Jessica Boiardi was exhausted. With a heart about to rip through her chest, and legs having all the stability of a rubber band, she stumbled off her stationary bike and took a deep breath. Blinded by sweat, she dried her face with a towel and smiled. “I feel great!” she declared.
Boiardi had just sampled an outdoor spinning demo on Lorimer Street. On a crystal-clear Saturday, September 15th, the Greenpoint Y held an open house and BBQ, featuring a special appearance from Radio Disney. From 12pm – 4pm, free 30-minute demo classes were offered inside and outside the Meserole Avenue branch, along with kid-friendly carnival games, face painting and arts and crafts. Representatives from TD Bank and Fresh Pond Physical Therapy were also on hand to greet their neighbors.
“It’s always nice when the Y can bring the community together in a fun event, especially the kids,” said Greenpoint Y Director of Fund Development and Communications Tatiana Terzuoli. “We put some demos outside so people could experience classes in a more relaxed atmosphere. You don’t feel like all the other people know what they’re doing and you can’t participate.”
“It was awesome being outside!” said Boiardi of her first spinning experience, an exercise usually done indoors. (Classes are held Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.) “I felt like I burned 600 calories. The teacher, Miriam [Alicea], was tough, but fantastic! I definitely recommend it.”
Another impressive demonstration was that of the Shotokan Karate class. Younger on-lookers were inspired when 12-year-old Hubert Kolodziej punched through wooden boards as though they were paper. But Y instructor Brian Singh quickly dispelled any notions of using Shotokan to become a fighting machine. “The main aim of any martial art is self-development and self-control,” he explained. “In training, you can reap all these benefits: confidence, discipline, and increased concentration, which helps kids with homework.”
Amid the classes, Radio Disney staff kept children active, playing their favorite music and organizing games centered on popular songs. Host Steve J West was indefatigable, buoyed by the positive energy of the neighborhood. “Disney Radio has a great relationship with the Y,” he said. “We love doing open houses like this because they bring so many people.”
Inside, whole families participated in cardio games and dances as well as chess and cooking demos. Participants joined a parent orientation and program presentation, getting to know Y staff and picking up a handy manual.
Kids also exercised their imagination. Laura Paddock, who teaches Family Art and Wonder on Thursdays, trained North Brooklyn’s younger artists in the techniques of Paul Klee and Joan Miro. “[Klee and Miro’s works] were created through the use of positive and negative space, and defining shapes through those scribbles.” For Paddock, teaching at the Y is not just a job. It’s her family heritage. “My parents met at a YMCA dance,” revealed the California transplant. Her 5-year-old son, Horatio Mottola, has practically grown up at the Greenpoint Y, living two blocks away from it.
“He’s a third-generation member,” Paddock smiled.
For information about classes at the Greenpoint Y, visit www.ymcanyc.org/greenpoint, or call (718) 389-3700.
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