Hollywood Stunts in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, trains professionals in topics like “armed combat” and “window penetration” and features action movie posters with alumni on the walls, plus a collection of signed and singed jeans. So this is not the kind of place where you sign up for a cardio-sculpting hour then relax with a long, post-class shower (there are none of either).
But for all its rough-and-tumble energy, Hollywood Stunts is surprisingly welcoming to newcomers, women, and people who just want to have a few hours of slightly-bonkers, facing-your-fears fun. The studio offers two-hour open classes in rappelling, trampoline, gymnastics, and high falls. And it’s that last one that really gets your heart going. Think jumping off a tower—and landing.
Classes hold up to 10 students under the tutelage of three beefy, tattooed instructors. They start by asking which students are afraid of heights (none raised their hands when I tried it—so it was a brave crowd) and what experience you’ve had jumping off things (think skydiving, cliff diving, etc.—most in my class had tried something, and half of us flew trapeze). They go over the rules: Land flat on your back, go limp, and don’t brace yourself. Breathe, or else the wind will be knocked out of you. Have fun.
Then…you fall. Specifically, you take a few running steps, leap into the air, tuck into a cannonball, shoot your legs out, and land flat on your back on a stack of mats. It smarts a bit—especially if you’ve neglected any of the rules. (Try not to.)
Once everyone is comfortable with that, you move onto a five-story tower. Jumps start roughly eight feet above the airbag, which seems a lot, lot higher when you’re standing on the platform. The next few are from one level up (only more seasoned students go to the top levels)—it’s probably 15 feet above the airbag, but feels like Everest. The instructors give you an “all-clear!” and you shout “falling!”…then leap. Screaming and yelling are highly encouraged. Swearing might happen.
But when you land: exhilarating. —Ann Abel
Who it’s for: Adrenaline junkies, daredevils, and people looking to relax, let go, and take a leap in their lives—as long as you don’t have a history of whiplash or other injuries that might make it dangerous.
Hollywood Stunts, 73 West St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn, $80 per session, www.hollywoodstunts.com