Boing! Boing! Boing!
Julian Franco, 14, bounces from a trampoline, executing a back flip into a foam pit of red square cushions. "It's pretty awesome," proclaims the ninth-grader from St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington after he scrambles out.
Across the warehouselike space, two dozen teens bob as they lob balls at each other in trampoline dodgeball. Shayla Axelrod, 9, of Plainview, kangaroos down a lane in slam dunk basketball. "I really like basketball normally. It's even better here," Shayla says.
This is Bounce! Trampoline Sports, opening Tuesday in Syosset. Forget the circular backyard trampoline. Here, entire floors are made from springy material -- even many walls are made of them, so people can literally bounce off them, says owner Danny Fried of Manhattan. Plenty of kids were happily doing so during a recent trial run of the space.
Bounce! is open to any age -- a separate inflatables area has choices for toddlers, a Bounce Jr. court invites kids 6 and younger to jump on the trampolines with parents, and Fried plans to offer Bounce Aerobics and other classes for grown-ups.
But the sweet spot is ages 6 to 21, Fried says. Multiple courts allow referees to split kids into ages 7 to 11 and 12 and older for competitions. Fried hopes to start a college Bounce dodgeball league, and he says the foam pit offers kids in sports such as cheerleading a place to practice flips and turns without getting hurt.
Participants usually stay one to two hours, says general manager Nick Caplan of Old Westbury. "Trampolining is a workout," he says. "After two hours, you're pretty exhausted."
People can pay to take acrobatic lessons using a harness, says instructor Victor Byrne, who has worked with the Big Apple Circus. Bounce! also offers birthday parties.
Fried first saw a trampoline facility in California. The former owner of the famed China Club nightclub in Manhattan used to spend his time with acts such as Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie and says it's "quite a switch" running a facility for kids. But he has two daughters now -- Katarina, 9, and Gabriella, 6. "Twenty five years in the nightclub business is a bit much," he says.
Fried has provided comfortable chairs for parents in lounge areas equipped with free wireless Internet, regular TV and closed-circuit TVs that let them watch their kids at play. Basic snacks and drinks will be sold.
While parents have to sign a waiver, Fried says Bounce's first priority is safety. "Trampolines have a bad rap because most of the trampolines they are talking about are backyard trampolines without supervision. Kids fall off and they break bones," Fried says. "Everything in this place is cushioned with foam and padding. You can't fall off anything."
Samara Axelrod, 12, has a trampoline in her Plainview backyard. "We go on it all the time. But this is huge. It's so cool," she says. And then she flips into the foam pit.
WHEN | WHERE Open daily, 310 Michael Dr., Syosset (attached to Snapple building). Call in advance to reserve time.
INFO 516-762-1300, bounceonit.com
COST $15 first hour, $10 each additional hour.
Correction: A previous version of this story said St. Anthony's High School was located in Huntington Station instead of South Huntington. This location has been corrected.