So Hurricane Sandy is on her way, and for the first time in about two months, I’m spending the day in. I guess its times like this that provide a perfect opportunity to update one’s blog- especially when I haven’t REALLY done so in about two months (save my midnight musing on time last week). I’ll start by telling you that yes, I’m safe, prepared and comfortable. All of these things are the direct result of supplying myself with plenty of merlot, bagels, water , and literature.
I’m currently alone in my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side with her cat Kilo as we await more rain and wind. I can see the neighbor’s rooftop garden from the window and already pots have started to fall over. I’d feel bad for her, but there is a reason she’s been dubbed Buddha Bitch by many.
Somehow, this is all too fitting. I’m supposed to move into my new apartment out in Astoria, Queens with my best friend Rachel this week, but of course, there’s a hurricane on it’s way. This will mark my first NY residence off the island of Manhattan, and I feel like in many ways, it marks my acceptance of adulthood. New York City makes it so easy for many of us to ignore the advancement of time and the responsibilities attached. There is always yet another Club Kid art show, a friend’s drag performance, and a million and one Groupons to entertain the inner dysfunctional child in you. I don’t know anywhere in the world where so many adults have turned cupcakes into a weekly necessity. My mother would shake her head if she knew the myriad of sweets I encounter on a daily basis… and by encounter, I mean devour.
So while I await the coming of the pseudo-apocolyptic Frankenstorm, I invite you to check back here for more narratives. That is.. until the power shuts off.
I was once walking down a cobblestone street in that city of many names when it occurred to me. Nothing in particular, just that “it” was everything and nothing all at once, and I, I was in the middle of… it. You may think its crazy, this nonsensical musing that I write, but alas its true. It happens amidst that magical moment between day and night, when the air sits between cool and warm, and the wind of a windless day is supplied by your own exhale. What is this stillness? This absence of being? A gift of time.
THOUGHTS: I was initially afraid this location would be too crowded for me to have a satisfying workout, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the gym itself is very busy, it more than makes up with a varied selection of equipment and several personal training areas to allow you to do what you need to do.
Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) Not only does the gym offer TRX Suspension Training, but it gets a five star rating simply because it offers three brands of circuit training equipment as well. The only place I’ve seen with a comparable offering is the Santa Fe Spa out in New Mexico.
Staff (* * * * Four Stars) My membership advisor was nice enough, but didn’t seem entirely enthused about the gym.
Cleanliness ( * * * * Four Stars) My only complaint here is the locker room- could always be cleaner.
Amenities ( * * * * Four Stars) This 24 Hour Fitness location has a steam room, whirlpool and a juice bar. Its actually a pretty great gym, but loses a point when measuring up to some of the competition in the areas of bathing supplies. I know, I know, but you gotta admit how impressive the whole Kiehl’s thing at Equinox is, or Complete Body and Spa’s surprising spa-like experience in it’s showers.
OVERALL RATING (* * * * 1/4 )
Who is 24 Hour Fitness Midtown for? I’d actually recommend 24 Hour Fitness to anyone who either lives in the area or doesn’t mind the trek.
THOUGHTS: You know, its actually really cool getting to underground at the Equitable Center to, of all things- work out. Something very interesting about the Athletic & Swim Club is that its designed for the busy person who doesn’t have time to carry around a gym bag- so they provide you with a full uniform sans shoes, and men, be prepared with your own compression shorts because they also have available for use, used jock straps.
Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) This is definitely a five star facility, but as always, there is definitely some competition to be had in this field.
Staff (* * * Three Stars) Everyone I encountered was nice enough, but I really love it when a gym staff interacts with you. I had one trainer tell me I was awesome for putting away my own equipment, and then went on to belittle the club members- personally, I don’t want to hear this, simply because it gives me the idea that if I were to join, I might be subject to his shady and oppressed attitude.
Cleanliness (* * * * Four Stars) This just goes with my disdain for carpeted locker rooms, the rest of the facility is spit spot and splendid.
Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) It kind of pains me to give this place a five star rating based on the added “bonus” of an adult PE Uniform, but I did kind of like it, and yes- I wore my OWN skivvies. Aside from clothing, the facility boasts an amazing Olympic- size swimming pool, whirlpools, steam room and sauna, plus a shoe shine and clothing steamer service.
OVERALL RATING ( * * * * Four Stars)
Who is The Athletic & Swim Club for? Like I said earlier- the busy person who is just too busy for a gym bag and doesn’t mind wearing underwear other people’s genitals have sweat in. I must say though- it was a very nice pool.
THOUGHTS: Woah, woah, woah was this gym crowded! This is definitely one of those “shower at home” gyms, but like a lot of people who have such memberships in midtown, its a commuter convenience. This facility seemed to be in dire need of a renovation. I’m not so sure I would have gone to this location if I knew of the lack of towel service. Mind you I had to run to the theatre district to pick up tickets and then back to the Upper West Side to shower. Since this facility has a sauna, I can’t necessarily imagine running around Manhattan with two towels in my bag, let alone one covered in sweat.
Equipment (* * * Three Stars) This place could definitely use an upgrade, but my major complaint was the heavy crowd downstairs.
Staff (* * * Three Stars) The club manager was nice enough, but tried to sell me a membership without even giving me a tour, that is definitely a red flag for me.
Cleanliness (O Stars) Harsh? Here’s why, sure NYSC had cockroaches running around it’s sauna, but at least you could sanitize your equipment after each use. Not only was the weight room completely out of sanitizing spray for the equipment, no one seemed to mind. Not to mention there were literally puddles of urine surrounding the toilet and urinal in the men’s locker room. I don’t just blame the maintenance staff for that one- I blame the people who go here.
Amenities (* * Two Stars) While there is no towel service, at least the gym HAS showers and a sauna… use at your own discretion.
OVERALL RATING ( * * Two Stars)
Who is Bally Total Fitness, Midtown East for? Honestly, people who are able to shower at home, don’t mind waiting for free weights and would rather use cardio equipment.
THOUGHTS: I was very excited to try this particular location out, and had some great assistance from membership consultant Kevin Cullen in exploring the vastness that is The Sports Club/ LA, Upper East Side. I think its possible to say that although this gym has everything you could possibly need, it might be a little too big for me. I mean this location has a legitimate full bar for goodness sakes. I must say however that this gym offers so much that if I were to, say, actually join, I might actually take up rock climbing.
Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) This gym has pretty much anything you could possibly need in abundance.
Staff (* * Two Stars) This is simply another case where I had an amazing membership consultant give me a great impression of the club before I encountered some of the other employees. One such case was when I went to swim laps in the pool. The sign clearly states you only have to wear a swim cap if you have shoulder length hair. I walked to the pool and the “life guard” shouted “hey you need a cap,” I said “alright, but the sign says you only need to wear one if you have shoulder length hair” he shrugged his shoulders, pointed at some swim caps and said “you need a cap.” He then fell asleep for the entirety of my hour long swim.
Cleanliness (* * * Three Stars) I’m never a fan of carpeted locker rooms where wet bodies drip various fluids on the floor. I don’t believe any amount of vacuuming or sanitizing can rid a carpet of the daily abuses of a men’s locker room. Also- waaay too many towels on the ground in the steam room.
Amenities (* * * * Four Stars) The roof deck makes up for the outdated sauna and steam room towel mess.
OVERALL RATING ( * * * 1/4 stars)
Who is The Sports Club/ LA for? Anyone who thinks a gin and tonic is a great pre-workout drink.
Thoughts: This place was a lot of fun for me. One of the unique offerings of Complete Body on East 57th Street is it’s rooftop saltwater lap pool. Thats right- they have a saltwater lap pool, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed having the pool all to myself after the sun set. A truly cool experience. The members were also quite interesting, I observed one older woman throwing a tantrum during the day when the young lifeguard told her that there a waiting list to swim. It was like watching Veruca Salt scream “I want it now!”
Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) This gym is great and could totally benefit from the incorporation of some of the equipment out there e.g. Power Plate, Jacob’s Ladder and the like. Otherwise this place is top notch.
Staff (* * * * * Five Stars) This place has truly awesome people working there and will gladly engage you in conversation.
Cleanliness ( * * * * Four Stars) I’d give this place five stars, but I did notice some questionable gunk in the shower tiles. Otherwise, this place is VERY clean.
Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) Like I said- rooftop saltwater lap pool! Complete also has a sauna and is the only place I’ve ever been to that offers body scrub in the showers- truly luxurious.
OVERALL RATING (* * * * 1/2 stars)
Who is Complete Body for? Complete actually offers a month by month membership which, is somewhat unique for a luxury gym. You can go on a month by month basis for $119. This gym is perfect for anyone who lives in the city and wants to maintain good form for the beach… salt water and all.
THOUGHTS: This location is conveniently close for me, a couple likable qualities hear and there, but beyond that, I can’t say that I recommend this location. With annoying array of adult men trying to openly engage in “adult activity” in the locker rooms and a general absence of etiquette among the maintenance employees and multiple members- my month at NYSC West 80th Street was something of an experience.
Equipment (* * * Three Stars) This desperately needs to be updated. While it is very cool that the facility offers TRX Suspension Training, the amount of rust on some of the gym’s equipment isn’t.
Staff ( * * Two Stars) While Desi, one of the gym’s membership consultants is a rock star employee- I didn’t appreciate the locker room attendant rapping explicative words loudly along with his head phones.
Cleanliness (* One Star) Besides the foul smell of molding body odor and urine, there was a cockroach in the sauna- need I say more?
Amenities (* One Star) What good is a sauna if it has cockroaches?
OVERALL RATING (1.75 Stars)
Who is NYSC at West 80th for? Anyone who has the time to go home to shower.
- GYM TIPS: Finding The Right Fit (whotv.com)