Trapeze School New York™ (TSNY) was founded in December 2001 by Jonathon Conant, Anne Brown and David Brown who were inspired by the power of flying trapeze to provide people with a renewed sense of possibility, and forever transform their outlook on life.
Jonathon's first flying trapeze experience was at Club Med in 1998. He realized that flying trapeze was an amazing tool for helping people reevaluate their capabilities and started a trapeze school in New Paltz, New York shortly thereafter. Anne and Dave Brown first tried flying trapeze at Club Med in 2000. Anne was immediately and totally infatuated; the embodiment of our motto Forget fear. Worry about the addiction.® After coming down from his first swing, Dave was astonished that everyday people from all walks of life could do this activity and could not fathom why it wasn't everywhere. They soon discovered Jonathon's trapeze rig in New Paltz and started flying there every weekend. By the summer of 2001, the trio decided to partner, develop a business plan, and bring flying trapeze into New York City.
TSNY New York City
Trapeze School New York opened in Hudson River Park on July 10, 2002. We had so much help to make it all come together! Arlie Hart built our first flying trapeze rig. Brian McVicker, now President of our school in Washington DC, walked onto the lot as we were beginning to set up and saved the day when our fence subcontractors were ready to throw in the towel citing insurmountable difficulties — it would have been devastating since no fence meant no trapeze. Jason Klein, who founded Utah Flying Trapeze with his wife Lynn Angelini, was instrumental in getting the financing for that first set up and later for our set up in Baltimore.
Three days after we opened we were on the front page of The New York Times. We had officially arrived in NYC! In August 2003 the school was featured in an episode of Sex and the City® called “The Catch” introducing us to the world. We ran seasonally until 2006 when we opened a year round facility in Hudson River Park as a test run — a huge leap of faith since there were those who told us that flying trapeze wouldn't sell in the winter. We had one fantastic year indoors in Hudson River Park, then moved to the top of Pier 40 and returned to seasonal operations in 2007. We added an indoor facility on West 30th Street in 2008 and operated there year-round until 2012 when we were displaced by construction projects. Since then, Trapeze School New York has operated seasonally in Hudson River Park on Pier 40, as well as several summers on South Seaport Pier 16 followed by one summer near the boardwalk at Coney Island. Summer 2016 marked the opening of a custom built 39 foot high indoor facility operating year round adjacent to the old Pfizer building in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Randy Winner – who started as a student in 2003, then discovered the joy of teaching – is now General Manager, inspiring staff and students to stop saying "I can't" and to instead say "I can, I will. I can face my fear, and I can change my life."
TSNY Baltimore/Washington DC
After a couple of years of bringing excitement and accomplishment to our students in New York, Brian McVicker wanted to expand our community, so he opened our first satellite location at Baltimore's inner harbor in July 2004. The school enjoyed a 5 year run in Baltimore, but with our location slated for development, we jumped at a chance to move into Washington DC. We opened an outdoor location at the old convention center parking lot in the middle of Washington DC in June 2009, and were a big hit from the first week. In March 2010 we opened an indoor facility in the DC Yards near Nationals Baseball Stadium which was followed by the opening of a brand new 38 foot high facility in February 2016. Under the leadership of Brian, along with Assistant GM Mandy Keithan, this location continues to enjoy immense success, making everyone feel welcome and safe in an environment where they are inspired by the thrill, beauty and artistry of flying trapeze, trampoline, silks and other aerial arts.
TSNY Los Angeles on the Santa Monica Pier
We were thrilled to open a new school on the Santa Monica Pier in spring 2008. This is our most picturesque location, with panoramic views of coastal California from the pedestal board. Opening day was spectacular as our first show was accompanied by a performance by a dozen or so members of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. This has been a great show venue ever since, and in fact every session is a show with thousands of people walking by and stopping to watch every day. In 2012, the school was featured on an episode of Modern Family called “Leap Day” bringing it even more fame. TSNY LA is managed by Kenna Stevens.
In 2011 we opened an outdoor location just south of Belmont Harbor in Chicago Park District's Lincoln Park. This school was an instant hit, and we added an indoor location at the Chicago Park District's Broadway Armory in spring 2012. This school continues to grow its community under the leadership of General Manager Steve Hammes, who discovered that teaching flying trapeze is just as much fun as performing juggling in the circus. TSNY Chicago hosts a number of summer camps for kids in collaboration with the Chicago Park District. Bonnie Miller manages our retail office in Chicago and is also our National Front Office Operations Manager.
After losing our lease for the second time, and with the expense of new builds in NY and DC, we were forced to close our Boston operation. Nevertheless, the 12 years we spent in Boston remain an endearing memory. On the day the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, we opened a glitzy indoor facility at Jordan Furniture's Beantown entertainment complex in Reading, Massachusetts. Our business partner in this venture was Ruben Abigador, an avid flyer and instructor at the New York school. The setup of the newly designed double flying trapeze rig was not without its difficulties and Brian McVicker once again saved the day with last minute design changes that made opening possible with just a few hours to spare. This location developed a devoted following over the years, particularly when Steve Hammes, now General Manager in Chicago, came in to run the show and built a strong flying community. After a 10 year run, this school moved into a spacious facility in Boston's West End; unfortunately our stay was short-lived as this site was approved for development.
In 2014, our partner and cofounder Jonathon Conant decided to leave TSNY and live the dream of setting up a retreat in the tropics. He is now living in Costa Rica and has set up Airborne Arts with his wife and world renowned aerialist Christine Van Loo. Since then Anne Brown has taken over as President and Dave Brown as CEO of Trapeze School New York™. Yes, it is true, both Anne and Dave have PhDs with previous scientific careers focused on molecular biology and toxicology. Anne left her “day job” in 2004 and Dave in 2008 as the demands of TSNY needed their full attention. Life can take you places you never imagined possible, and that is so true for Anne and Dave. Just one swing on the flying trapeze changed the trajectory of their lives forever. Will it be that way for you?
Flying into the Future
As we forge ahead into the next decade we are inspired by the phrase Break barriers. Find the new.™ It embodies our continued mission to realize our dreams, find new experiences, to change lives for the better through flying trapeze and aerial arts, and to have a fantastic time in the process.
Trapeze School World Corporation (TSWC) is the parent company and managing member of Trapeze School New York LLC, TSNY Baltimore LLC (TSNY DC), TSNY Los Angeles LLC, and TSNY Chicago LLC. These schools do business under the trade name Trapeze School New York™.