“All Things Must Pass”
I’m sad to report that Punk Rope’s Monday night run of 12+ years at the 14th St Y has come to an end. While nothing lasts forever, it’s still a difficult pill to swallow.
But we continue to hold our heads and ropes high and we’re going to celebrate rather than sulk. After all, this was an incredible run for a fitness class that nobody thought would last 12 weeks at the Y let alone 12 years. In a world where things come and go in the blink of an eye, 12 years is an eternity. For example, only 9 shows in the history of Broadway lasted that long and 8 of those sucked and the 9th was just so-so.
By my estimation, Shana and I (plus a few other instructors), taught over 600 Punk Rope classes at the 14th St Y. We shared close to 8,000 songs by several hundred bands and created more than 50 themed classes. We also raised funds for numerous charitable organizations as well as for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and Typhoon Haiyan.
For many years we held monthly happy hours at Otto’s Shrunken Head where by all accounts we had the best happy hour deal in the city. For extra credit, can anyone name all the other bars where we held happy hours on Monday night? It’s a long-ass list.
And while we have no idea how many folks attended our classes over the years, to be honest the numbers never mattered that much. For us, it was quality over quantity. My friend Antonino D’Ambrosio espoused the “1 or 1000” philosophy that Shana and I did our best to embrace. Whether you’re teaching 1 student or 1000 makes no difference, Antonino would say. You need to show up with the same energy, enthusiasm, and passion regardless of the size of the audience. I’m not sure we were always successful, but we sure tried.
While there were so many memorable Punk Rope classes and events associated with the 14th St Y over the years (see photos below), all of that pales in comparison to the friendships made as a result of connecting before, during, or after Punk Rope. The community we all built was a perfect example of what can happen when folks sweat together and play together. What a beautiful thing to behold! So THANK YOU all for making that happen. I feel so lucky and blessed to have been a part of it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to the 14th St Y, and especially to Mike Meehan, for believing in Punk Rope all these years. Our hope is that another opportunity will arise at the Y that will allow us to bring the class back. And actually, it already has! We’ll be doing 3 Punk Rope pop-up classes at the Y: on Aug 21, Oct 30, and Dec 4.
And then there’s Shana! Yesterday was her birthday. For most of the 600 or so classes we co-taught at the 14th St Y, Shana was a VOLUNTEER. The class would never have lasted 12 years without her. When you see her next please give her a big hug and a warm thank you. And while you’re at it give hugs to everyone who made Punk Rope on Monday nights so special, from the folks who helped out behind the scenes—Heather, Cynthia, Nell, Camille, Susan—to the long-time Monday super students like Howard, Brendan, Erin, Andrea, Lyana, Cheryl, Rich, Shawnette, Jacqueline, Thomas, and the list goes on and on.
To be clear, we’re not giving up. Punk Rope is far from dead. Shana will continue teaching Punk Rope outdoors on Monday evenings through August. Email email@example.com for details on the July 17, 24, 31 classes. And we’re actively looking for other venues that might want to host a class. Please share any ideas you might have.
And Heather’s Wednesday evening class at the Greenpoint Y is still going strong so why not take the short trip across the river while the L is still running? She’d love to have you and your first 3 classes are free if you’re not a member of the Greenpoint Y. Also, as I type, we’re overhauling our website with an eye toward the next 12 years. While I can’t make any promises, don’t be surprised if you see me back in NYC for good come 2018.
I’m going to leave you with a VERY SPECIAL REQUEST. As most of you know I lost my mom in December of last year. It still feels like yesterday and while I know the healing process is going to take a long time, there’s one thing you can do to help me probably more than you realize: participate in this year’s Punk Rope Games on Saturday, September 23. Can you do that for me? It will mean so much to me and my family. This year’s Games are a memorial to my mom and a fundraiser for the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire where my mom volunteered for many years and where she put smiles on the faces of countless kids. Thanks for considering. To register just email firstname.lastname@example.org.