New York: Day 2
Since I started practicing yoga in Montreal in March, I have tried to keep up with it as much as possible. Being on the road was no excuse not to continue my practice, so I did my best to locate a couple studios along the way.
In New York, my friend Katy had just started attending a place on St. Mark’s called Yoga to the People, which is a donation-based organization with locations in Seattle, Berkeley, San Francisco and two in New York city. They provide mats to rent for $2.00 and operate on a suggested donation of $10 a class. The classes are held in what appeared to be three floors of an apartment building. According to Katy, the group holds three classes simultaneously, one on each floor, and each class is filled to max before students are allowed on the next floor. All the classes are full all the time, so any latecomers are locked out. The class itself (or at least, the one I attended) was crowded (which is to be expected from a donation-only studio) and taught with a simplistic approach by a young (presumably volunteer) instructor. Though we did little more than several variations of Sun Salutations, I was exhausted by the end of the class. This instructor didn’t seem to believe in taking child’s pose. Downward-facing-dog was breaktime in her eyes. We also did very few floor poses, which made the cool down phase fairly short.
On the plus side, our instructor focused us on our breathing, and encouraged us to ignore any competitive drive we might be feeling and to instead center ourselves on the here and the now. She also had a stellar playlist filled with modern relaxing music – Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Rho, The Album Leaf, etc. If you are looking for a relaxing, non-competitive yoga environment for a next-to-nothing cost, you should definitely check out Yoga to the People. Just a note, though, if you prefer to use props during your practice (blankets, blocks, belts, etc) you will have to bring your own. They have one or two of each of these things, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get one in your class of 35.
Earlier in the weekend, I discovered that my Vancouver-dwelling sister was somehow going to be in the city on Saturday. Turns out her husband, who plays Major League Soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps, was playing a game against the New York Red Bulls that weekend. Shea, my brother-in-law, used to play for the Philadelphia Union, and my sister Julie planned to meet up with some friends in Philly, then to drive with everyone to NYC (or, more accurately, Jersey City) to watch the game.
I bribed my friend Katy with a free ticket to an MLS game and a chance to do something different, and we headed to the game after yoga. Unfortunately, we did not consider the fact that it was the weekend of the 10 year anniversary of September 11th and that we were taking the PATH train from the World Trade Center station. Needless to say, we were…quite late. We did manage to get there before the game was over, though and to participate in this lovely photo:
After the game, we hung out in Jersey City (whose apparent claim to fame is having more bars on one street than anywhere else on the East Coast…or something). And in case you’re wondering (which you were) everyone in Jersey City does look like they came off of Jersey Shore (think brightly colored silk dresses and bouffants that would do Snooki proud). The bars there are equally over-the-top and filled with rhinestones-on-your-jeans glitz. (Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to step away from the bedazzler).
The only redeeming factor of the bar where we went was how good (and cheap!) their “bar food” was. None of us had had dinner yet, and we got large chicken sandwiches and other meals for less than $10 apiece. [Insert Jersey Shore food joke here]. Bottom line is, if you’re in NYC, party in NYC. If you’re in Jersey, take the all-night train to NYC, and party in NYC. Unless you’re looking to wear that bridesmaid’s dress a second time.