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Features

Amateur Aerialists At Eisenhower Park

The Rosamilias get students

off the ground and on a trapeze

“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,

That daring young man on the flying trapeze,”

Thanks to brothers Marco and Anthony Rosamilia, wannabe daredevils get a modern-day taste of that classic 1934 song by way of the siblings’ I.FLY Trapeze school. Well-experienced in the ways of circus acrobatics, the Franklin Square natives cut their teeth over a decade ago working at Club Med, where the all-inclusive vacation resort features circus and flying trapeze as part of its active lifestyle programming.

“We worked for the resort for a couple of years, teaching and performing every day,” said Marco. “We had a lot of guests [at the resort] from New York and on Long Island, people would always ask, ‘Where can I do this back home?’ The pair quickly realized that there weren’t options for flying trapeze on Long Island and they wanted to bring their talents back home and share with enthusiasts back home.

The Rosamilias originally started their business out east in Smithtown in 2006 at the Ivy League School, and also at a preserve location in Rockville Centre. The company moved its base to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow in 2011, operating seasonally from April to October.

“It’s more in line with where were wanted to be and it’s centrally located,” Marco said, making the Eisenhower Park location ideal because it is outdoors, surrounded by many other recreational options, it’s free and open to the public. “We had always been looking for a park setting; it is all about location, location, location.”

After a successful run at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City last summer, I.FLY Trapeze headed back to the shore, but this time, the Long Island shore. I.FLY Trapeze opened its newest location in Long Beach on June 22, with efforts to bring business back to the beach and boardwalk area.

“After a lot of planning, and amazing support from City Manager Jack Schnirman and his entire team, I.FLY Trapeze will open a second location at the beach for 10 weeks,” said i.FLY Trapeze co-owner Anthony Rosamilia. Marco added, “We are excited to be a part of the continued effort to rebuild, revitalize, and renew the shores of Long Beach.”

Long Beach suffered much damage from Hurricane Sandy. The trapeze attraction is expected to boost the beach tourism through the summer.

At the Eisenhower Park location, there are about three or four staff members, making the experience a very personal one, especially for “flyers” who can choose an individual session, a group session, or one of the three, eight-week workshop sessions offered throughout the year.

“What’s great about the sessions is that they are on the same day, same time each week,” Marco said. “You really get to learn a lot more because everyone knows the drill at that point; we can just get up and fly.” He explained that the regular classes are progressive, adding onto the skills week-to-week.

There are great physical benefits to learning the flying trapeze. Marco explained that regular flyers build up their core and upper body strength, but even occasional flyers, who fly once or twice a year can gain confidence and even overcome a fear of heights.

“People show up here and think they can’t do it, but the great thing is that trapeze is about timing and momentum,” explained Marco. “You don’t have to be physically fit or have a certain ability or agility, if you are willing to get up there and give it a try, we are going to help you do it.”

There are safety measures in place for anyone who is flying on the trapeze. There is always a ground spotter, and platform spotter. Flyers are strapped into safety harnesses and attached to safety lines, in addition to the safety net that is elevated about five feet about the ground. The instructors are also attached to the safety lines and help control their student’s movement.

One flyer that recently visited I.FLY for a group session told Anton Newspapers that climbing the ladder was the scariest part of the trapeze. The ladder is completely vertical, from the ground to the flying platform, about 30 feet in the air. Marco explained that even the fear of climbing the ladder is easily resolved, even if he has to do it with one of his students. “Not everyone who comes here is scared though,” he added.

“Some people do think this is the high-flying, death-defying flying trapeze,” said Marco. “It’s really safer than say, pee wee football or skiing, trapeze is extremely safe.”

First-time flyers get ground instruction, then an in-air demonstration by an instructor. And then it’s fly-time. After basic in-air technique attempts, some flyers will choose to attempt a flying catch with an instructor, swinging simultaneously on the opposite trapeze swing.

“Our goal is to get as many people on the trapeze as we can because even if you get up and just swing, that is enough for some people,” said Marco. Others will learn the timing and techniques needed to attempt a backflip, or swing upside down, in a knee hang.

The Rosamilias say their park crowd usually caters to a lot of kids, likely because the park is very family-oriented.

One Girl Scout leader told Anton Newspapers, “The program is great and the instructors are really good with the kids.” She brought eight of her Brownie scouts from Troop #2133 for a beginner’s group session recently. The Girl Scouts of Nassau and Suffolk have participated in the I.FLY Trapeze programming since the company began in 2006.

Curious by-passers regularly stop just to watch the trapeze flyers in action at Eisenhower Park. There are picnic tables, restrooms, changing facilities, and concession available at the park location.

“All we are looking to do is to help people have a good time and accomplish something,” said Marco. “If we were doing this for the money, we wouldn’t be in the trapeze business.”

I.FLY Trapeze Eisenhower Park is located at the Aquatic Center entrance, off Merrick Avenue, open from April to October. The newest location in Long Beach is located at 45 Riverside Blvd., near Shore Road, is open through the end of August. I.FLY Trapeze is open every day except Mondays. Visit www.iflytrapeze.com or call 516-640-6995 for information or reservations.