by Heather Skolnick
It’s been said that people make a town a community, and nowhere is this more evident than in the burgeoning town of Armonk. With new health and fitness businesses cropping up left and right, it’s easy to see that Armonk has become a community of people who are health conscious. And what better way to meet similar people with shared interests than being in a town that makes health and fitness readily available. So, as Olivia Newton-John would say, “Let’s Get Physical!”–while making new friends!
Armonk has a large gym facility under new ownership in town, a studio devoted to yoga, another to the barre method, a tennis club and an indoor sports facility–and that’s just naming a few. Meanwhile, greater North Castle offers a multitude of hiking and biking trails, as well as fishing options for the outdoor enthusiast. It’s easy to see that there are a lot of health and fitness choices for a relatively small hamlet of about 4,300 residents!
Whether a large gym or smaller specialty studio, workout facilities make it easy to meet people. New Armonk resident Randi Felton recalls that she met one of her closest friends at the gym. Randi says, “She noticed that I was pregnant and told me she was too. We talked each day about our pregnancies while doing Yoga and Pilates–and now our children have regular play dates together!” She recently joined Equinox in Armonk and has found that not only is she working on her fitness, but she’s connecting with other women in the community. Randi says, “In just a few weeks, I’ve become friendly with other women taking the same class. We not only live in the same town, but we also share common interests in staying healthy.”
The Town of North Castle Rec Center offers many fitness/athletic classes and is a popular option among residents. Armonk mom Megan Elkowitz enrolled her son in a soccer class through the Rec Center this past fall. While watching from the sideline, Megan developed a new friendship with another mom whom she now sees regularly. She says “The weekly soccer games gave me the opportunity to develop friendships with other parents who had really been only acquaintances before.” In fact, one of the moms coordinated a subsequent class for all the kids that had become friendly–now that’s friendship! Those that loved toddler soccer often progress into AYSO soccer, allowing friendships to flourish for children and parents.
Another popular fitness activity among local men is nighttime basketball games. Both relaxed pickup games and more structured, competitive leagues exist in Armonk. While most men know someone on the team when they join, many also find that they develop new friendships. In fact, Armonk resident and local orthopedist Dr. Stuart Elkowitz counts many of his teammates as good friends.
Some people have made truly forever friends while pursuing physical fitness. Cindy Shmerler Levy, a lifelong tennis player, has found incredible bonding through a shared love of the game, a passion for competition and pursuit of fitness. She says, “I have been playing tennis for more than 45 years. Some of my best friends in the world have, at some point, served as either partner or an opponent.
Three women who played on the college team with me at the University of Pennsylvania in the late seventies and early eighties now live in Westchester and you should see how competitive our so-called ‘social’ games can get. My Thursday morning game at Club Fit in Briarcliff has been around for more than a decade and we have all seen each other through births, deaths, surgeries (mostly knees!), high school graduations, illnesses and weddings.”
She continued, “My kids, Kristen and Max Levy, both grew up playing tennis in Armonk. They have made incredible, life-long friends even though their competitive careers ended at the high school level. Max, a senior at Byram Hills, played at the Armonk Tennis Academy for five years and counts his court-mates as some of his best friends; they laugh as hard as they compete and have learned life lessons that extend well beyond the white lines that define the courts.”
So not only is fitness good for the body, it turns out that it’s good for your social life too! With Spring’s welcome warm weather, there’s no time like the present to get out there, get some exercise and make some new friends!
Heather Skolnick, her husband Neal and their three children have been Westchester residents for seven years. Their favorite family fitness activity is taking advantage of the area trails with their dog Freddie.