Brunswick Center Focus


4th Annual Great Jersey City Clean Up: April 13th


REPOST via Mira Prinz-Arey

The City of Jersey City will be hosting our 4th Annual Great Jersey City Clean Up on Saturday, April 13th from 10-2pm.

To volunteer please sign up here:
http://bit.ly/4thGreatJerseyCityCleanUp2019

Residents, neighborhood groups and community leaders are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and help clean our city on a single day! There will be a main tent in every location ( see flyer attached) where volunteers will gather before heading to their clean up zones. Light breakfast will be provided and there will be staff from city and county agencies providing informational materials and give-aways.

Read more via the BGT Enterprises Facebook page

Faces of the Brunswick Center: Fleurdelis

By: Jennifer Belcher

Fleurdelis’ incredible transition.

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Instagram when I found myself frozen in awe at a transformation post by Jersey City Kickboxing.  I knew immediately that I needed to feature the woman in the photo in our “Faces of the Brunswick Center” series. Her side by side transformation was nothing short of incredible.  After learning more of the story behind the photograph, I realized it was far more than just a “before and after” weight loss journey. Fleurdelis’ inspirational story is one of dedication, motivation, commitment, and family.

Fleurdelis first came to Jersey City Kickboxing 2 years ago as a parent who had her two boys enrolled at the academy.

“Both my boys are being trained by Coach Paul, Coach Ralph, and Coach Sosa.  My oldest started training 2 years ago,” she explains.

Fleurdelis’ oldest son at JC Kickboxing

In February of 2018 Fleurdelis started her own fitness journey.  At 210 lbs, she was fed up with always feeling tired and unhealthy.  She knew if she did not make a dramatic change in the way she was living her life, she could end up with diabetes, a disease which runs in her family.

“With having two boys I couldn’t bear the thought of them having to see their mom so unhealthy. I started going to the gym 30 mins a day for 7 days a week since this was all my body could tolerate. This went on for about a month,” recounts Fleurdelis.  

Her youngest son in action

As she slowly built up her strength and endurance she was able to add more to her weekly routine.  At first she added fitness classes such as Zumba and weightlifting. She kept this up until June of 2018 when she realized she needed to up the challenge even more for maximum results.  Familiar with her sons’ instructor Coach Paul, the owner of Jersey City Kickboxing, she reached out to him for advice.

“Once I realized I needed a more intense workout, I spoke with Paul and he suggested I try out the adult classes.”

Kickboxing proved to be exactly what she needed to push her mind and body and help her finally reach her health and fitness goals.  From February to June, Fleudelis lost 20-30lbs. However, her major weight loss and toning came from kickboxing where she lost a total of 50-60lbs.  It wasn’t always an easy and happy process, however. Halfway through her journey, her eldest son came to her and confessed that he was being bullied over his weight.  Kids were telling him that he was heavy because his mom is heavy. This was exactly what she needed to give her the will to continue what she had started.

    “A mother will do anything to always protect her children,” she said.

Love for her sons drove her to lifelong change.

Along with working out, she also focused on changing her eating habits.

“Losing weight and toning are not all about working out. It also comes from the kitchen. A year later I have been able to keep the weight off and am healthier than ever,” she proudly states.

Currently Fleurdelis attends classes at Jersey City Kickboxing Monday – Friday.  The best part is, she’s been able to make it into a family affair. From 5-7pm each of her family members is involved in a class.  Her youngest son attends the 5pm class, her teen attends class at 6pm class, and she rounds out the evening by taking the 7pm adult class.

For Fleurdelis, kickboxing is more than just a challenging workout.  It is a special part of her life that helped show her what exactly she was capable of, mentally and physically.

“Kickboxing has changed my life, especially when it comes to my fitness level. I was never into any type of physical workouts, but kickboxing doesn’t feel like a normal work out. It is intense and fun at the same time. I was never one to exercise as the commitment necessary to make it work was somehow never attainable. However, that all changed when I met Paul Clark and started to attend kickboxing classes.  JC Kickboxing has shown me how to incorporate the art of Muay Thai and the correct form of boxing.”

Changes happened both inside and out

Fleurdelis finds the classes to be strategically structured and having the ability to take both cardio kickboxing and Muay Thai classes is a great experience. She speaks highly of her coach and owner Paul, complimenting him on his ability to train a variety of clients, regardless of their fitness level.  

“He works on your strengths and weaknesses, improving all aspects of total body fitness.”

Complimenting the obvious benefits to her weight and physical fitness, her classes have proven to make an impact in other parts of her life.  

“Being a teacher, kickboxing has helped me in lowering my stress level, given me more energy, burned calories, has boosted my confidence to a very high level, and toned my entire body.  It also helps me learn self-defense moves which is something all women should learn.”

In addition to being able to take part in an activity with her actual family, Fleurdelis has also developed a second family through Jersey City Kickboxing.  She applauds the staff’s ability to create a welcoming, warm, and friendly environment which has enabled her to create loving relationships that make her feel like she has known her coaches and classmates for years.  She even was able to meet the owner of Worry Woo’s, another Brunswick Center business, who she attends morning classes with and has given her advice for her teaching career.

Through group classes, she was able to make lasting connections.

Motivated by her two young sons and her desire to turn her life around and get healthy, Fleurdelis set herself on a determined path of change and devotion.  Through a local community of expert teachers and students, she found exactly what she needed to spark her transformation and to continually push her past new challenges and obstacles each day.

Jersey City Kickboxing is located on the 3rd floor of the Brunswick Center and is owned and operated by Paul Clark.  For more information on Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and other services visit www.njkickbox.com.

Paul Clark (left), owner of Jersey City Kickboxing


Hudson Play: Developing Families from the Inside Out

Hudson Play is located on the main level of the Brunswick Center.

In our society, we often consider February a month of love.  While much of the focus is on romantic love, love extends far beyond our love for a partner.  Love is all encompassing and includes our children, family, friends, pets, and ourselves. But as we all know, love isn’t always easy.  It needs time, focus, effort, and determination.

When developing Hudson Play in the Brunswick Center, Ilana Libman was focused on fostering love and geared her efforts on helping to encourage strong families from the inside out.  At the forefront of this indoor playground is the physical benefits for the children who jump, skip, and climb their way through the four-lane obstacle course and free play areas.  However, for Libman, Hudson Play can offer so much more for every member of the family.

Ilana Libman, owner of Hudson Play, pictured on the left

As we all know, modern parents are busier than ever and finding time for personal needs can be a monumental endeavor.  However, making time for spouses, partners, and friends fosters positive changes in relationships with children as well.  According to a 2018 Washington Post Article by Whitney Pipkin, couples who go on dates regularly have stronger communication skills, fewer conflicts and work towards developing closeness.  These qualities directly impact the well-being of children as well.    

Libman, who is a busy working mom and constantly on the go, wanted to use her business as an opportunity for Jersey City parents to have stress-free adult time with family or friends.  Therefore she created “Parent’s Night Out” offered every Friday night at Hudson Play.  The weekly event really aims to support both the children and adult members of the family.

“Parents can leave their children with us, knowing they are exercising, socializing, eating well, and are playing safely.  It’s cheaper than a babysitter, and we are located so close to downtown.  The Brunswick Center is a three minute walk to Newark Ave where all the popular restaurants are located.  It couldn’t be more convenient, ” Libman states.

In addition to the large obstacle course, children have access to games and other activities.

In addition to offering children an opportunity to stay physically active (regardless of weather)  and socialize with new or existing friends, Hudson Play is also committed to developing healthy eating habits.  

“Parents do not have to worry about leaving their child someplace where they have access to junk food full of sugar and preservatives.  As a mom, I know the importance of nutrition.  When children are here, they have the option to eat from our cafe where everything we offer is healthy and made from scratch.   I wanted the overall experience of ‘Parent’s Night Out’ to feel guilt free in every aspect of the care we provide.”

Children have access to healthy and homemade treats from the Health BAR cafe.

On the surface, Hudson Play may appear solely as a local opportunity for young children to get their wiggles out and burn energy.  However, through programs such as “Parent’s Night Out”, residents of Jersey City can develop their families in a much more comprehensive way, strengthening both the physical and emotional health of every member of the household.  

Currently, Parent’s Night Out is offered every Friday evening from 6pm-10pm.  The program is by reservation only, which can be done online.  Hudson Play does not take walk-ins for this event.  Parents can drop off their children for a fun pajama party which includes dinner, open play, games, crafts, movies, and more.  This program is available for children ages 4ys-12yrs and is $39.00 per child with a 50% off sibling discount. This Valentine’s Day, Hudson Play is offering an extended drop off from 6pm-11pm.

For more information on Parent’s Night Out, registration and to learn more about other available programs at Hudson Play, please visit: https://www.hudsonplaynj.com/.  

-Jennifer Belcher

Faces of the Brunswick Center: Danielle Bisordi


Bisordi performing a smooth routine with her instructor Dylan Cary

This week, as I gave pause to reflect on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I was reminded of his great and earnest belief in community.  He so deeply maintained a globalized view in which we are all-inclusive, just, socially minded, and based in love for one another.

He stated, “Let us live together in peace and love in a Beloved Community.”

The Brunswick Center is founded in the idea of community.  But what is community without those individuals who comprise it?  When I think of community, yes, I think of places and space.  However, what is community, truly, without the beloved faces who weave in and out of the brick and mortar, bringing forth love, compassion and inclusivity?

The faces of the Brunswick Center, a new blog series, will feature the individuals who make the center a second home to so many Jersey City residents.

There is not a day that I walk into the Brunswick Center without passing the warm and ever-happy face of Danielle Bisordi. I couldn’t wait to have an opportunity to hear her story about what brought her to the center and the significance it has had in her life.

Danielle, who lives down the street from the Brunswick Center, watched the three- story building during its renovation, having no idea the special place in her heart the building would eventually hold.  Danielle, who ended up having her wedding dance choreographed by Jersey City Ballroom, was always curious about what the space would become.

“I live down the street so I saw it when it was going under renovations and looked up what it was going to be.  I didn’t know about Jersey City Ballroom until the sign on the side of the building went up,” Bisordi says.

It was incredibly convenient for the couple, a deciding factor in where they would learn their first dance. Danielle and her husband officially started taking lessons at the center in July of 2017 and now she regularly attends classes and private lessons three to four times a week.  I asked her why she continued to come back after their wedding was over.

The couple started coming to the Brunswick Center in preparation for their upcoming wedding.

“I danced for my whole life growing up until I went to college and had been considering coming back to it for a while.  Taking lessons for my wedding dance, along with the community at JCB, reminded me of how much I loved it, so I kept coming back.”

It was more than just a love of dance, however, that had Danielle returning to the Brunswick Center day after day.  For her, the sense of community and the friendships she has been able to establish have helped her solidify her connection with the “building down the street”.

“Jersey City Ballroom does an amazing job of fostering a sense of community amongst everyone who takes lessons/classes there.  We have made some incredible friends there.  I definitely feel more connected to Jersey City because of it.  Living so close to the center… it’s great running into people while I’m just going about my day.  I’ve also found out about some events in Hudson County I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise due to the JCB performances (i.e. JC Cultural Arts Family Festival, Bayonne Arts and Music Festival) even though I’ve lived here for 13 years,” Bisordi says. 

Danielle has made lasting friendships from her time at the Brunswick Center.

Even Danielle’s husband has jumped on the bandwagon.  In December the couple danced in the smooth performance team together and she and Kiel performed a fun solo routine that had the whole audience laughing.  I asked Danielle what effect coming to the center together had on their marriage.

“We are better dancers, have another fun activity to do together, and have made some really good friends through the JCB community.”

In addition to her many ballroom classes each week and grabbing an occasional smoothie at the Health Bar Cafe in Hudson Play, Danielle wants to try other classes offered at the center.  She mentioned that she really wants to try an aerial and hoop class at Body Pole and Soul, a newer studio a few doors down from Jersey City Ballroom.

For Danielle and her husband, the Brunswick Center has played a vital role in their health, recreation, friendships, and community while being residents of Jersey City.

“The Brunswick Center is an awesome central place that provides opportunities to try new things and meet great people.”

Danielle and Kiel performing together at the Holiday Soiree in December.

The great Dr. King spoke frequently and emphatically of the importance of community.  The Brunswick Center’s ability to create a space that meets the needs of a diverse population was no accident.  When I spoke to Ben Torrei, managing partner of BGT Enterprises, he was very clear with his vision of the role the center would play in the lives of our local residents.

“My intention for the Brunswick Center was to provide the Jersey City community with a place that they can explore and experience a variety of education, health and wellness opportunities. Whether it’s Pilates, Ballroom dancing, or Ballet, there’s something for everyone here at the center. You can drop off your kid at the Brunswick School, bring your laptop, grab a smoothie at Hudson Play and relax in our 2nd Floor lounge area or sign up a 30 min spin class with Core Cycling,” says Torrei.  

The people of the Brunswick Center are those who help to create the sense of community that so many of us find appealing.  When I walk into the Brunswick Center on any given day, and I see those familiar smiles and nods of recognition, I recognize that I am a part of something bigger than myself.  I am a part of a group of individuals who all view this center as a pivotal part of their well-being, friendships, and day to day life in Jersey City. 

-Jennifer Belcher