Trapeze School NY swings across the East River to Williamsburg

‘Brooklyn Is the Place to Be Right Now’

August 30, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
An instructor catches a student. Photo by TSNY Media and Events Coordinator Nolan McKew
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Drivers who frequent Manhattan’s West Side Highway may be accustomed to seeing people performing somersaults, rolls and flips high in the sky above Pier 40 at Trapeze School New York’s (TSNY) rooftop location.

TSNY, which opened in 2002, has become a staple of New York after being featured on an episode of the popular HBO series “Sex and the City.”

But after more than a decade in Manhattan, TSNY — much to the dismay of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda — has officially swung, swayed and sited itself across the East River in Brooklyn’s hippest hood: Williamsburg.

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“Brooklyn is the place to be right now,” said TSNY co-founder Dave Brown. “That’s where so many people live and where so many of our students live. It’s also the fourth largest city in the U.S. if you counted it as a city itself, so we’re looking for large population centers with young people; that’s the demographic.”

“There’s a lot of younger generations, young professionals out here who are interested in this type of experience, where it’s a new thing that they can try,” added TSNY Media and Events Coordinator Nolan McKew. “It’s a bit exotic while still being accessible, and the crowds that live in these neighborhoods are the perfect type to go after that.”

The expansion to 30 Tompkins Ave., financed by online lender OnDeck, comes from a desire for a year-round location since the school’s Manhattan branch is situated outside.

In addition to opening in Williamsburg, TSNY has divisions in Washington, D.C., Chicago and on the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California.

Trapeze, according to TSNY co-founder Anne Brown, lends itself as an escape from the daily stresses of life. The activity is not only cathartic, but also physically challenging.

“Trapeze is such an amazing experience,” said Anne. “Once you try it, it’s life changing for a lot of people. It impacts your whole life because you realize you can do things that you never thought you could do before … and then there are all these cool people who you’re interacting with, and it really can have a profound effect on your life.”

TSNY is renowned for breeding talented trapeze artists. Several of the school’s instructors and students have gone on to pursue the sport professionally, including performing in Cirque du Soleil, the Ringling Bros. Circus and the Moscow Circus.

The Browns serendipitously fell in love with the sport in 2000 after taking part in a flying trapeze lesson on vacation at Club Med.

“We went to Club Med and took a trampoline class and looked over and saw the flying trapeze rigs and I said, ‘Why don’t we try that this afternoon?’” said Dave. “I took one swing, came down and said ‘Why isn’t this everywhere?’ Normal everyday people can do this amazing activity.”

From that moment on, the couple was hooked, and they knew they wanted to turn their passion for the sport into a business. The Browns left their careers as scientists working in molecular biology and toxicology to run TSNY.

“In 2002, when we opened the school, we didn’t know if anyone would come,” said Dave. “We were in Hudson Park handing out brochures and no one would take them. We thought, ‘this is going to be a failure.’

“We opened on July 10, and by July 13, there was a picture of us on the front page of The New York Times, and it just took off. And then it really took off in 2003 when ‘Sex in the City’ came in and they did their episode here, and then it just went ballistic. It took off from there and we never looked back. It was phenomenally successful.”

The school’s Brooklyn location has classes for all skill levels Wednesday through Sunday, two to four times a day, and is offering 20 percent off each customer’s first class.

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For class schedules and more information on TSNY, visit newyork.trapezeschool.com.


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