• Image about Trapeze School New York
Justin Steele

A few hours underthe small top sends one writer (and her nerves) soaring.

With just two rungs to go, I'm stuck. The ladder, the sort normally propped against a house by a painter, is leaning against a blue-carpeted platform that is 23 feet in the air. The platform has no walls and, aside from a wobbly looking (or so it seems) black metal thing sticking up from it, offers no apparent place to hold on.

"What do I do now?" In my not-panicked-but-not-exactly-clear-thinking state, it seems like a perfectly reasonable question.

"Keep climbing," says the instructor, peering down at me with a bit of an amused grin from atop the platform.

Gee, thanks.

"Can I grab that?" I ask, pointing at the black metal thing.


Well, that's really all he had to tell me in the first place.

I have been at trapeze school for less than 30 minutes, and already I have dealt with my two odd fears: stepping over the top of a ladder and anything that reminds me of grade school gym class (just the thought of the President's Challenge Physical Fitness Test is enough to send this 35-year-old back to bed with a pretend fever).

Before you consider me brave for challenging my fears, let me admit to one thing: Going to trapeze school was not my idea. But when my editor asked if I would, the I'll-do-anything-for-a-story part of me (coupled with the lingering determination of a younger sister who, as a kid, was constantly challenged by her older brother) kicked in, and, within minutes, I was on the phone with Trapeze School New York, setting up my high-flying lesson.

The school is one of those funny New York City things. Everybody I mentioned it to had seen it - you pass right by it when you drive down the West Side Highway or toddle down the riverside jogging path - but nobody I knew had actually scaled that ladder. There's a chance my friends just prefer earthbound activities, but I think there's something more to it than that. It's like an of-the-moment NYC restaurant: Some New Yorkers are dying to go but never get around to making reservations, while others just don't see the need. Well, it's time they (and anybody visiting NYC) get off the jogging path and scale the ladder.