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.”
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.
According to the staff at the front desk, cleverly known as “mood-lifters, ” Blink fitness offers a “clean and happy environment. ” That was certainly the general vibe I got from being there - the first man I saw gave me a high-five and everyone was all smiles. Owned by Equinox, Blink is strategically placed in accessible locations with prices that vary depending on income levels. The main idea behind Blink is that fitness should be for everybody because everybody blinks.
Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti had never been in the restaurant business. She was a law professor and he was in finance - both living in Italy. When a passion burns inside you, however, and a desire to live in NYC is so strong, why not change careers and pursue your dream? This is exactly what the dynamic duo chose to do. Working alongside Elizabeth Roberts, architect extraordinaire, the team created a space built for dramatic floral arrangements and an enchanting atmosphere for dining. Alessandra combined her love of flowers by integrating them into the restaurant's splendid cocktails, specialty dishes and magnificent displays. In 2019, their dream finally became a reality as they opened the doors of Il Florista on West 26th Street.
Crossroads Trading Company now has almost thirty locations around the United States, but even in Manhattan they keep their original relaxed Bay Area vibe. The company began in Berkeley in 1991 and has since become a hub for recycling both men and women's clothing with the goal of helping the environment and working to eliminate waste. Locals are welcome to come in and sell their gently used garments for cash or credit... and while there, hopefully browse for something
If one were to close their eyes and walk into Hill Country, there is no doubt that in an instant they would know what kind of food was being prepared. At Hill Country, they take their barbecue very seriously. The food is prepared in their very own custom meat-smoking room, and everything is done in the style of Central Texas barbecue. The atmosphere is kitschy and relaxed, with live American music most nights of the week.
When Ashley Van Goehring, Hotel Giraffe’s director of sales and marketing, led me up to the rooftop bar as part of a tour of the entire building, I did not expect to find such a quiet nook. Despite being in the middle of the busy Flatiron district, the patio’s height and warm red brick border meant that the sky-high courtyard is reasonably silent. It is also beautiful: every inch appeared to be carefully designed with hanging plants, potted shrubs, and striped deck furniture that hinted at the hotel’s name. There is even a metallic giraffe statue in the corner, named after owner, Henry Kallan's granddaughter, Jesse. The seasonal rooftop does not remain quiet at night. Though the garden is only open to guests during the day, at night it turns into a cocktail bar, run by Bread and Tulips, the restaurant attached to Hotel Giraffe. The tucked-away space is also attached to the hotel’s private event room, which has a little roof terrace of its own. Ashley told us that the room had been used as Big’s apartment in the Sex and the City movie, and pointed out the little details that can be seen in some of the film scenes. The small attached patio shows just as much care and attention to detail as the larger rooftop bar, with potted flowers and warm, giraffe-inspired colors. Staring out at the sunny view, Ashley turned to me and said, “It’s nice to be reminded that this city is not just the place where I live. It’s a magical place. ”
Whenever Rebecca, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, asked her glamorous college roommate from Arizona where she had bought whatever fabulous item of clothing she was wearing, the answer was always the same... Buffalo Exchange. Founded in 1974 by Kerstin Block in Arizona, it was one of the first used clothing shops to open in the country. The store offers its patrons a place to buy, sell, or trade second-hand garments so that they can find a new life in someone else's wardrobe. Today, Kerstin continues to run her company with the help of her daughter, Rebecca, and they have expanded to forty-seven stores nationwide. The company has maintained its funky, fun vibe and reasonable prices even as it has grown so large.