We're honored to #TBT with this feature from Manhattan Sideways! Join us to celebrate local businesses in Chelsea with the Greater Village/Chelsea Chamber of Commerce as we host the Opening Reception of Manhattan Sideways' Photographic Stroll Through the Sidestreets of Chelsea, this Friday April 20th from 5-8pm! With a wine-tasting and small plates courtesy of 7 fab food finds, you won't want to miss this!
Jared Kaplan strongly believes that while how you work out is important, where you work out is equally – if not more – important. This is why he created Studio 26, a lovingly-designed gym with a clean and refreshing ambience, filled with plant life and eco-friendly equipment. Jared calls himself a “native New York City boy.” He worked for many years as a dancer before becoming a pilates instructor and personal trainer, a shift that he said “evolved organically.” After many years of training and studying his body, it was only natural to take that training into a health and wellness field. For many of his years as a dancer, Jared prided himself on having never been to a gym. However, after an injury, a physical therapist referred him to Pilates. His exploration of physical training continued when he got involved in more demanding choreography, which required him to do weight training at the gym. He eventually became an instructor, working at studios throughout New York. When Jared retired from dancing, he redirected his creative spirit into establishing Studio 26, his own space. Chelsea seemed like the perfect place, both because Jared’s client base was there and because people choose gyms and studios based on a sense of community – and he saw Chelsea as an amazing, vibrant neighborhood. It also helps that the Highline is nearby, a space designed using the same principles that Jared holds dear. Upon walking into Studio 26, which was built in 2010 and expanded in 2016, the first thing I noticed was the amount of natural light and the plant wall mounted behind the receptionist’s desk. Jared believes strongly in having plant-life in the workspace in order to provide “a psychological and aesthetic trigger for wellness.” His green thumb started in high school when he took a job with a landscape designer in order to get out of the city and “see nature.” The specific idea for the green wall, however, was inspired by Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, and from the work of Patrick Blanc, father of the modern green wall. The result is a unique, comforting space in the middle of Manhattan. Jared was pleased that even a few years after opening, “People still walk in and feel like they’ve discovered something. Their mouths go ‘wow.’” In addition to the calming and beautiful environment that Jared has created, Studio 26 stands out because it is composed of a network of independent instructors with equally independent clients. There are no members and each instructor is free to manage their own schedule and style. The studio provides a support system and helps each trainer with the business side of things, but otherwise keeps things simple. As Jared put it, “We’re taking the pressure off and giving fitness professionals a platform to develop relationships.” These strong relationships are not only formed between instructors and clients, but between the team members at Studio 26. Jared has a lot of faith in everyone who works at the studio, which includes physical therapists, massage therapists, pilates and personal trainers. Even though I spoke to Jared only a short time after he had expanded Studio 26, in the summer of 2016, he was already looking to the future. He said that the endless possibilities available to him are what let him sleep at night. “I’m really excited for what we haven’t gotten to yet.”