BAYSIDE, QUEENS — A new social club is opening up in Bayside near the corner of Northern and Bell Boulevards.
Extreme Muay Thai Kickboxing is expanding its location at 43-23 Bell Blvd. to create a community house, called The Bell Club, for Bayside residents of all ages.
The martial arts academy, open since June, used to be just a gym, but co-owner Meg Hall told Patch that the business is in the process of remodeling so as to accommodate an event venue, fitness gym and an upstairs arts center.
“We started out renting the space on the weekends to hold our kickboxing classes, and sometimes, we would cut class short and just turn the lights off to let the kids dance,” said Hall, who was born and raised in Bayside. “They had so much fun, fun they weren’t having by just running in and out of class.
A lot of the children taking kickboxing classes have been victims of bullying, Hall said, while other children— and their parents — speak English as a second language.
“There’s no real way for them to integrate in the community. No one says ‘hi’ [in Bayside] anymore,” Hall told Patch.
And from that notion emerged the idea to establish a multifunctional community space, Hall said. (For more information on this and other neighborhood stories, subscribe to Patch to receive daily newsletters and breaking news alerts.)
Hall owns The Bell Club alongside retired Muay Thai fighter Pino Lacosta — known locally by his professional alias “Extreme.” It’s from this moniker that the kickboxing academy gets its name.
The academy is not gone, however; open to ages 3 to 73 (literally), it has become one part of the whole, a “labor of love,” as Hall called it.
Remodeling is ongoing for the time being, but for children, parents and other Bayside locals looking for a place to have fun and build relationships with fellow residents, Hall is inviting them to stop in and say hello.
Images by Patch