Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Katniss Everdeen, come on down to Gowanus.
Brooklyn's only full-time archery range has arrived.
Gotham Archery opened its doors in June at 480 Baltic St. near Third Avenue. The new facility is right down the block from the new kids-only tennis club, Court 16.
The fictional heroine of the “Hunger Games,” known for her prowess with a bow and arrow, would surely dig the spiffy new archery range built in a former can recycling facility.
The space is divided up so beginners can try out archery among fellow beginners in one room, while more advanced archers can do their thing in another. There are 20 lanes (which are corridors with targets at the end) in the beginner room and 10 lanes in the more advanced room.
The separation is meant to increase the comfort level of newbies to the ancient sport.
“We don't want this to be intimidating,” Ken Hsu, a managing member of the business, told Eye on Real Estate. “If it's a bad experience, they won't come back.”
One of the many ways instructors make things fun for archery newcomers is by hanging ping-pong balls on their targets. Anyone who shoots an arrow through a ball gets a free T-shirt. (So far, Gotham Archery has given away more than 100 T-shirts.)
A word to parents of small children who long to follow in Katniss Everdeen's oh-so-skilled footsteps: For now, kids must be a minimum of 10 years old to be customers at Gotham Archery.
“It's for our insurance policy,” he said.
The sport is a great thing for 21st-Century kids, he said: “Archery is a viable alternative to video games. It helps kids with focus. It's a confidence-builder.”
In November, Gotham Archery will start a program called Junior Olympic Archery Development for kids ages 10 to 18 who want to really get into the sport. Initially it will take place on Saturdays and Sundays. But if there is enough interest, there will also be an after-school JOAD program.
It took Hsu and his partners long months of searching to find a building to rent. They looked in Long Island City, Queens, and in other parts of Brooklyn.
Some people told them, “You don't have enough archers to sustain a business in Brooklyn,” he recalled. But they took a chance on Gowanus — and have gotten a good reception: “On the weekend, it's bonkers,” he said.
The landlord, an LLC with Martin McMahon as a member, purchased the building for $1.1 million in 2012, Finance Department records show.
Hsu, who learned archery as an adult, said he would have loved to have learned the sport as a kid.
His dad was from mainland China, his mom from Taiwan. They kept him on a strict after-school schedule with an hour per day devoted to each homework subject and an early bedtime, he said.