Olympic style Taekwondo, as well as helm select fitness classes. In addition to teaching students how to defend themselves against attackers and hostile pinewood boards, they work to boost their self-confidence, discipline, and concentration during classes designated by belt level.
In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.