Hello! Hello this is it, this is the Bridge of Pilates. Hi. Hello. Thank you, look at this. All gold leaf and everything.
It's amazing. This is about as big as the view gets people, right here, no we're gonna go inside. It's so New York! I know I feel so lucky to have a storefront but as you can see I'm kind of at the edge of the world. Like there's not much around here. There's a few other business around here and that's it.
What is the neighborhood. This is called Vinegar Hill. Vinegar hill. And when you tell most New Yorkers, they're like what the hell are you talking about. We did tell a New Yorker and our Uber driver said that he was like.
So it's near DUMBO and that's sort of the hip happening part of town and that's this way. That's also where, I like to joke that's where civilization is, that's where the subway is. DUMBO is Disneyland. Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is the name of the neighborhood. Wow!.
Yeah so it used to be this industrial area where there were a lot of artists lofts and people that actually manufacture stuff and then of course it got turned into condos. As things do. As things do, yeah. So this is residential around here some of it looks like it? This is really residential and it's a very sort of quiet part of the neighborhood, the only reason we sort of got in was through a friend of a friend and who's actually doing Pilates at my studio at the old location.
And he knew we were sort of looking for a space and it's a word of mouth, like that's how most people find out about or can find Lisa's around here is through word of mouth, they don't really like letting a lot of outside people in. Even though I don't think your former studio was far from here. No it was a five minute walk away from here but like closer to the subway so my lovely clients they all walk from the subway here. And it's not like you can go here and continue on this way, they actually then have to circle, it's a U-turn they have to go back all the way to the subway so this takes some commitment. Will you take us inside?
Yeah let's go, let's go, here's my big old space. Come on in. Oh my goodness. I like to joke here it is, sometimes I go to those big studios around the world and I work in a really small space. You've said that Yeah and it's really small.
It's small but look what you have in it. Yeah it is kind of amazing how it all fits in here. Show me. I was determined, so yeah this is my Cadillac obviously. Is that Julie? Julie we know Julie.
And you'll recognize Julie from video 4731, no I'm just kidding I don't know the numbers, don't quote me on that, look at her go. But yeah you'll recognize Julie, Julie's one of my first client when I opened my studio in 2006. Going to the name of your place, how did you choose it? So DUMBO is Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass so there are two major bridges that sort of go into DUMBO. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge and so I was like yeah great Bridge Pilates, it was the first Pilates studio in the neighborhood of course then I moved here and I realized there was like a bridge cleaners, a bridge deli, a bridge pizza place.
But the other thing that I really was sort of my thought was sort of saw myself as a bridge to sort of Kathy's work and sort of the understanding of it. I sort of liked the way that was and I didn't just wanna name it Blossom Pilates, I don't know why. So this is my Cadillac I have up sort of the straps here. So tell us about that, not that many people know about this. No so these are straps that Mary Bowen sort of created or Mary Bowen's husband created a long time ago and then gave them to Kathy and was sort of like he Kathy I know you'll sort of figure out something to do with them.
And Kathy did not leave them like this, she always had them sort of hanging up like this. I don't mind them hanging sort of down here, so they just sort of hang there. And behind the Cadillac is this, actually let me see if I could pull it out. You could see how often I use my pedal pull by how hard it is to come out, I'm just gonna drag it around. Is it heavy, it looks heavy?
It's pretty heavy, so this is my pedal pull from I mean the studio that Kathy inherited Bendell's the equipment went in, in 1965 so this is the pedal pull. This was in Bendell's? Yeah. Can I touch it? Yeah, you're hilarious, of course you can touch it.
The springs not the frame and everything, yes and it's kind of funky and notice it's adjustable, it's the only adjustable one I've ever seen which is kind of funky.
Kathy said there was a bicycle seat that hooked onto that. Really. But then it sorta like baby chair, like if you were to drop this all the way down and sat on that. Yeah A little bit. Yeah I've seen versions of pedal pulls.
With a seat on it? Yup but I don't know. Where that came from, well anyway but yes this way Kathy was like yeah we never knew what happened to the bicycle seat, so that always just had that funky rim there. And then the other cool thing about this is that I don't know if you could see but on the bottom it has, there's a little piece of wood on the front. And so if i flipped this to the side you could see that it's rigged so that when you're standing on it it kind of pushes you, yes.
She would hang up her clothes on it, so she was like you should take that, so Kathy style. And speaking of more vintage stuff, so this is my baby. Oh I recognize that. My Vonda chair.
Kara has, so Kathy's studio had two reformers, two chairs, Kara has the other chair, yeah. The little things for us new kids, help. Exactly this is the padding if you hear I can like. There's zero padding, you could even see there's a little knot right here, you could kind of see the knot where the plywood is. What is that?
It's plywood, it's right on plywood and so you can kind of see how the vinyl. Like a normal piece. Yeah like plywood has a. Wood knot. Yeah exactly.
The cool thing is that it had four springs, so it had kind of like how on the Cadillac you do leg springs and arm springs, same with this. There were things you did for legs and then you were supposed to switch it when you do arm work so that the pedal, yes so these springs are thinner and lighter.
So this stuff was there before Kathy got there and then what happened was they were selling the studio and then. And so she took it and that's when she took it to NYU. Well they were going to throw it away. What? They were going to throw it away and she said well can I have it and they said okay you've got a week to get it out and so she took half of it to NYU and the other half went into storage for 17 years.
And then 17 years later I went and got it. And so the other weird thing is that this chair came with Yeah what is this? I know, it's this weird box. And so when you did like, yeah exactly, can you sit here facing that way. Are you kidding.
And then so when you would do like mermaid instead of having to keep your legs straight or even teaser you would just get to have a seat on top and put your cute little feet there. Oh I've done that before. Yeah. Out of necessity. Yeah exactly but it was a thing.
Yeah. Eventually Kathy used these as storage in the reformers and she would just use like a foot stool. So she would just flip it over? Yeah so I have one here 'cause I copied it. So what you would do is you would have your props for your reformer, you would store them here.
Do your stuff and then put them away when you were done. So I just sort of keep this stuff here. Oh very, I never saw that before. So then I have these two other reformers my grats babies that's Ronnie. Hi Ronnie.
Actually we'll get to what Ronnie's doing in a second yes save yourself love, save it. But yeah these are my grat reformers and I mean I love them, they're sort of the work horses of the studio. Oh and I should mention so I kinda do a funky thing. Ronnie's on sort of the regular foam, I don't know if you can tell but it has sort of a high rise and it's a little squishy. This is the high density foam, this is more like what Kathy had in her studio on here reformer so do you feel that?
Yeah it gives but what is that? This is more Oh more traditional. Fluffier, yeah. This is nice. So if you ordered a grats reformer it would come with this.
I'd like a bed like this. I like this a lot and I thought my sort of older population would complain about it and say it was. Hard. They like it 'cause they could actually feel where they are. When you order it that's what you got?
You have to ask for it, you have to ask for it. I think Basal does it, they do it, Grats does it. And the other thing that I do is I have a five spring system kind of like, but this is copied from Kathy. This isn't quite right, so she.
Yeah they did but this isn't quite right so I sort of, I'm not thrilled but it's my fault I just told them to put five springs on but what I really wanted was because i feel like these are too far away. The way Kathy did is she would sort of snuggle in An extra in them. Yeah because you never use all five springs. Got it. Right and the thinking behind it is really brilliant.
Kathy would sort of say in theory they were all the same tension but
Like regular, heavy, light. Okay I'm not gonna demonstrate it well but so this used to be the chair she would have in the corner of her studio and people would have to do sit ups. Like she would make them, sorry Kathy. Oh with shoes. Yeah exactly with the shoes.
So she would make them do sit ups here like with a pinwheel and oh. Careful. And go like Oh really. Yean and you would only move on the exhale and then come back up and eventually she would take the chair away. Oh really.
Uh huh and Good thing your legs didn't go down. Oh no the legs didn't go down they stayed there. And then she would do other things where you would sit when you put the feet up on that little white stool again you'd do like all these things and she always love this chair because she could sort of see like where your back was in relationship to the. This wasn't in storage you used it regularly? No this was at NYU and when NYU sort of said hey are interested in their equipment?
I said yes, any chance you have that red chair. I mean it's a bit of a sentimental thing because I know her desk was here and I would come in and sort of sit and sort of just like wait until, this was sort of my chair to sit on/answer the phone sometimes. But I'll get using it eventually again. I also have in part of my treasury is a vintage spine corrector. Oh wow look at that! Yeah there's my babies, I like both see I'm a big mishmash.
We were listening to Kerry Reegan talk about the color of some of the equipment she was referring to. I think she was. This kind of color? Amber and I'm not sure if that's. Well so that blue is what the original that stool was. That is the blue that Kathy inherited the studio in was that blue, this is more Kathy's kind of style color.
So that's how this came in but I don't know. I don't know it wasn't at Kathy's studio so I guess it probably was different but it makes me think of that. Yeah it does right but that was in the rusty brown. But yeah so I like both spine correctors, depending on what I'm doing I'll use both but you know I'm so glad I have this because I haven't quite found another spine corrector that I really like yet so I'm spoiled. It's amazing.
I like the one from 1965, go get that one. It's honestly interesting to see how you store things, I don't know how big the space is. It's 350 square feet. There you go. Tada! And luckily they have these really nice closets.
But you know Kathy studio that she had at NYU was even smaller than this, it was maybe half the size. And I knew I could open this place because if Kathy could work out of that small space I could do that too. I mean we used to have the reformer against the wall and you couldn't do anything where your arms or legs opened. You had to move it unless. We had to wait and be like is now a good time and then you put it on an angle and do all the opening things and then you'd push it back up against the wall.
So she didn't have room for a chair she would put the chair in the doorway and so you would hold on to the doorway to like, right which is actually great. She actually missed having it there and then, yeah. Let's get to the crazy props. Before we do, does anyone else teach here? Oh yeah.
How does it work? I run by studio, I jokingly say like a hairdresser salon. What is that? Meaning I don't truly have independent contractors. So people rent space from me, so if someone comes to the studio or wants to work out here they email or call and I try to set them up with the instructor that I think fits best and the clients pay the teacher.
The teachers pay me rent, like a true independent contractor so there are four teachers that actually work here. Not a lot it's sort of like a family to me like people don't really leave unless they move away. Really? Yeah I've had people who've been with me since, actually as long as Julie so yes so since 2006 yeah. We met her in the very beginning.
Yeah exactly, yeah so not a lot of people. No more than two people working in this space at the same time. Oh really. Yeah that's it, that's too much. Did you train them, teach them?
We usually have some sort of connection, some of them like this one person he just sort of found me and he sort of thought I would sort of. 'Cause sort of has a mixed background, he was like I think she would have me at her studio because I. I think he was trained by Phoebe but some of them were students of Kathy's and mine at NYU. Oh wow! Yeah so it's really, it's a mixed bag, it's kind of fun. Very cool, let's see the props.
Okay this is my other baby, so this is where I'm like. This is a part of my tour is my prop closet. Oh I could all ready feel it. Tada, okay so many things. Oh wait really?
Yeah, you don't have one of Kristy? I have, I was like eight, this is a thigh master. What is this called again? It's a thigh master. Is that's what it was called a thigh master?
Ronnie's like yes, did you have one too? I had a friend yeah. I mean I never used it. But it's so strong. 'Cause we never use it, but yeah Kathy had this and when I got sort, when they sort of gave me a bunch of stuff I was like I'm keeping that.
It's technically what you would call, I know it's not a Pilates prop per say but you use it or she used it? No that's the thing it sort of just a reminder to me of how funny Kathy was of just like, she was up for anything. Meaning like if she thought if this ball, she was not snobby, she was like Suzanne Somers got a good product or whatever she didn't care, she would sort see if it would work and she also wanted to know what are people doing. Oh they're doing that let's see what that does. She's sort of you know.
This does something, the one I had was like nothing. Actually my kids even do like faux push ups on it. They kinda do this on the wall and they've been very creative, it's one of their favorite toys. It's not what I expected to come out of the prop. Hi thigh master I kind of leave it with the magic circle 'cause let's face it they're cousins.
Right, right for sure. I've so many things, these things like Kathy used these silly little weights. It's a weight. It's a weight and she would have us do like arm. And so we did this thing so Julie you ready for me honey.
So if you would just hold on to this, for some reason those are the weights. I guess because they don't roll away, Kathy would say okay so reach up toward that, pretend that this is a shelf up here and you put that on the shelf, put it on the shelf, put it on the shelf. That's it and then you put the weights down. I don't know why we had to use those things. I think Ron Fletcher, I could be wrong about this he called them the don't bleep me shoes 'cause they're so ugly.
The oh. The don't yeah f you blah, blah, blah. And the opposite would be high heels. They're very unattractive but these are the weighted shoe, yeah they're serious. It's literally like an iron, so much for Dr. Scholls.
Yeah that's it. Inserts that's good. Inserts right, and I would sort of look at this longingly 'cause I always had to wear the men's size. That was another conversation. Good talk.
Yes I have large feet, oh what else so. These are the handle bars that used to go on Kathy's reformers which has sort of been a little in vogue lately but do you feel how light they are? Yeah do they roll? Yeah they roll, I always love sort of this idea. This is the flat foot bar, have you ever heard me talk about the flat foot bar?
I feel like I've heard you talk about it but I don't know if I've seen it. So in theory Kathy had a reformer like this and I guess this sort of instead of this rounded foot bar she had two reformers, one with a flat foot bar and one with a rounded. And it was interesting 'cause I had a client, so I called Kim Harrosh who you've met and I said Kim what's with the flat, 'cause it said flat reformer foot bar and she's like what are you talking about. I sort of kept talking and that's the funny thing with the people who worked with Kathy back if you sort of like keep knocking on the door they go oh yeah that. So people who had foot issues they would.
That would be nice. Right 'cause they had more surface here so they would have to use the foot bar with the flat, the reformer with the flat foot bar. And did it just, how did it? I think it was actually, it sort of locked in and it was just there I'm not really sure, that part I don't quite get. Did you ever hear about the crotch ball, that sounds terrible as I squeeze it.
Tell me about the crotch ball. Maybe we could say that in a better way. So Kathy would do these horrible things where you would sit on top of the barrel and you'd literally have this up in your crotch and you'd have to sit on it and she'd say get up off the ball. So you'd be sitting like doing horseback on here and sit on the ball and then get back up.
Here you go Merry Christmas. It looks like a sled. Yeah the iron boot, you don't have one of these at home. So I'd have to say I never saw Kathy use this but I've seen video of her where it is strapped to a person's and I think this person was a knee person. This is heavy.
That's at least seven pounds, I mean it's cast iron. Or more. Yeah, what does it say, five no eight. Or a b for Blossom, 'Cause it's my size shoe. I don't know it's not light.
No it's very heavy. It's like an anvil. I'm not really sure what that was used for. And this? That was to tie it on lovingly.
I mean just when you thought the Cadillac was torture looking. I know every now and again you forget how weird this stuff looks. I like these, these are the trays she would use. What for? Good question, Ronnie can you try something for me honey? So Kathy would call this her like a tower exercise.
Both legs up to the ceiling, Ronnie has hamstrings that could do this you would do that. Oh wow!. Right and then hold the phone, You used that cube the last time you were there. Did I use that? You did as if you had a tray on your foot.
Yeah so this is the tray, I think she stole these from Mcdonalds, remember when Mcdonalds had trays. Smaller portions too. Yes and that's the other thing. And then you would put like weights on it, right to weigh it down. That probably feels better doesn't it?
Yeah it feels better with weight on it. And then you do this and now Ronnie can you. So the tower you just do a little. First of all just get the tray parallel, yeah those ankles that's it and now just do a little bend. That's it and exhale, yeah okay I'll see you tomorrow.
But I love these trays. That's a really cool thing, that looks so hard. But yeah look totally connected because Ronnie can do all kinds of things to stay out of it. You do not want to drop 10 pounds on your head. No yeah that's the other thing.
So usually when I'm teaching this I hold like this. But I think he's kinda got it. He's got it, he's got it. But for someone new, okay good nice shaking that was good, nicely done, shaking was not thrown in. This is a very sexy prop.
What is it? I recognize the sticking mat. So this is a tennis ball can and technically the way you would do it is, Ronnie can you give me your legs again? So Ronnie actually if you could sort of, when he goes out and does fit work, go ahead, he has a little bit of issues with sort of the rotation of his lower legs and knee. Who doesn't, a lot of us do and so every now and again I forget that I have these and I kind of just put this in there, but don't hold it with your ankles, hold yeah. Then go out and in and for him he can sort of feel the rotation of his lower legs, that's my speak of it.
I don't really know, Kathy would just sometimes make you do it. Well just like from the like that, not having it just at your ankles. Right and if you just bend, yeah exactly just do a little bend and straight that's it.
And so when you would go to do swan you know how people their legs would come apart, so Julie bend your knees love. I don't remember how we did this. I think we would sort of sit down put it on our feet a and then lie on our tummies yeah because Kathy. I mean sometimes Kathy was nice and she would do this for you but then you would sort of try and do like, hold on a second, you would sort of do swan with this on your feet, so Julie just stay there. Just lift the legs up, right, 'cause you know there are people who sort of automatically open, yeah that's it.
Yeah so she would sort of do that for the people who would sort of go into their feet and sometimes if you were really special you would do can in the feet and can between the lower legs, rest love, if you're very special. You know Kathy was sort of the queen of cheap props, because equipment manufactures didn't really exist like they weren't making props like this so she just would make up her own thing. What she needed. Yeah she would make up what she needed, so when she passed away I sort of like I would admit I kinda took one of these. People are making these now but it's a weighted bar and even if you're doing swan, so you could do swan on the bar and you have this behind you in the back.
And what's nice you get a little more space you don't have to be holding here and then after you would do a swan you get to let go and circle, they just fit really comfortable in hand I sort of love these. That's great. Yeah these are great and you know all it was, was a weighted bar I think cut into three and with these things shoved on them. What's the hardest part about running a studio? I mean is it worth it, is it necessary?
I like it, I mean I like my community that I have we have this joke at our studio where we talk about the faux questionnaire that we think we should give to people because we have a lovely group of people that come here, it's like our joke is like do you like to eat food, do you read, are you fun, can you make good conversation, like I really love the people that come here. I'm trying to think of the hardest part. I think it's more of just the balance of my whole life not really the studio part. Running this and traveling and teaching. Yeah 'cause I have great people and the way that I set up my business is that I owned it not it owning me.
You started that way or did you have to learn that? There was a woman who ran her business the way I run my business and sort of copied her and I told her I was going to but the other thing to is we had a really good relationship and we did it. She was great Peggy Wallin, she had a studio and I worked for her and I loved the way her studio was set up. And we even separated well, do you know what I mean, as soon as I thought about doing this I went to her next I said hey look I'm thinking about doing this. And even when I left her studio we sent out a letter together saying hey this is what we're doing, come to either studio and it was great.
Both of our letter heads were on it so yeah. Isn't that special? No that's kind of the way it should go, yeah, yeah, yeah but anyway I don't know the hard thing dealing with these clients. Would you advise someone to set it up this way? Or is it the space?
I like it but it's small, it's small. I mean New York City, rent here is crazy. I know a lot of instructors that have big nuggets. Part of it is I know what I like to do, I like teaching people, I like managing a little bit but I don't wanna be, I don't want to stay up at night. I didn't want to have to really, I didn't want it to keep me up at night, my two kids do that.
So you thought about all those things, do I like to do this, do I like to do that? Well yes because there's a certain point where someone's like well what do you want to do now? And I thought well I want to make more money. And someone said well okay, what do you like to do? And I thought that's a really.
It's a great question. Yeah so someone said what do you like to do? And I said well yeah not that part or that part, so I just do the part I really like and I think I'm good at. And the clients found you? Word of mouth, I have a website but I used to do some hard advertising, I'm still sort of the only Pilates studio that's been here since.
There's a couple that's come and gone, there's a person that works out of their home or another one but I'm still sort of the only game that's lasted, let's put it that way. There you go, do you live near here? I do live a 25 minute walk away. 25 minutes? 25 minutes, yeah even if I'm booking it, it's about 25 minutes even if I'm really chugging.
That's how you do it in the winter and everything? You're listening to a California girl. Yeah I walk for 25 minutes it's my cardio. If there's any words of wisdom to someone who wants to open a studio or someone who has opened a studio and might feel overwhelmed, I sometimes think that's common. Well I feel like if you're thinking about it, well actually I had this whole conversation about this whole thing like if you work at someone's studio really think about how you're gonna remove yourself from that studio because I feel like it really is a small world, you and I both know.
Even in the bigger world it's still a very small world and really think about how you wanna make that happen. But then if you're also thinking about I'd say start working on your website yesterday. Really! Yeah and when I say website even if it's just the text and things that you like. So you could be found. Yeah and also just because that stuff takes time to build almost as long as it does to open a studio I feel like the website took, I think that doesn't come naturally to Pilates instructors so start working on that stuff right away and as you sort of develop really think about what you like to do.
At one point I said to someone, I had a great client and she said what are you doing later and I said I'm gonna do some paperwork, she goes do you like doing paperwork, I didn't think about that I was like hell no I don't like doing paper work. She goes so why are you doing it? Well. Well if you don't have the money then yeah you have to do the paperwork and she said why don't you just pay someone to do that, I didn't even think about that. It didn't even occur to you?
It didn't occur to me. It's just part of being a business owner. Yes, yes and so now I sort of parcel out that and it's amazing I teach an extra session and then I get that money and I can pay that person to go do those five hours Frustration for you. Paperwork. I hated it.
Plan ahead. Yeah I think eventually as you become as your studio sort of establishes itself, do the stuff you really like to do, I think that keeps you going in the game longer yeah I think that's it.