Co-founded in 1994 by former number one middleweight boxer, Michael Olajide, and Leila Fazel, a former ballerina, Aerospace claims to offer “a revolutionary new fitness that engages body, mind, and spirit.” Leila explained that the Aerospace workout is “revolutionary” in two ways: first, it does not involve any machines, and second, it has its foundation in athlete-level boxing to engage cardio, muscle endurance, and core strength. The company has its own boxing ring and jump rope line.
We had the pleasure of seeing Michael, who lost vision in one of his eyes in the early 1990s, guide a student through some boxing combinations as part of the Aerospace workout. Although Michael and Leila intend to maintain the “authenticity of boxing” in their program, Aerospace is open to everyone, with or without boxing experience. While some learn to hit bags on the second floor, others in a more advanced program spar in the boxing ring on the first floor. Leila also runs a workout that combines shadow boxing with ballet.
Prior to attending a class at Row House on 23rd Street, Jenna's rowing experience consisted of futzing around on her gym’s machine and barely breaking a sweat. After one class, she told me that she now knows how to properly use a row machine, how to make the most out of her time on it, and how to have fun doing it. The studio, conveniently located less than a block from the C, E, and 1 trains, is sporty, chic, and comfortable. Free lockers are available, towels are provided, filtered water is ready to be streamed into a rower’s reusable bottle, and plastic bottles are available for purchase, just in case. Construction was completed to accommodate its fall of 2015 opening, so the bathrooms and showers are pristine and the work-out room is decked out with strong air-conditioning, a sound system, and, most importantly, brand new rowing machines begging to be used. (Jenna said that she noticed that when the machines are in full swing, they actually sound a bit like paddles in water, which made for a relaxing, meditative experience, something she did not expect from such an intense work out. ) In the spring of 2016, the space’s back patio will be available for pre or post-class stretching, relaxation, and sunning. Jenna's instructor, Gretchen - who also teaches at Row House’s other two locations - was confident, skilled, and helpful. She coached everyone on proper form and what all the numbers on the machine’s screens meant. After about fifteen minutes on the row machine, Gretchen had the class on their feet, doing squats, lunges, planks, and a few other muscle building moves. Then it was back to the machine for more rowing, followed by a cool down session of stretching. All in all, Jenna felt like the forty-five minute class gave her a full work out, hit muscles she might not have normally paid much attention to, and was varied enough to keep her interested. Gretchen’s music choices and very positive attitude did not hurt either. Needless to say, I was thrilled that a member of the Manhattan Sideways team got to discover this new form of exercise and I have no doubt that Jenna will return, as it is only a few steps from where she lives.
Jared Kaplan strongly believes that while how you work out is important, where you work out is equally – if not more – important. This is why he created Arrive (formerly Studio 26), a lovingly-designed gym with a clean and refreshing ambience, filled with plant life and eco-friendly equipment. Jared calls himself a “native New York City boy. ” He worked for many years as a dancer before becoming a pilates instructor and personal trainer, a shift that he said “evolved organically. ” After many years of training and studying his body, it was only natural to take that training into a health and wellness field. For many of his years as a dancer, Jared prided himself on having never been to a gym. However, after an injury, a physical therapist referred him to Pilates. His exploration of physical training continued when he got involved in more demanding choreography, which required him to do weight training at the gym. He eventually became an instructor, working at studios throughout New York. When Jared retired from dancing, he redirected his creative spirit into establishing Arrive, his own space. Chelsea seemed like the perfect place, both because Jared’s client base was there and because people choose gyms and studios based on a sense of community – and he saw Chelsea as an amazing, vibrant neighborhood. It also helps that the Highline is nearby, a space designed using the same principles that Jared holds dear. Upon walking into Arrive, which was built in 2010 and expanded in 2016, the first thing I noticed was the amount of natural light and the plant wall mounted behind the receptionist’s desk. Jared believes strongly in having plant-life in the workspace in order to provide “a psychological and aesthetic trigger for wellness. ” His green thumb started in high school when he took a job with a landscape designer in order to get out of the city and “see nature. ” The specific idea for the green wall, however, was inspired by Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, and from the work of Patrick Blanc, father of the modern green wall. The result is a unique, comforting space in the middle of Manhattan. Jared was pleased that even a few years after opening, “People still walk in and feel like they’ve discovered something. Their mouths go ‘wow. ’”In addition to the calming and beautiful environment that Jared has created, Arrive stands out because it is composed of a network of independent instructors with equally independent clients. There are no members and each instructor is free to manage their own schedule and style. The studio provides a support system and helps each trainer with the business side of things, but otherwise keeps things simple. As Jared put it, “We’re taking the pressure off and giving fitness professionals a platform to develop relationships. ” These strong relationships are not only formed between instructors and clients, but between the team members at Arrive. Jared has a lot of faith in everyone who works at the studio, which includes physical therapists, massage therapists, pilates and personal trainers. Even though I spoke to Jared only a short time after he had expanded Arrive, in the summer of 2016, he was already looking to the future. He said that the endless possibilities available to him are what let him sleep at night. “I’m really excited for what we haven’t gotten to yet. ”
“By accident, ” answered Olga Blanco when I asked her how she got her start in the printing business. Her husband started Nobel Printing in 1979, and Olga took over a short while later when he became ill. “I learned and I kept going, ” she smiled, remembering a time when the business was new to her. She, in turn, has taught her son, who works for a printing company in Florida. Olga shared with me that when her son's business decided to use the traditional printing press in an effort to distinguish themselves from others, his knowledge of the machine lead to a promotion. “No one else knows how to use these, ” she gushed, “so they increased his pay. ”Originally from Columbia, Olga journeyed to the States in 1969 at the age of seventeen. Since living here, she has seen a lot of changes, many of which have had an negative impact on her custom printing company. “Everything is digital these days, ” she rationalized, "And everyone thinks they are a designer. ” With so many people in possession of a computer and the means to make their own digital copies, her fears are not unwarranted. Topped off with rising rents, Olga is not sure her business will operate for longer than a few more years. Indeed, she has seen many others pushed out of the neighborhood for similar reasons. “The real estate business is hungry for money, ” she said, shaking her head. Despite the obstacles, Olga remains quite confident in the product, itself. She happily deals solely in custom printing, taking on any job no matter the size and “creating something beautiful. ” When I visited in the summer of 2016, Olga was working on a wedding order of 2000 invites and could not conceal her passion for the project. She showed me her early drafts, pulling out the quality card stock and brushing her fingertips over a soft design that depicted a tree just in bloom. There is no replacement for “that human touch. ”
Jon Eisen is not only one of the partners of Between the Bread and its director of strategic growth, but he is also heir to one of the pioneers of the venture, which has delivered sandwiches to office workers since 1979. Ricky Eisen, Jon’s mother and the company’s president - who was born on the outskirts of Tel Aviv - decided to use large-scale catering to bring healthy meals to her clients in a more efficient way. Jon claims that the result was the first catering company in New York City. Ricky’s idea to use only healthy and local ingredients proved to be a pivotal moment in the way catering to corporate clients is done today. In 2013, Ricky put her son in charge of the retail and café side of the business, which up until that point had been secondary to catering. Recognizing the recent popular trend of eating healthy and local, Jon quickly began streamlining the production process, including installing digital cash registers to track customer orders. This lead to a doubling of revenue. His success prompted Ricky to name him partner in 2015. Despite these changes, the core of the business is still the same: using organic, fresh, and seasonal to serve “high quality meals. ” And to hear it from Jon and the head of brand strategy, Victoria Rolandelli, this core seems to resonate well with customers. Between the Bread opened two more locations in October 2015 and has plans to have a total of twelve locations throughout the city. Located in the Chelsea Terminal Warehouse, the 27th Street Between the Bread is in a massive space that was previously an unloading station for trains. In the not-too-distant future, once Hudson Yards is complete, it is Jon's hope that they will become the "new Chelsea Market. "
Originally constructed in 1905, this building became the home of the beloved Gershwin Hotel in 1992. In 2014, Triumph Hotels took over the space and invested a good deal in renovations, renaming it The Evelyn. As an homage to building’s artful and musical past, the guest rooms feature music note-tiled bathrooms, trombone-shaped chandeliers, and decorations inspired by the Art Nouveau style of the 1900s.