For basketball-crazy NYC kids there's a new game in town, in the form of a state-of-the-art, nearly 8,000-square-foot sports facility. Fastbreak Sports, in a space that used to house a movie theater, offers indoor sports programming for kids of all ages -- from kindergarten through high school. But the focus is on hoops.
Fastbreak founder Lonny Levine started the program -- which has traditionally met in schools and parks across the city -- when his son, who now plays varsity basketball, was young.
According to Levine, over 400 people registered for classes before the new facility's opening in November.
Quality coaching"We're the sports specialists," he says, about what differentiates Fastbreak from other facilities around the city.
Allison Chayut, of the Upper West Side, is a mother of nearly 8-year-old twin boys who've been participating in Fastbreak programs since before the new facility opened. They started with flag football and now play basketball.
"My kids love it -- they get Fastbreak jerseys, they play on a real basketball court. With the coaches, it's like a professional team for little kids. We noticed right away that each program is very sports-specific. The coaches who teach basketball are not the same ones teaching flag football," Chayut said. "My kids think it's the best thing they've ever seen that their coaches can dunk."
The kid-to-coach ratio is 5:1, with no more than 20 kids per class, and all of the coaches have coached basketball on the high school or college level.
In Chayut's sons' class, there are 10 second graders to three coaches.
"I love that there's a quota on the amount of kids. Often in other programs, they fit as many kids in as possible," she said.
Elisa Zied, of the Upper East Side, whose sons are 15 and 11, said her kids have done travel teams and skill classes.
"Fastbreak really emphasizes learning the fundamentals of basketball and my boys responded well to the instruction. They also enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a basketball team," she said.
High-tech featuresThe new facility has multi-sport classes for kids ages 2-5 and after-school, weekend programs and leagues for kids of school age.
The building also has wi-fi, so kids can work on their homework after school and before their lessons, and a whole parent spectating level allows moms and dads to watch kids practice.
There's a state-of-the-art professional basketball floor, advanced video techonology and baskets that can go up and down depending on a child's height. Some balls even have microchips that can tell you things like spin and rate dribbling.
Each class is about 70-75 minutes and 45-50 minutes for Fastbreak Kids, the younger group. While Fastbreak has traditionally attracted a large majority of boys, Levine says that with the new facility, they will offer more girls' classes as well.
1629 First Ave., 646-786-3771, fastbreakkids.com. Prices average about $50 per class