ST instructor launches fitness class at Otto’s

Tim Haft leads a MoshFit class at Otto’s Shrunken Head’s concert space. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Tim Haft leads a MoshFit class at Otto’s Shrunken Head’s concert space. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Personal trainer Tim Haft has come up with a solution for New Yorkers who are already dreading the drudgery of the gym memberships from their New Year’s resolutions with a new class called MoshFit.

Haft is no stranger to unconventional fitness classes (or the use of puns for creative class names) as the founder of Punk Rope, which is held at the 14th Street Y every Monday. But MoshFit takes the casual nature of Punk Rope, which he describes as a “throwback to recess,” and puts it in the back room of Otto’s Shrunken Head, one of the last tiki bars in the East Village and in a space that is normally used for concerts.

And in case you forgot you were exercising in a bar, Haft said that MoshFitters can reward themselves afterwards at happy hour, with $4 draft beers.

“You don’t usually see a fitness class in a bar,” Haft admitted, “but I know the space and I know the crowd. It’s very rock and roll but it’s also the East Village so I thought that could work.”

Aside from the location, the class itself will also have a “rock and roll” feel, since the music playing will be less like the top-40 tracks normally found at a gym and more punk rock, ska, metal and other related genres. The workout itself will combine creative and traditional calisthenics, as well as partner and group conditioning drills designed to improve stamina, agility, balance and strength.

Haft isn’t worried about having enough room for all the people who want to participate, because he noted that about 50 people were able to fit into the back room for a previous event. But if it does become a tight squeeze, he wouldn’t mind that so much.

“If it becomes a huge hit, then that’s a nice problem to have,” he said.

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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bare floors create worse noise in converted apts.

Kudos to “Whatever happened to the carpet rule?”! (letter, T&V, Feb. 5)

I would like to add that when apartments are sub-divided and the dining area and another three feet becomes the new living room area and when there are several people in that area (as is often the case), the noise volume is exponentially increased because of the small enclosed space and the echo created when there is no carpeting.

It is sad and unfair that we (I am a lifelong tenant) are unable to enjoy peaceful days or nights in our apartments anymore. I am surrounded both next door and above, with new tenants who either stomp all of the time, drag furniture across the bedroom floor (between midnight and 3 a.m.) and/or who frequently have noisy company, in the “mini living area” during the day and late at night.  And I won’t even mention the constant loud slamming of the apartment doors!

In fairness, I have called security several times and they did speak to the offending tenants and remind them that they are supposed to have carpeting as well as that the noise level was unacceptable. One time, when the stomping and noise level did not abate, security retuned again and spoke with them. They also assured me that they would file the requisite reports.

Although I am a lifelong tenant, I have had several apartment inspections, which I was told were normal protocol – to verify that we did not put up an illegal wall, which we had not.

How are these other apartments not having the same inspection, including for carpeting?

Perhaps the solution is for management to inspect new tenant apartments for compliance and install commercial carpet remnants (cheap enough) when a violation of the carpeting rule is discovered. Since many tenants are transient, they are not motivated to comply with the rules, if there is no penalty imposed.

Name withheld, ST

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Pols cheer Fashion Week’s impact on city’s economy

Eric Gertler of the EDC, Polish Consul General Urszula Gacek, fashion designer Karolina Zmarlak, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, FIT president Dr. Joyce Brown and State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Eric Gertler of the EDC, Polish Consul General Urszula Gacek, fashion designer Karolina Zmarlak, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, FIT president Dr. Joyce Brown and State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Ahead of the beginning of New York’s spring Fashion Week today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney released a report with the Joint Economic Committee detailing the economic benefits of both Fashion Week and the fashion industry as a whole for the city. The report highlighted the $887 million economic impact of Fashion Week, which makes it one of the largest industries in New York.

Maloney presented the report at FIT while wearing a dark mauve-colored dress designed by Polish-born designer and FIT graduate Karolina Zmarlak, stepping out from behind the podium and giving a quick spin.

“It would look much better on a model I’m sure,” Maloney joked. “But the point is that it was made in New York.”

Zmarlak is the first Polish-born designer to be sold in a US luxury retailer with Saks Fifth Avenue and she was an early recipient from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Fashion Production Fund, a new program that was launched by EDC and provides bridge loans to fashion designers to assist them in moving their products to market.

Maloney said she was surprised by the economic impact that Fashion Week has on the city, noting that it had a higher impact than the US Open and the 2014 Super Bowl, and more than twice that of the New York City Marathon. The fashion industry employs over 180,000 people in the city, including 16,000 manufacturing jobs. Jobs in the industry are paying approximately $11 billion in wages, generating almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year.

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Stuy Town resident-owned gallery showing rare works by Dr. Seuss

Jeff Jaffe, who owns Pop International with wife Nanette, stands by one of the pieces in the exhibit. (Photo by Frances Sinkowitsch)

Jeff Jaffe, who owns Pop International with wife Nanette, stands by one of the pieces in the exhibit. (Photo by Frances Sinkowitsch)

By Sabina Mollot

When people think of Dr. Seuss, detailed oil paintings and taxidermy-inspired sculptures aren’t necessarily what come to mind. But the world-famous children’s book author and illustrator known for his whimsical creatures like Cat in the Hat and the Grinch did create other types of art, which he called his “midnight art.” And a number of those midnight art pieces are now part of an exhibit at a gallery in midtown owned by a Stuyvesant Town couple. The husband and wife team, Jeff Jaffe and Nanette Ross, own Pop International Galleries, which has two locations, the flagship in SoHo, and another in midtown’s Citicorp Building. The latter venue will be the site of the Seuss exhibit, called “The Cat Behind the Hat,” which will also feature some of the more well-known images from the artist’s beloved books.

Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, enjoyed a nearly seven-decade-long career and his midnight art, along with the other pieces, are being made available courtesy of his widow Audrey. This was in accordance with Seuss’s wishes that his secret works be shared with the public after his death. No originals will be available for sale but limited edition prints and artist proofs, which are museum quality, will be. Prices on the works range from $500-$35,000 depending on their rarity, and Jaffe, who spoke with Town & Village on Monday afternoon, said five pieces had already been sold that morning alone.

The exhibit, which opens today, Thursday, February 12, will run through the end of the month. It’s timed to coincide with Seuss’s birthday and the 25th anniversary of his last book, Oh the Places You’ll Go.

For Jaffe, the best part of the exhibit is the midnight art, since it shows a side of the artist that most of his fans have never seen.

“What’s great about his personal art is that he loved to do it more than anything,” Jaffe said. However, this is not to say Seuss didn’t enjoy the work he did for his children’s books. Rather than feel stifled as an artist by the illustrative style he was best known for, “he was quite humble that his books had such a profound effect.”

As for how he came to be known as Dr. Seuss, this was his mother’s maiden name “and she always wanted him to become a doctor,” said Jaffe. “That’s how he was. He had a diabolical sense of humor.”

Seuss’s style and the kinds of art he did evolved over the years. He did graphic art and advertising design in his early years and later on children’s books. He also did what he called “unorthodox taxidermy” pieces throughout his career though mostly early on, and ten of them will be on view at Pop International. Jaffe noted how the sculptures, in materials like resin, were fashioned from real bird bills and other parts from animals that had died that Seuss would get from his father who worked at a zoo. No actual animal parts are in the final art pieces, which have the artist’s distinctive style through details like googly eyes on a walrus. “They’re absolutely hilarious,” said Jaffe.

So far, the reaction to the exhibition has been, as expected, huge.

“We get avid, avid art collectors and we have people who just love Dr. Seuss,” said Jaffe. One illustration that’s been especially popular is “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains,” which is from the book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

“It’s the sort of thing you’d buy for a graduation,” said Jaffe. “It’s been really quite amazing to see the reaction and emotion.”

As the gallery’s name suggests, Pop International features works by pop artists from newcomers to the most well known like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. A show coming up at the SoHo location in March will feature five street artists with the focus on the Brazilian female artist Panmela Castro. Much of her work has had the theme of awareness of violence against women. Her works will be joined by works by four male artists in an exhibition titled, “We’ve Got Your Back, Girl.” The other artists are Dom, Pattinson, Chris Stain and Joe Ivato, and the show will be done in association with Creative Arts Works.

The Dr. Seuss exhibition will have its official opening at Pop International, 153 East 53rd Street (Citicorp building Atrium), with a reception taking place on February 12 from 5-8 p.m. To RSVP (required), call (917) 302-8404. A catalogue with prices can be requested online at popinternational.com.

Jaffe and Ross have owned the midtown gallery for two and a half years and the SoHo one at 473 West Broadway for 18 years. They’ve lived in Stuyvesant Town, where they’ve raised two children, for 25 years.