Sunday, March 4, 2012

A weekend in NYC and visiting with NYPK

After a few days at home I headed to New York City for my family’s annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage to the Big Apple.  As I had been anxious for a chance to check out the parkour scene there, I decided to leave a few days early to explore a bit before my family arrived.

After some facebook networking I managed to get a hold of some of the guys involved with NYPK and ended up meeting them at the Tompkins Square Park.  The park includes one of the classic playgrounds that has become well-known around the world via the internet due to groups like the “Bar-barians” and "Bar Starz".

These playgrounds seem to be much more popular in NYC than other American cities.

While comparably spartan to many of the newer playgrounds with lots of stupid plastic bits, they offer much more room for creativity and exploration...

.... and are a traceur's dream for training.

The playground also works as a great place to train parkour.  After training in the park for a while we headed to a new spot where the training became a bit more focused.  After spending most of the afternoon training we went to grab food and ice cream and I even managed to pick up a pair of Feivues in Chinatown for $25 (a review of their performance to come later).

Another great spot from the afternoon training session.

Lots of variety to keep us occupied for a few hours.

One of the great things about my visit to NYC was that I was able to meet a number of the guys from NYPK, an organization that has existed since 2005 and was involved in the early evolution of the sport in the USA.  I spent a lot of time talking with Exo, one of the original members of NYPK who helps to manage the organization today.  NYPK is one of the larger parkour organizations on the East Coast, and in addition to its claim to fame as one of the first American parkour groups, it remains a great networking and training tool for traceurs in the state.  Along with Exo, I met a number of other members of NYPK and traceurs from the area.  Not only was I was impressed by the level of skill that some of them had. but also be the training philosophies and ideas that I heard expressed throughout the day.
After talking for a while I hopped in to the first part of one of the NYPK training sessions before my bus back to Boston.  While the intensity level and efficiency of the training wasn’t quite the same as what I’d become used to in the UK, a lot of the exercises were very familiar and the participants seemed to really enjoy the classes.

The warm-up. 

The Empire State building in the skyline.

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