Hipsters? Exercise? Cognitive dissonance!
Observed in their natural habitat, one might conclude the beloved New York hipster maintains his or her waif-like shape through a steady diet of cigarettes and cocaine. But don’t be deceived! Like anything else a hipster does, a nose-candy-slim physique is carefully cultivated. Some prefer simply not eating as opposed to burning calories—precious time during which one could be spent brooding and posturing—but the smarter ones realize that all the time spent updating one’s blog slows the metabolism.
Yes, despite what you may think, even hipsters work out—but never to build muscle mass (they are called skinny jeans, after all). Fortunately, New York City is ground zero for our Urban Outfitt-ed brethren, and exercise regimens are available accordingly. Though McCarren Pool is in the midst of renovations at present, these days an exercise class is just as good as a secret Vivian Girls show for seeking out the coolest kids in town. And whether you’ve got a resolution to drop weight or not, these are the classes to hit.
Where: Greenpoint YMCA, 99 Meserole Ave. (betw. Lorimer St. & Manhattan Ave.), Brooklyn, 718-389-3700
When: Wednesdays at 7:30.
Who: A jump rope class set to—duh—punk rock, Punk Rope allows hipsters to accomplish two goals at once: burn off last night’s PBRs and sneer at another’s pedestrian music tastes. The class consists mostly of squats, lunges, reaches and sprints, and plays everything from punk, ska and hip-hop to indie rock, jazz and zydeco. You bring your (vintage and not truly designed for athletic use) sneakers and enthusiasm, they provide the ropes. (Punk Rope is also offered at the 14th Street Y and NYU’s Palladium Athletic Center for students, staff and alumni.)
Why: Everyone knows hipsters aren’t happy unless they’re making a nod to their privileged childhoods wearing Strawberry Shortcake barrettes or dominating at PacMan. Jump ropes are the next logical step.
Where: Crunch Fitness, 330 Flatbush Ave. (at Sterling Pl.), Brooklyn, 718-783-5152
When: Introductory Pole Dancing, beginner to intermediate level, on Wednesdays at 7:15, and Turning Tricks (advanced class) on Saturdays at 4:45.
Who: Mostly twenty- and thirty-something women, including a “mom-and-daughter duo,” says instructor Taj Harris, and those looking to fill out Cheap Monday jeans and flannel shirts with an extra something special.
Why: With the economy in the shitter, the ability to backbend on the pole might be more useful to keep a hipster in American Apparel rather than that silly comp lit degree. But don’t strut in wearing your sassy stripper heels, expecting to vamp like Lindsay Lohan in I Know Who Killed Me. Harris says patience is more important than coming to class in appropriate workout attire. “You can’t come in with this competitive spirit that you’re going to get this as soon as you walk in,” Harris says. But patience—and lots of abdominal crunches—will pay off.
“There are some girls in the strip clubs that can’t do things that I know girls in my class can,” Harris notes. In time, you’ll learn not only the fireman spin and the sunbeam spin but also “sassiness, doing body rolls, touching your hair, popping your butt.” And if that doesn’t make you the most popular girl at the next DFA party, nothing will. (Pole-dancing classes are also offered at Crunch’s Union Square, Wall Street, W. 83rd Street and E. 59th Street/ locations.)
Yoga To The People
Where: 12 St. Marks Pl. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), 917-573-9642
When: Classes are offered daily.
Who: “Pretty young, generally more downtown-y. A lot of actresses, a lot of Tisch kids,” says a student.
Why: Beat it, Christy Turlington. This yoga’s for very calm, very flexible cheapos. With a suggested donation of $10 per class, Yoga To The People’s classes can get incredibly crowded. Located a PBR can’s throw away from NYU, the classes specialize exclusively in Power Vinyasa Flow. “I have a friend who used to do [YTTP] and now does Bikram, and I’m like, ‘Come on! That’s total corporate crap!’” griped Brooklynite Nick Rizzo, 23. This young hipster appreciates the no-muss, no-fuss atmosphere at YTTP; the studio never reveals which instructor will be teaching which class to discourage clique-ishness. YTTP also stresses the classes are not a fashion show—which might prove difficult for those who view yoga as a chance to show off Stella McCartney for Adidas duds. “The[se] are not awful yoga people, and it works for me,” Rizzo reports.
Circle Rules Football
Where: Prospect Park (enter park at Grand Army Plaza), satellite game
When: Sundays at 2.
Who: Initially it was recent NYU grads and their friends, but lately random people in the park join in.
Why: Hipsters don’t need your bourgeois, establishment exercise crap. And that’s why in the warmer months, a handful of them take to Prospect Park once a week to throw a yoga ball around in the air for a made-up game called “Circle Rules Football.”
The game’s inventor, an actor named Greg Manley, came up with the new sport as a senior year project for the experimental theater wing at Tisch.
“What’s the best audience I can think of?” Manley says he asked himself. “I thought of sports audiences because they’re just so much more lively and devoted to the sports.”
In the game, two teams both try to carry a yoga ball inside a circle, coming at it from opposing sides. The team to make inside first wins. The best part? It’s free. But don’t underestimate the traditionally weak drama geeks. “There’s a lot of contact in it! I’m always very sore after playing,” warns veteran player Adam Raymond. “It doesn’t help that it’s my only weekly physical exertion.”
Tags: Healthy Manhattan
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