GOWANUS — A new 7,500-square–foot archery center for both beginners and experienced archers is officially opening in Gowanus this week.
Gotham Archery began as an initiative between childhood friends Ken Hsu and Jimmy Pang, co-owners of the new center.
The center, at Baltic and Nevins Streets, will feature two spaces — a larger room with 20 archery lanes for those new to the sport and a smaller room with 10 lanes for more experienced archers. Each lane can accommodate two people.
By splitting the groups, Hsu and Pang hoped to create an encouraging enviroment for beginners who might feel intimidated, said Hsu, 36.
Archery is a sport for people of almost all ages and experience levels, said Hsu, who added that the center’s only age restriction is no children under 10 years old.
“Literally anybody is able to do this sport,” said Hsu.
Anyone who wishes to participate at the center must first take an introductory class, which includes a 15-minute lesson from a USA Archery certified instructor and 45 minutes of practice at $25.
The price also includes renting equipment that can be used all day so archers who want to continue shooting can purchase additional hours.
Hsu picked up archery about five years ago but got serious about it a little more than two years ago. The duo behind Gotham Archery was so keen on the sport that they would travel to Long Island, where they were coached by Anthony Camera, author of "Shooting the Stickbow."
Gotham Archery plans to offer leagues and Junior Olympic Archery Development, a program for young archers joining the sport, according to the center’s website.
The beginner’s lanes will officially open Friday and the space for experienced archers will be ready in about two weeks.
Starting out with good form and technique is crucial for first-time archers, said Hsu. The instructors, who are called range safety officers, will not only monitor the lanes but also assist archers while they practice.
“Small things like that really will make you a much better archer,” he added. “We’re… trying to make that first experience great.”