SPEAR Midtown - W 44th St



Located in the beautiful Bar Building steps from the infectious energy of Bryant Park and Times Square, the Midtown W. 44th Street clinic attracts commuters, neighborhood residents and tourists from all over the globe to its urban oasis. A skilled and diverse team helps an equally diverse patient population get back to life. The original Wall of inSPEARation is located here, reminding patients that success is just around the corner.

Matthew Hastings, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgMatthew Hastings, PT, DPT

Matt Hastings, Physical Therapist at SPEAR’s 44th street location, earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the New York Institute of Technology. Matt transferred to the University of Vermont from Roger Williams University, where he played NCAA Men’s Lacrosse. Following his undergraduate education, Matt lived in Colorado where he was a ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Matt has clinical experience in neurological rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient orthopedics. He believes that through optimizing human performance and movement, he can help his patients maintain a balance of health and wellness. Matt is interested in furthering his manual therapy skills, and he has a passion for injury prevention in weekend warriors and athletes alike. Matt enjoys staying active by skiing, golfing, running, lifting and climbing.

Phaeleau Cunneen, PT, CHT

Masters in Physical Therapy, Certified Hand Therapist

imgPhaeleau Cunneen, PT, CHT

Phaeleau Cunneen is a native New Yorker, who was born and raised in Stuyvesant Town and went to Stuyvesant High School. After living in Hawaii for 10 years, he returned to New York and graduated with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Touro College. Phaeleau worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery for 10 years, where he specialized in sports medicine and hand therapy, and is a Certified Hand Therapist. He was an adjunct professor for many years and has lectured at both Hunter College and Columbia University. He has presented at the APTA conference in Denver and collaborated with several physicians, and together they published an article in the Journal of Arthroplasty on total femur replacements. In addition to being a hand therapist, Phaeleau has an interest in treating running injuries and has lectured with the industry’s leading experts on this subject. Phaeleau himself ran the New York City Marathon in 2006. He has also lectured on and is passionate about ACL injury prevention in kids. When not working, Phaeleau is busy cheering on his daughter, who is on her school’s track and field team. He loves to hike, and is currently trying to hike all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks. He is on 40 for the moment. But not for long! He is an avid bicyclist, who has been bicycling in New York City for over 40 years.

Nicole Obenrader, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgNicole Obenrader, PT, DPT

Nicole earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she completed advanced courses in orthopedics. Nicole graduated with high honors from the University of Pittsburgh where she received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Activity with a focus in Exercise Science. During her time at the University of Pittsburgh, she performed in the PITT Dance Ensemble and completed a course in instructing Yoga and Pilates. Through several orthopedic affiliations, Nicole has acquired a unique set of manual and orthopedic therapy skills, and enjoys utilizing these to gain exceptional patient outcomes. Nicole’s experience as a dancer and her passion for personal fitness give her a true appreciation for movement and the capacity of the human body. Originally from Oil City, Pennsylvania, Nicole enjoys exploring the art and food culture of New York City. In her spare time, she loves hiking, antique shopping, knitting, and traveling.

Laura Paley, PT, DPT, NKT, FMT

Doctor of Physical Therapy, NeuroKinetic Therapy, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Functional Movement Techniques

imgLaura Paley, PT, DPT, NKT, FMT

Laura completed her undergraduate coursework in Kinesiology at the University of Maryland and earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Rutgers University in her home state of New Jersey. During her time at Rutgers, Laura fostered clinical experience in orthopedic, neurological, and acute care settings. Laura also has certifications in NeuroKinetic Therapy and Functional Movement Techniques. In 2016, Laura traveled to Anaheim, California, to co-present her research platform at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. Laura was drawn to physical therapy through her fascination with anatomy and movement, and her desire to provide people with the tools to improve their quality of life. She believes that there is no goal too big or too small for rehabilitation. She strives to treat the root cause of pain and dysfunction by way of movement and motor control assessment, in order to help others achieve optimal performance. An avid sports fan and participant, Laura played for the University of Maryland’s Club Rugby team. In her free time, Laura can be found shooting hoops, swinging kettlebells, and practicing Olympic weightlifting techniques. Laura also attends NeuroKinetic Therapy study groups and volunteers as a teaching assistant for NeuroKinetic Therapy courses held in Manhattan to pursue her love of learning and teaching others.

Melanie Rocchio, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgMelanie Rocchio, PT, DPT

Melanie earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Hunter College where she graduated summa cum laude and received her Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo. While at Hunter, she presented a research project on Multiple Sclerosis at a national physical therapy conference held in Portland, Oregon. She also completed clinical affiliations in acute bedside care, adult neurological rehabilitation, and outpatient orthopedics. During her undergraduate career, Melanie was a member of the Geneseo women’s soccer team. Her interest in physical therapy was piqued after suffering from a season ending injury and undergoing rehabilitation. Since pursuing physical therapy, she continues to utilize both therapeutic exercise and manual therapy techniques throughout her treatments. She has taken multiple manual therapy courses through the Institute of Physical Art and Maitland-Australian Physiotherapy Seminars. Melanie values a holistic approach to treating patients and always strives to educate and empower her patients through the use of proper movement. Melanie stays active by running, hiking, playing soccer, and practicing Bikram yoga.

Deanna Marinucci, PT, DPT, CSCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

imgDeanna Marinucci, PT, DPT, CSCS

Deanna Marinucci earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from the University of Delaware. She then received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from New York Medical College. In addition to her doctorate, Deanna is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. During her time at NYMC, Deanna conducted her doctoral research on running-related injuries and running gait analysis. Her outpatient orthopedic affiliations exposed her to a variety of diagnoses including sports related injuries, acute and chronic conditions, post-operative rehabilitation and neurological conditions. She also has clinical experience in the areas of pediatrics and trauma acute care. Deanna was first introduced to physical therapy as a result of her own shoulder injuries as a competitive swimmer. She now enjoys treating a diverse population of patients, including athletes in order optimize their performance and return them to sport. Her treatment is focused on manual therapy with an emphasis on therapeutic exercise and improving the biomechanics of functional movement. Deanna stays active by swimming, running and lifting. She enjoys participating in half marathons and volunteering at the NYC marathon medical tent. She also enjoys live music, traveling and exploring the city.

Luc Riche, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgLuc Riche, PT, DPT

Luc earned his Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University. Prior to pursuing his DPT, Luc obtained his Bachelor of Science degree with Magna Cum Laude Honors in Fitness, Nutrition & Exercise Science from Queens College, City University of New York. He then went on to obtain his Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University. During his time at Stony Brook, Luc seized the unique opportunity to compete as a graduate student on the Men’s Club Rugby Team. But what Luc is most proud of during his time at SBU is organizing a Physical Therapy Mission Trip to Haiti, where he worked with underserved adults and pediatric patients with neurological and orthopedic dysfunction. Luc’s clinical affiliations include experience in various settings such as acute & subacute care, outpatient vestibular/neurological/orthopedic/sports rehab, and strength & conditioning facilities for D1 collegiate athletes. Most of Luc’s affiliations were completed in New York with the exception of his time in Florida, where we interned at Boca Raton Regional Hospital & XPE speed, strength & conditioning facility. During this time, Luc gained experience with both adult patients throughout the acute care setting as well as athletes in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, and those preparing for the 2017 NFL combine. When Luc is not helping individuals of all levels get back to the activities that they love, he enjoys exercising, playing sports, & volunteering.

Joshua Kaufman, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgJoshua Kaufman, PT, DPT

Joshua Kaufman earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Medical College after earning his Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences & Public Health from Syracuse University. Josh’s clinical experience includes orthopedics, sports rehabilitation, acute/subacute rehabilitation and neurological rehabilitation. Josh grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey just outside New York City. He played soccer and ran track during his high school years. During his junior year of college, Josh spent six months abroad in London where he also traveled to Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. It was during his travels overseas where he discovered his passion and pursuit for the field of Physical Therapy. During his three years in graduate school, Josh conducted research on Pediatric balance outcomes for his doctoral thesis and has recently submitted his project to the American Physical Therapy Association. One of his group mates for this project is also a Physical Therapist at SPEAR in the West 67th Street office. In his free time, Josh enjoys running, weight lifting, and swimming during the summer time.

Michelle Dearwater, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgMichelle Dearwater, PT, DPT

Michelle Dearwater received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Columbia University in New York City. Michelle has a diverse background in business, graduating Cum Laude from San Diego State University in 2005. After changing gears and going back to school to pursue her true passion, Michelle became a Physical Therapist in order to help the lives of others. Michelle has had extensive clinical experience in orthopedics, sports rehabilitation, gait training, post-operative care, and neurorehabilitation. While attending PT school, Michelle volunteered at several pro bono clinics throughout the city. In addition, she completed research to improve functional activities for persons with spinal cord injuries using specialized training in aerobics, strength conditioning and manually resisted balance techniques. During her former education, Michelle lived and studied in Singapore and had the opportunity to travel throughout South East Asia. Michelle was first introduced to PT as a varsity soccer player with an ACL injury and had her own journey to recovery. Michelle lives an active lifestyle, loves to travel, be outdoors and enjoys adventure. Always a sports fan, she loves an opportunity for a good game and enjoys friendly competition.

Lisa Yirce, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgLisa Yirce, PT, DPT

Lisa Yirce is the Clinical Director of SPEAR’s Chelsea location. She graduated summa cum laude with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Stony Brook University. Lisa has extensive clinical experience in sports medicine orthopedics, post-operative rehabilitation, manual therapy, and functional training techniques. She enjoys treating a diverse patient population and is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care through an individualized approach. Lisa leads an active lifestyle and has participated in many sports throughout her life, such as track and field, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Lisa first found her passion for physical therapy after suffering from an injury herself while running and then undergoing the rehabilitation process first hand. These experiences strengthened her ability to empathize with her patients and to truly relate to their needs when guiding them back to the activities that they love. Lisa was born and raised in New York. She loves exploring the city’s diverse cuisine, spending time with family and friends, and going to concerts and sporting events. Lisa stays active by running and strength training.

David Block, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

imgDavid Block, PT, DPT

David Block is the Clinical Director of SPEAR’s Penn Plaza location. He earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy with distinction from the New York Institute of Technology. While at NYIT, David received the Benjamin Morey Commitment to Excellence Award and the Alpha Eta Student Research Award. His graduate research study, entitled “Can the Substitution of Shoulder Internal Rotation for External Rotation during ULNT3 Evoke a Comparable Neurodynamic Response in Embalmed Cadavers?” was published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy in 2015. David has taken a special interest in treating cases involving pathology of the spine and is currently studying with the McKenzie Institute in pursuit of achieving a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment (MDT) of spinal disorders. He also enjoys treating a variety of orthopedic conditions and places an emphasis on manual therapy. David grew up on Long Island, NY, and enjoyed playing soccer, hockey, and tennis both competitively and for leisure. He is an active member of the United States Tennis Association and is currently ranked as a 4.0.. In David’s free time, he enjoys reading, listening to music and hanging with his dog.


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