A visit to New York City on the Labour Day weekend was transformed into a relaxing urban retreat, thanks to goodyoga in the Greenpoint neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Weekend accommodations in a yoga studio? Yes! Well, actually, it’s not that simple.
Yoga is definitely the foundation of the activity at goodpoint, which refers to the warehouse space housing goodyoga, four accommodation spaces (available for nightly, weekly and monthly stays), a communal kitchen, a wellness centre, a workspace and two cats. Founded by a creative young couple, Flannery Foster (a yoga teacher) and Raymond Gonzales (a graphic designer), who also live and work within the space, the whole place has a laidback, modern ashram feel. Not only that, but it’s on the edge of hipster central, Williamsburg, and just a short L-train ride from Manhattan.
I arrived at goodyoga on Saturday morning, after an overnight bus ride from Montreal, and if it hadn’t been for a paper trail of directions from the entrance, I wouldn’t have found my room (which was through a door off the main yoga studio, through a closet and up some stairs). The artistic history of the space is alive in the attention to detail (plants, carefully placed ornaments, shelves of books, framed prints on the walls), the spaciousness and the interplay of white walls and wood floors. Three other guests were also staying in the space, all Europeans, and I hardly saw or heard them.
The building was created in 1983 by Brooklyn artists Eugenia Balcells and Peter Van Riper, who haphazardly converted an old warehouse into two floors of loft-style layouts topped with a rustic wooden cottage. It’s a maze of wide open spaces, narrow stairs, hidden rooms and secret passageways (okay, not quite, but on my first exploration of the place I felt like I was discovering worlds within worlds).
And the yoga? Well, because of the long weekend all classes were cancelled. But I did my own practice in the airy main studio and on the rooftop, with an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. The goodyoga project serves as a fascinating model for how yoga, life, work and community can co-inhabit within a space. It also serves as a peaceful way to get away from it all, while still being close to the action.