New Yorkers are up in arms over archery — the ancient sport that’s suddenly sweeping Hollywood, too
- Last Updated: 5:48 PM, June 21, 2012
- Posted: 11:27 PM, June 20, 2012
It's 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon in Queens, and 24-year-old Antonella Castaldo is brandishing a crossbow with her raised left arm. With a look of utter determination, she draws an arrow from a steel-gray quiver that dangles from a belt loop on her jeans, hooking the weapon onto her bow. As she focuses her right eye through the bow’s sight window, she pulls back her other arm and, with a swift flick of her index finger, an arrow shoots off, whizzing through the air before hitting a blue-and-white target 30 feet away.
“I liked archery as a kid,” says Castaldo, a Morris Park, Bronx, resident, referencing her love for Robin Hood.
Castaldo, who runs a chemical engineering lab at Columbia University, is with three friends for their pal Eric’s bachelor party. The group has gathered outside Queens Archery, a brick building tucked away on a quiet Flushing street lined mostly by auto-repair shops.
They’re not the only ones rekindling their love for the once-forgotten activity. With archery making cameos in three flicks that recently shot to the top of the box office — “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers” and “Snow White and the Huntsman” — and tomorrow’s release of the Pixar-animated “Brave,” there’s been a resurgence of the graceful sport.
Individual membership to USA Archery, the national governing body under the US Olympic Committee, has spiked nearly 20 percent since last December.
“There’s been a huge uptick in archery interest over the past year — particularly in the past two to four months, which is definitely reaching a fever pitch with ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Brave,’ and the Olympic games,” says USA Archery spokeswoman Teresa Iaconi.
“[These] films are bringing the sport to the forefront of pop culture.”
Meanwhile, trend arbiters and shutterbugs are also taking note: In March, voluptuous “Mad Men” siren Christina Hendricks hit the bull’s-eye in a sexy archery photo shoot for V Magazine’s sports issue, which chose the theme partly due to the craze over quivers.
“[Archery] takes a lot of poise, and [Christina] certainly has that in spades,” says V editor Sarah Cristobal.
The piercing weapon, popularized by medieval folk hero Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, declined with the development of firearms, but saw a resurgence thanks to an 18th-century revival among the English elite, who used it as a means of flirtation.
And now, New Yorkers hoping to channel their inner warrior are taking aim at the once-ancient art: Gothamites are making a straight shot to the city’s two ranges — Queens Archery and Pro Line in Ozone Park — that are trying to keep up with rapidly rising demand.