Experience History at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

S1052218Visiting the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was a very different experience for me.  When I stepped onto Hangar 1 of the Intrepid, I felt the significance of where I was.  People lived, fought for our country and even died aboard this immense aircraft carrier.  For those who worked on board the Intrepid, the everyday comforts that most of us often take for granted are an afterthought to the mission at hand and the efforts to make extremely dangerous tasks go on without a hitch.  I could sense the blood, sweat and tears of the past inhabitants throughout my tour of the historical vessels I was able to explore firsthand with my admission ticket.

I went with a group and was very thankful for the private tour we had signed up for.  I learned quite a bit from our knowledgeable tour guide and I feel like I would have missed a lot of information had I not gone through the tour first.  There is so much to see that you most likely need more than one visit in order to really look at everything in depth.  After our guided tour, I walked past the many magnificent planes and helicopters that are on view on the upper deck.  Then I ventured up to explore the control tower.  The museum really allows you to immerse yourself in the areas where people performed their daily tasks to make this immense vessel run.  You can climb the narrow stairs to see different levels of the rooms of operation and see all of the original controls.  It was quite impressive.

Also included in your admission ticket is a visit inside the U.S.S. Growler, which is the only intact strategic submarine that could fire nuclear missiles that is open to the public – anywhere in the world.  It was worth the wait to walk through the tight quarters of the sub and see the space people lived in as well as how the dangerous weapons were stored.   When I found out that people stayed in this vessel, often for 60 days at a time, without showers, I had immense appreciation for those who worked on this submarine to defend our country.

Also on view is the British Airways Concorde.  No longer in use, this jetliner has the capability to fly across the ocean in record time.   It has crossed the Atlantic in just under 3 hours.

Since this was my first visit to the Intrepid, I do not know how much has changed since the recent renovations were completed.  There was a kamikaze video show with lights, sound effects and real footage which I was told was one of the new improvements.   Everything is extremely well presented and ready for visitors to explore and learn.  There is a hands-on section of the museum that is a wonderful way to experience what it might have been like if you worked on the Intrepid.  I can definitely say that the Intrepid is worth the visit and will provide an eye opening view into history.  You can go to www.intrepidmuseum.org for all the details on getting tickets and planning your own visit.  The Intrepid is located at Pier 86 (46 St. and 12 Ave.) in Manhattan.

Everybody Jump!


Looking for an exhilarating and fun workout?  Then definitely try a trampoline class!  This past weekend, I went to Hollywood Stunts (located in the Bronx) to take a class and see what I could learn on the trampoline.  Since I cannot even remember the last time I was on a trampoline, I was not sure what to expect.  When I showed up, I must admit that I felt a bit intimidated by the large trampolines that were in front of me.  There were three rounded ones and a rectangular one that had a harness above it for more advanced lessons.

Our host and instructor, Brian, started by introducing himself to the class and we learned that he has had extensive experience performing stunts for movies, TV and outdoor shows.  After all the introductions were made, it was time to see what we were in for.  The school’s trampoline expert, Alex, got on the apparatus and started to teach us beginner techniques.  There is a lot of effort that must be made in order to maintain control while you are jumping.  While the rest of the class surrounded the trampoline, we each had a turn to jump and to attempt to mirror the techniques Alex had demonstrated for us.  I must say, he made everything look so effortless with his perfect form!  Some classmates were a little unsure of their balance and some took to it right away.

After everyone had a turn, it was time to divide our group of 15 among the rest of the trampolines (four people maximum for each one).  What you realize when you start jumping and working on improving your form, is how much work it really is.  Between the four people assigned to my trampoline, we each had plenty of time to jump and started to get pretty tired as the lesson went on.  However, it is so invigorating that you keep getting back on to work on your skills again and again. 

Once we mastered jumping straight with control it was time to try sitting down and returning to a standing bounce.  If you find success with that move then the next step is to work on twisting to sit in different directions while returning to a standing bounce in between.  Each person was able to learn at their own pace with the guidance of the instructors so it was a pressure free environment.  Many of us enjoyed our class so much that we decided to come back for future weekend sessions.  It really was tons of fun! 

In addition to offering trampoline classes, Hollywood Stunts is the place to go if you are interested in learning the art of performing stunts.  There was a high falling stunt class that started after ours which involved learning to jump from a really high platform that was set up on the premises.  When I first showed up to learn trampoline, I could not imagine myself wanting to learn to do that but after my trampoline experience I was definitely enthusiastic to try. 

Visit www.hollywoodstunts.com to find all the information about the stunt school and what they offer.  It is definitely worth the trip to the Bronx!  MMA is organizing groups to attend a trampoline class as one of their singles events so you can also sign up through them.

Feel the Beat!

I recently had one of those fun NYC nights where an expected quiet evening takes on a life of its own. I was at a local spot relaxing after a long day and a group conversation started up with a few people sitting at the bar. It turns out that two of the girls were waiting for their friend to arrive before they headed to a nearby dance studio for beginner Salsa lessons. They asked a couple of us to join them and before I knew it, I was on the dance floor ready to learn some Salsa.

Apparently this studio has an introductory lesson package available where you pay $20 for 2 half hour lessons. If you would like to sign up for instruction after the first lesson the rest of the amount is put towards your class package. Otherwise, you have 2 separate dance sessions.

What looked simple when the dance instructors demonstrated steps for our group, was a lot more complex when we tried to imitate their movements. During the two dance classes I took, I learned that I had quite a bit to work on before I would look effortless dancing the Salsa. However, I also discovered how much fun it is to seriously learn the technique and begin to really know what you are doing. Although I cannot afford or commit to a series of classes at this time, I definitely plan to keep learning. The studio owner will be setting up Saturday group sessions this summer and the studio will also hold Salsa events at local hot spots. That way you can keep learning and having fun as often as your schedule and finances permit.

The Martinez Dance Studio I went to is located in Astoria on 31st Street closest to the 30th Avenue subway stop. If you are interested in learning to dance, they are a great place to start! www.martinezdancestudios.com