Author: Taylor Walston
Over the last several years, especially as archery surged into the spotlight and journalists searched for story angles to ride the momentum, several New York City archery shops benefited from the buzz.
While it’s true archery went both urban and mainstream when the stars aligned and “The Hunger Games” was born (along with archery’s popularity in the 2012 summer Olympics, the movie “Brave,” and so on), it’s also true that this was the Archery Trade Association’s strategy and archery’s trajectory all along. For nearly 10 years now, the association emphasized the critical importance of meeting people where they are. In 2007, the ATA introduced its Community Archery Strategy, which put the focus on targeting densely populated, urban communities and using a city’s or county’s existing infrastructure — like its parks and recreation programs — to make archery as accessible as sports like baseball or soccer.
That brings us to New York City, the quintessential urban mecca. We wonder: what does archery look like in the city’s boroughs and who are the retailers and patrons making it thrive?
Once only a vision, these shops give us case studies in reality:
Gotham Archery, Brooklyn
Gotham Archery is an indoor archery range/archery shop in Gowanus, Brooklyn. They offer archery lessons for beginners and open ranges. If you’ve taken their intro class, then you can reserve lanes. You must be 10 or older to use the lanes.
If archery isn’t quite as…adrenaline inducing…as you’d like, they also offer knife, axe, and hatchet throwing workshops. Talk about a novelty talent to whip out at parties.
The range offers Junior Olympic Archery Development, available to ages 10-20. This is a program designed to hone in archery skills for anyone from an Olympic hopeful, to a kid that’s just looking for a new hobby. Either way, the program encourages athletic interest that is beneficial to any child.
J.B. Rose, the manager at Gotham Archery, gave us a lowdown on the range’s environment. Gotham’s cliental is mainly brand new archers. The range sees a mix of all ages, but it has a younger crowd appeal. They have good music and a clean space. They pride themselves on quality, safety and attentive staff. Rose believes archery could become more of a social event. Going to the archery range is something that can be incorporated into a night out downtown. “Archery is a sport from which you get satisfaction immediately,” said Rose. “Everyone has a warrior deep down, and archery allows you to awaken the warrior. It’s art.”
Pro Line Archery Lanes, Queens
Photo: New York Daily News
Pro Line Archery Lanes is located in Ozone Park in the heart of Queens. This range has been in its current building since the mid 70’s. Beginning as a place for archery enthusiasts to meet as a club, it has grown into the business that exists today. Staffed by U.S. National team members (who boasts many other credentials), this range is a great place to learn the craft.
This range offers the Junior Olympic Archery Development program. The ages here are 8-18. They have both a target and hunting league, accommodating all types of interests. Sportsman Education classes are also offered. These classes are free and taught by Department of Environmental Conservation certified instructors.
Pro Line’s clientele is mainly first timers taking lessons and those in their late teens/early 20s. They have light music playing and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed and homey.
Queens Archery, Queens
A division of Big Apple Archery Lanes, Queens Archery is New York City’s largest archery range. It’s located in Flushing, Queens.
They offer Junior Olympic Archery Development program by invitation only. Archery tournaments are offered every Tuesday. The tournament is a combination of luck and skill. Second and third place are determined by a drawing; the better you shoot, the more tickets go into the pot. A hunting league is also available.
Erin Vecino, manager of Queens Archery, said their clientele is “primarily couples going on date night.” The range is popular with archers in their 20’s-30’s. Archers have to be nine years old to use the range. They have 50’s music playing in the background and they like to keep the atmosphere family-friendly. The facility predominately sees customers trying archery for fun (about 90 percent are first-timers). That being said, hunting season does see more regulars.
Thanks to characters like Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye, and Merida, archery is as much an art form as it is a sport. Thanks to archery ranges like these, that art form can be taught to anyone willing to learn.
Want to make your archery shop a venue for lane rentals, fun and entertainment like the shops featured in this post? Check out the ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative and learn how it helps retailers increase profits.
If you’d like your neighborhood or city to offer a place to shoot archery that’s accessible and convenient, get started with this downloadable Archery Park Guide.