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Upper East Side

My New York City Gym Review: Boom Fitness, Upper East Side

THOUGHTS: Well, let me start off by telling you that this is the gym that made me want to start posting this project TODAY, and not in a good way. Also- a little reminder that for two blissful years I belonged to the Upper West Side Equinox at 92nd Street and Broadway. During that time I lived at 122nd Street and Broadway, 162nd Street and Broadway, and 102nd Street and Amsterdam, and I still went all the way to that gym. BOOM offers a free 3 day trial on it’s main page, and to be honest, this club definitely sits in my current price range. After Ford Model James Collins suggested I try this location out, I thought “why not?” Well, when I went in for my free trial, the general manager Antonio Del Giudice flat out told me that he didn’t want to give me a 3 day pass because I didn’t live in the 10028 zip code, but would gladly register me for a membership and refund my money if I was dissatisfied in three days. Okay… WHAT? Currently I live clear across the park at a 10024 zip code, and since I’m newly in this residence I gave them my old 102nd street address. The lovely Antonio Del Giudice also made the assumption out loud “there’s no way you’re going to come all the way here for a gym.” Excuse me? Did I mention I went to a 92nd Street gym while living at 162nd Street? Not to mention, I’m ALWAYS in that neighborhood. Between Brandy’s Piano Bar and Trinity Pub on East 84th Street… well I’ve practically made a second residence on the Upper East Side. He then went on to say “isn’t there another gym closer to you that you can go to instead? I just have to be thoughtful of the people who actually live in this area.”  He eventually gave me the trial anyway after huffing and puffing about the “annoying people from The Bronx” who come in for a trial session. To top it all off, I wouldn’t have included all this if, when I was getting dressed at the end of my workout, I hadn’t heard him tell an employee in the locker room “… and then I had this fucking guy from the West Side come in for a free trial.” Oh…  I’m sorry, but save your customer service woes for the bar, you know- when you aren’t working. So thank you Antonio Del Giudice for the delicious content, I actually appreciate it. And yes, I’m still going to rate this location

Equipment (* * * * Four Stars) The equipment at BOOM was actually pretty good, save the leg press that wouldn’t lock in properly without some severe effort… not the safest experience. I did appreciate the kettle bells.

Staff (* One Star) The only person who gets a star is the girl who sold me my energy drink- you all know why.

Amenities (* * * Three Stars) Sure there’s towel service and the basic steam/ sauna combo I usually seek out, but I don’t like that you have to get your towels at the gym’s entrance- this makes it difficult if you decide use the steam room or sauna while you’re taking a shower. Then what? Get dressed, grab another towel, undress, go in the steam room and shower again? Too much work- unless there is actually space in the locker room that wasn’t being kept up properly with the necessity… then that’s a staffing fail.

Cleanliness (* * * * Four Stars) The gym was pretty clean save the towels all over the floor in the men’s locker room… dislike!

OVERALL RATING  (* * * Three Stars)

Who BOOM is for? Not me… and if you don’t live inside the 10028 zip code, they don’t want you either.

Charlotte and “The Great Gatsby”

“Hey You! Great Gatsby!” yelled Charlotte as Chef  Ryan Sharp and I chased the busty waitress down 58th Street.

My friend Ryan and I were catching up outside one of our favorite bars when we came across this blonde Irish woman named Charlotte who, after telling us she had “quit her sorry job today”, whisked us away with her charismatic speech and lofty promises of an amazing evening just down the street at a bar called “Sin Bin”. In reality it was just an Irish Pub with the same old rugby fans cheering on their team, the only difference was that this bar was heavily clad in Halloween decor.

“What?” asked Ryan who was trying to make the connection between the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and this short Irish woman now drunkenly running across the street.

“I have no idea…” I replied confused.

“Aye!” said Charlotte “I mean that , hmm…” She scratched her head for a second after realizing we weren’t privy to her thought process.  “Well I always see this man around the city, and for some reason or another I thought of him just now. We had a conversation once when he was feeling sorry for himself, and I relayed to him why I find the first chapter of ‘The Great Gatsby’ to be the best-written words in all literature.” The pint-sized woman stopped her haste and conversation while she  lit a cigarette. Ryan and I listened.

“This poor man was just so negative I had to tell him my favorite line lads.” She crinkled her nose with her hand on her hip while staring  upward to recall the quote verbatim. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.” She started her jogging pace again while she told us, “Those words have always gotten me by because… its true! No matter how hard things are, there is always going to be someone else out there, without a roof over their head, a meal to eat or a drink to have… so boys, let’s go have us a pint!”

Another NYC lesson learned.

Urban Hot Spot: Copia

Exterior shot of Copia (taken from Copianyc.com)

Located at 307 East 53rd Street in Manhattan, Copia serves up a deliciously wide range of food, drink and entertainment. Why go out to dinner before hitting the club when you can enjoy your favorite foods right at your favorite hot spot?

sliders, fries, chicken and beer... who could ask for anything more?

Copia’s food menuserves up a familiar array of all your favorite standards… and the scene? Copia boasts some of the best people watching I’ve ever experienced in the city.

One of Copia's many bar areas

Besides serving up some great food, cocktails (be sure to try the club’s specialty cocktail Love Lychee), the service was impeccable. Upon discovering we were celebrating my dear friend Rachel Hall’s last evening in New York City before leaving to Shreveport Opera, the club’s owner, Junior Santiago graciously ushered us to a private VIP section and treated us to a round of Patron and cocktails- truly a gracious host.

So the next time you’re looking for a place where you can eat, drink, dance, play beer pong, or even guest bar tend… check out East 53rd St’s Copia, you’ll be glad you did.

Snow Day

What is it about the thought of an impending snow day that sends everyone into a flurry? Yesterday, I decided for whatever reason that it would be smart to take a cab home from school. I know- traveling by car is exactly the type of thing you don’t want to do in a weather-induced state of emergency. Hey now, I was tired, and I was really missing a friend of mine I’ve been neglecting lately… Sleep.

Anyways, I hailed a taxi from the corner of 122nd and Broadway, from where my driver decided to turn right/ uphill so we could take Riverside Drive. We almost made it to Claremont when the vehicle started sliding all over the place and inevitably backward towards Broadway. I nervously pattered a catalogue of four letter words as the taxi’s rear bumper neared our starting point with impressive haste. When my driver finally, and thankfully regained control of the vehicle I asked him if he could take a different route, to which he replied “Get out, we’re going to die… please take a snow mobile!”

Its moments like these that make me miss New Mexico, and also make wonder why my friends ever question my desire to stay inside when the white stuff pays a visit. Luckily for me, my good friend Danielle (see Vampire Jacob? for pic) was able to do the impossible this afternoon in making me join her and several of our friends for a snow day visit to Central Park.

Initially intended to be a sledding adventure, my friends and I decided to wait for our friend Adele in an untouched snowy patch of awesome near the West 72nd street entrance to Central Park. While she made her way to join us, we began building snow men, and of all things, a fort. After about an hour of sculpting (and laughs from passersby), a group of elementary school children enthused by our architectural efforts ran inside our fort.

The children quickly suggested a snowball war against the female members of our group. In retaliation, our girls unsuccessfully tried to claim a giant evergreen to hide under as the munchkins attacked them fiercely with impeccable aim. Mind you, my group totaled 6- Lindsey, Adele, Nicole, Danielle, Tyler and me. This left me and Tyler to deal with about 10 children setting up camp in our fort while charging after the girls.

After watching what seemed like a mash-up gone wrong between Lord of The Flies and Gossip Girl, we convinced the children that, since they worked so well together, to be on their own team, with the understanding they were free to take our fort when we abandoned ship. With a wicked smile, the self-proclaimed leader, and Jacob-proclaimed Lord of The Flies agreed.

Now that the girls were safe behind our fortress walls, we were able to rightfully declare a snow war. Hey now, I know what you’re thinking… six college students against a group of seven year olds seems highly unfair, but I must impress upon you the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages.

We must have lasted about five minutes while the children feverishly attacked us. Each of us was targeted and successfully hit in the head with several snowballs as onlookers laughed and added sports commentary while taking pictures and video. After we realized that we had clearly been beaten… and pummeled, we retreated, and gave up our fort for the children to occupy. Before we took to the yellow stained road, several of the munchkin’s parents and babysitters thanked us for playing with their kids as well as entertaining them.

As we were about to head back toward the street, we all decided  on an impulse to continue with our initial plan to go sledding. After about fifteen minutes of wandering about the beautiful winter wonderland that I wish Christmas could be, we found ourselves at the Bethesda Terrace cheering a group of daredevils (and eventually Tyler) as they raced down a makeshift hill and ramp on the steps which lead down to the famous fountain. Finally, just east of the terrace, we found ourselves claiming an empty pathway to sled on.

After about thirty minutes of laughs, failures and screams, we slowly meandered back to Central Park Park West where I bid my friends goodbye out of sheer necessity to thaw. I’m happy to report that my toes still number ten and they are indeed now warm and dry :-)

Stiff Drink/ Limp Collar

The other weekend I went to another piano bar by myself. When I arrived, I ordered a Gin and Tonic and began conversing with a friend of mine I spotted in the front lounge when a spastic gentleman in a navy blue suit walked in. He began going up to random people introducing himself. When he came my direction, he looked at me and said “This used to be a true gentleman’s club, you would have never been let in twenty years ago.”

“I hope not” I replied “I was two.”

“What I mean” said the man “is that this bar used to require that all it’s patrons to at least wear sports coats when they came, and I’m afraid you are way too under dressed.”

“Well I’m sorry to disappoint you” I told the man mildly irritated, “maybe you should go find the people who wore jeans and inform them of their folly.”

“Will do!” said the man, who actually resembled the dad from “Honey I Shrunk the Kids!”

When I finally went to the piano room, I found the man (who I have since found out was a therapist from Chicago)lecturing several random men on their choice of attire.
It was long before the therapist spotted me and invited himself over to provide more of his practical clothing thoughts. Mind you, I was wearing black Chinos and a gray and white striped dress shirt… both from Banana Republic, so I wasn’t in terrible form.

“I have a few more words for you” said the therapist from Chicago.

“And what are they?” I asked.

“First of all… you need a better dry cleaner, and secondly, that shirt really needs some collar stays.”

Before I could say anything remotely witty, the man turned and directed his focus on a young man in jeans.

“Well that was rude” said another man who was in close proximity to my short conversation with the style expert.

“Eh..” I replied “My shirt isn’t that wrinkled is it?”

“Not at all” replied the stranger “but it could use these.” The man then handed me a small fabric pouch labeled “PINK.”

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Collar stays” replied the stranger “they’re yours.”

“Wait… you go around carrying collar stays with you?”

“Not usually, but I went shopping for my nephews today and bought a few extra, I thought you might appreciate these after your close encounter with the strange kind.”

I thanked the man for his random gift and shared a few words with him before he left. After I finished my gin and tonic, I went into the men’s room and I fixed my collar.


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