Workout Wednesday Marathonspiration!

Today our Guest Blogger is Anne Delcastillo, Director of Development for the 14th Street Y.  Besides being on staff, Anne is a 14th Street Y parent and an avid fitness fan.  Autumn is such a great time to get inspired by Marathon runners!  Read about Anne’s experience running the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon last weekend, and inspire yourself to go an extra mile!  

This past Sunday, I ran the 38th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. It’s the second marathon I’ve ever run; the first was the New York City Marathon, which I ran the year I turned 40.

I am not your average athlete. In fact, I was never an athlete. I was usually the kid that got picked last for things like dodge ball.


I came to running because I knew I needed to do something to stay fit. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor. Heart disease and diabetes also run in the family; exercise traditionally has not.

I had been doing yoga for years, but needed some form of cardio. I could never get into aerobics workouts, and I found fitness machines intimidating. I did boxing for a while, which I really enjoyed, but the gym schedule didn’t always line up with mine.

I eventually found that running was the one thing I could do on my own time. I hated it at first. But once I got past the first mile, something shifted. I liked the freedom of heading outdoors and finding my zone. (I am not a treadmill runner.) It became meditative: running through the streets of New York City—without headphones—taking in the rhythms of the different neighborhoods in the early morning hours.

The leap from runner to marathoner was prompted by a “bucket list” deal with myself. After watching the NYC Marathon one year, I was determined to run it. My goal was just to finish. And I did in 5:17:20. It was exhilarating–the route through all five boros, the music, the crowds. The whole experience left me wanting more. A couple of friends suggested we run the Marine Corps Marathon together. But when it came time to register, I got in and they didn’t.

I arrived in DC determined to beat my NY time. I wanted to finish in under five hours. And I did, but something got lost along the way. I had been so fixated on time, running about a 10-minute-mile for the first 18 miles, that I hadn’t taken in much of the course. When I hit “the wall” at mile 20. I was forced to slow down. Rather than focusing on time, I could finally take in the crowds and changing the landscape, the clear blue skies overhead, the sound of my breath. I came in at 4:52:55.

In the end, I was reminded that, for me, running really is a metaphor for life. If I have a bad run, it’s usually because I didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat well or tried to push through an injury. On a good run, my mind is clear, my heart is open, and the road leads to new discoveries.

This weekend, I’ll be out at the NYC Marathon cheering the last runners in the race. Hope to see you there!

Need more inspiration for your workouts?  Try any of our NEW fitness classes, which can be found here.

Meet 2013-14 LABA Fellows, Artist Tom Block and Writer Clémence Boulouque

Time to meet two new 2013-14 LABA fellows. (Haven’t heard about our arts program, LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish culture? Click here.)

“Conference of the Birds II,” Tom Block

Tom Block is a playwright, author and visual artist.  His plays have been produced in New York and Washington DC; he has had two books published (“Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity” published in the United States and Turkey in 2010 and “A Fatal Addiction: War in the Name of God” in 2012) and has just signed a contract for his third, “Response to Machiavelli,” which explores the American political landscape.  He has exhibited his artwork around the United States and Europe. And he has spoken about his ideas throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. He was a Research Fellow at DePaul University’s International Human Rights Law Institute (as an artist in residence) in 2010, as well as the founding producer of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, 2010 (MD).

Clémence Boulouque is finishing her PhD in the joint History and Jewish program at New York University where she focuses on the beginnings of interfaith dialogue through Kabbalah in the 19th century. Before resuming her studies in the United States, she worked for 6 years as a book and movie critic for the French daily newspaper Le Figaro and for the broadcasting station France Culture. Clémence is also a published novelist and non-fiction writer. Her latest and eighth book was released in France in January 2013.

Sign up for the LABA mailing list here. And Follow LABA on Facebook!

Learn more about our East Village Community Center by visiting

Amas Musical Theatre talks FRIDA at the Theater at the 14th Street Y

Get to know Amas Musical Theatre and their new project FRIDA being workshopped right here at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. We interviewed Michael Aman, one of the talented creators of this new take on Frida Kahlo’s life.

Tell us about the story- why does Frida’s story make a good musical?

Frida’s story is about survival without self-pity, a powerful story in any medium.  What makes it a great project for a musical is its locale – using a Mexican pop sound and Mexican magic realism, create an atmosphere ideal for musical theatre.

Our theme this year at the Y is Mother.  Does the story of Frida link to that?

One of the great desires Frida had was to be a mother and to give her husband Diego Rivera children.  Frida wanted it all, and that included being a mother.  When “death” (La Pelona) takes her unborn baby away in act I, it’s one of the most heartwrending moments in the show.  Likewise, when Frida loses her mother in the second act, she has to learn to make her peace with death.  Her own mother was a presence throughout her life for better and worse.

What can Y members expect if they attend the reading?

The reading is a presentation of the show complete with the songs.  There is minimal staging but they will see the whole show.  And rather than an orchestra, we only use a piano.

How can we learn more?

Please visit!

Want to see the workshop?  Make a reservation now because space is limited.

For Reservations:
Call: 212-563-2565

LABA at the 14th Street Y Spotlight: Siona and Brooke

Hey Y members, you’ve heard about LABA, right? It is our laboratory for Jewish culture in which ancient Jewish texts are used to inspire the creation of new art.

One part of LABA is the House of Study. Every year we invite a group of talented culture-makers to become LABA artist fellows. This means that they get together regularly to study ancient Jewish texts with the LABA faculty and then, yes, use them as inspiration for new art. Come January, you will have a chance to see this new music, theater, dance, art and writing they were inspired to create in the LABAlive series which will run through the summer and take place in our theater.

In the meantime, we thought you might be interested in learning more about the 13 incredibly talented and creative culture-makers chosen as fellows this year. Today we’ll start today with fellows Siona Benjamin and Brooke Berman.  

Siona Benjamin

Siona is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US.  Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons.

Visit her website at

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Brooke Berman

Brooke_CompressedBrooke is a playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker who recently wrote and directed her first short film, “Uggs for Gaza,” based on a story by Gordon Haber. Brooke’s plays have been produced at theaters including: Steppenwolf, The Second Stage, Primary Stages, WET, The Play Company and Theater 7 Chicago and developed by The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Jewish Plays Project, New Dramatists, The Playwrights Center, The Womens Project and others (and in the UK, The Royal Court Theatre and the Royal National Theatre Studio). She’s written films for Natalie Portman, The Mark Gordon Company, Vox Films and Red Crown.  Her memoir “NO PLACE LIKE HOME” was published by Random House in 2010 and called “Highbrow” and “Brilliant” by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix.  She has recently moved back to NYC after five years in Los Angeles.

Visit her website at

Check out an interview with Brooke here:

Why I love Family Fit Day (This SUNDAY!)

1.  I was a fat kid.  

Actually, by today’s standards, I wasn’t really fat.  Childhood obesity and obesity in general has become such a national problem that my 12 year old 1980’s  version of fat, for which I was teased, is probably by today’s standards not even perceived as a problem, or out of the norm.  

Nevertheless, the issues that I had as a kid, feeling out of control, feeling that my body was my enemy, feeling that if I could only unzip my skin and step out of it a thinner person all of my problems would go away?

I can relate to childhood obesity.  I want to do my part to end it as a national problem. 


2.  I LOVED hanging out with my parents when I was young.

In fact, I still do.  My dad and I now always go to his gym together when I visit my parents.  I wish I had more memories of swimming, hiking and running around, together.  With them.  My best memories from childhood usually involve food, and I wish I had a lifetime association of movement and fitness with the joy that I had when I was hanging out with my parents.


3.  This:








And because Family Fit Day builds joy!  Family Fit Day gives this whole wonderful community of members, afterschool kids, summer camps, preschool, toddlers and babies AND their parents a chance to experience what a joy it can be to be together, move together, and GET FIT together.  

For more information or to get your Family Ticket, click here

Can’t wait to see everyone there.  

Family Fit Day is this Sunday, October 20th from 10AM-1PM, and features a family dance concert, rock wall climbing, sports and martial arts, yoga and zumba, healthy eats, and a Water to Go outdoor water fountain (we’ll provide the BPA free biodegradable bottles!)


Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y 

Have questions about Family Fit Day or Family Fitness at the 14th Street Y?  

Contact her at


We want YOU on our stage!

A few weeks ago, we blogged about our new partnership with the AfterWork Theater Company.

AfterWork is now offering $150 off tuition for Y members for both full lengths plays.

Still not sure what it’s all about?

AfterWork will be tabling outside the Theater at  Family Fit Day on Sunday, October 20.  Come meet us!

Still Have Questions? Call Becky Skoff at 646-395-4322.  I can’t wait to talk to you!

PS- This discount is only valid through October 20, 2013. Act fast!

LABA at the 14th Street Y Spotlight: Ronit Muszkatblit

Ronit Muszkatblit – Artistic Director

"Sanctify Thyself" by Yael K
“Sanctify Thyself” by Yael Kanarek LABA fellow

Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director of LABA, began her LABA journey in 2009 as a theater fellow. She was drawn to the program because of its focus on classic Jewish texts and the chance to collaborate with artists from a mix of disciplines.

Ronit explains:

“Coming from Israel, I had not dealt with these texts since mandatory bible classes in school. In Israel these texts belong to the religious world and because of this many artists are reluctant to deal with them.

When I began LABA I was excited to study these ancient Hebrew texts again, which was a real departure from the artistic journey I had been on until that moment. It’s funny, but I had to move to New York to engage with my cultural heritage and feel a sense of ownership over it.

As we learned together, I couldn’t believe that I was having such strong reactions, explosive reactions, to these texts. Now, as the artistic director I look forward to bringing this powerful tradition to life for the whole community.”

Check out some of Ronit’s work as a theater director, here at the 14th Street Y:

Cantaloupe (LABA Arts Festival 2010)



Ronit is the founding member of woken’glaicer theater company and Operatzia and a member of posttheater ny/berlin.

Her most recent directing credits include all the LABALive events!

She also directs Opera: SPHINX by Yoav Gal (Culturemart HERE) 3WEEKS by Yoav Gal (MAP grant, 14th Street Y).  Recent credits in theater: Hanna and the Moonlit Dress by Itzchak D’miel (14th Street Y) Nature of Captivity by Mathew Paul Olmos (Mabou Mines Suite @ PS 122) Cantaloupe by Gina Bonati (Boston ); ON ART adaptation of ART by Yasmina Reza (Rohkunst Bau, Berlin); It is said the men are over in the steel tower by Hideo Tsuchida,(TBG Theater, NYC); Struwwelmensch (Rohkunst Bau Festival, Berlin);) Matchmaker Matchmaker (Stadts Bank Berlin); Quartet by Heiner Müller (Westbeth Theater, NYC); The Child Dreams by Hanoch Levin (Staged Reading 59E59, NYC).

Ronit received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School and trained at La Mama Umbria (Italy) and with Siti Company.



Need a Fall Fitness Challenge? Join us!

Need a Fall Fitness Challenge?  Join us!

Jennifer Hamlin, one of our most amazing fitness instructors demonstrates PLANKS, in various levels. Join our October Plank Challenge, picking the highest level plank you can hold for at least 30 seconds, and then slowly working your way down through the levels as your body tires. Add time each day, and see where you land by Halloween!