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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.

My New York City Gym Review: CLAY

THOUGHTS: This is the gym that initially gave me the inspiration to write this string of reviews and comparisons. I received a 2 week pass to CLAY inside an event gift bag and managed to score another for my friend Madeleine Phillips. Let me just say that my trial was utter paradise. With the club’s membership cap, it was never crowded which meant one very important thing to me- I could try out new activities without feeling like I was being watched with judgement by some douche bag jock. In other words- places like this are why I can actually squat 250+ lbs now.

Equipment (* * * * * Five Stars) Besides various Equinox locations, this is one of the only gyms I’ve been to that has a  Power Plate , and the only place that I’ve experienced a Jacob’s Ladder. This place also has awesome cardio and strength training equipment.

Staff (* * * * * Five Stars) Not only are the front desk and membership reps at this location rock stars, but so are the cafe workers. I looked forward to see every employee of this gym.

Cleanliness (***** Five Stars) This place is so incredibly immaculate you might be afraid to sweat on the equipment, but don’t let that stop you from giving 100%.

Amenities (* * * * * Five Stars) I would have given this place 4 stars for the lack of a steam room, but Clay more than makes up for it with an array of personal (yes you heard me PERSONAL) saunas for you to relax all by yourself or with a friend. The gym also has several conspicuously placed refrigerators filled with refreshing eucalyptus towels and a relaxation room with iced water for you to enjoy.

OVERALL RATING (* * * * * Five Stars)

Who CLAY is for? Anyone with a $200 monthly budget (I know) and within a short distance of 25 West 14th Street. If you live in the area, and have the dough- this place could literally be your second home and zen getaway.

My New York City Gym Review

 

 

Hi all- So I was actually going to wait a while to post anything about this project, but after an interesting day on the Upper East Side of Manhattan- I figured. What the hell!? Here’s the deal. From Winter 2010- Winter 2012, I belonged to Equinox Fitness, and I loved every second of it. The gym gave me a unique drive to WANT to go to the gym, and in fact I’ll let you in on a little secret. When first came to NYC in 2008, I weighed 225 lbs- I now weigh a healthy 185 lbs at 6ft and have a whole new set of fitness goals before me. Since my new job doesn’t officially start until the beginning of September and since I’ve been back in Manhattan since June (following a 5 month hiatus), I decided to explore the various gyms in New York City and rate them based on various scales of excellence before I officially decide on a membership. Now- here we go, I hope you enjoy this little endeavor.

 

 

 

Poodle Moth?

 

Poodle Moth

I just had to share this interesting little creature from Venezuela. As one of my friends commented “It looks like something out of The NeverEnding Story!”

CITYSCAPE TO LANDSCAPE by Paul Balmer

Paul Balmer in front of some of his work. Photo by Melissa Moehlman; taken from wikipedia.

This past Friday, I had the exquisite experience of attending Paul Balmer’s artist reception for his new collection Cityscape to Landscape at the Campton Gallery at 451 West Broadway in New York City. Mr. Balmer hails from South Africa and his since been somewhat of an international citizen; with exhibitions over the past two decades in London, Chicago, Sydney Australia, Boston, and New York to name a few.

Over a Red River, by Paul Balmer

Mr. Balmer’s Cityscapes capture a unique essence of both New York City and the country in that he manages to express (in cityscapes) a viable and controlled chaos that is natural in the habitat of our concrete jungle. For this reason, I would beg to argue the collection’s metamodernistic influence simply by the adventure Mr. Balmer’s pieces take you on.

Between Night and Day, by Paul Balmer

Then there are the Landscapes, a perfect juxtaposition to it’s Manhattan counterpart by way of serenity and the ability to transport you to any welcome and familiar place in the annals of your memory. I was both seventeen again in the Tuscan countryside and a child on a farm in central New Mexico. Paul Balmer possesses the gift of expressing to you, you’re own emotions through his art.

Quiet Country by Paul Balmer

A special thank you to Miss Allison Harrell for the invitation.

Max Irons and I.N.C. International Concepts at Thom Bar

Max Irons, Me

 

 

 

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event for Macy’s private brand I.N.C. International Concepts and it’s 2012 line featuring British Actor Max Irons. Mr. Irons is known for playing Henry in Red Riding Hood opposite Amanda Seyfried and was recently cast as Jared Howe in the widely anticipated screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyers’ novel, The Host.

 

 

 

The event was at Thom Bar at Sixty Thompson in New York City and boasted an array of canapes and a specialty citrus vodka mojito that I’ll admit was all too easy to drink. What I found interesting about the event was the eclectic mix of people- I was told that one disheveled looking guest sporting wrinkled shorts, an ill-fitting t-shirt and blue hair was a fashion blogger. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine taking advice from someone who looks like they got dressed in the dark in a room full of Play-Doh.

 

 

Since my host for the evening, Allison Harrell and I had to make our way down the street to another event, we had to leave Thom Bar early, but not before catching a glimpse of this fall’s collection, which, to be honest, I found quite appealing. As we left the front of the hotel lobby, we spotted Max Irons standing outside speaking to someone who I could only was a publicist for the event.

 

I told Max that was actually pretty eager to see him as Antonio Vivaldi in the upcoming film to which he replied “Oh no, I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but it isn’t any more.”

 

“Oh?” He seemed a little sad to admit this to me, but I quickly replied that I would just as gladly see his upcoming film The Host.

 

 

 

“Well I hope you enjoy it,” he said. I had also explained my particular affinity towards classical music during introduction “…I know you were probably looking forward to the other one.” In the meantime, I asked for a picture to which he kindly agreed while his publicist motioned impatiently at us at the front door that we were waisting his time. Max said “oh, don’t worry about it- I always find these things to be rather intimidating- the break is welcome.”

And with that we said goodbye as he disappeared back into the crowded room of models, flashing lights, and journalists while Allison and I made our way blissfully down the street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Hathaway: 2012′s Golden Girl

Alright, before you all collectively roll your eyes before continuing on, let me preface what I’m about to say with the admission of my previous stance on Anne Hathaway. To be honest, when I realized that the Hollywood actress had landed the iconic roles of both Catwoman and Fantine, I complained like a spoiled Upper East Side trust fund baby who couldn’t access his account for a last minute trip to France for Bastille Day.

My initial thought on the Batman movie was “why couldn’t they get Angelina Jolie, or at least someone with that kind of bad ass credibility?” And don’t get me started on the whole Les Miz thing…

After seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I gladly welcomed defeat. I walked in the theater a skeptic and left a raging fan. I mean, I always appreciated the actress in earlier roles that made her famous as a sort of dependable and likable Hollywood princess, and found her performances in other films like Brokeback Mountain and Rachel Getting Married to be indicative of something awesome to come. However, nothing prepared me for the amazing performance Anne Hathaway gave as Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in the finale to Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy.

For the first time on screen, we witnessed the humanity behind Catwoman, and even sympathized with her basic human struggle to succeed- all the while trying to escape a troubled past. Yet Anne didn’t for one second let you think the character was weak, instead, she always gave you the sense that she had the upper hand, and would escape the movie’s events unscathed- at almost any cost. The unique sensuality she used with Christian Bale‘s Bruce Wayne was utterly delicious.Combine that with a sexy catsuit and a wardrobe that ranged from bohemian to an almost “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ensemble, she was as versatile in her appearance as she was in the role itself.

As one of my friends put it a couple of days ago “its like she went from Molly Ringwald to Julia Roberts.” And that may be, but I feel like Anne Hathaway has not only come into her own, but she stands alone. Besides, could you see Julia Roberts kicking serious ass in a skin tight suit? Both played “villains” this year, but we only sympathized and fell in love with one.

Hudson Sutler

The Mackinac Duffel: Spring 2012

A couple of weeks ago at Alton Lane‘s Harriman Cup event, Allison Harrell and I had a brief yet friendly encounter with Hudson Sutler founder, Grant Hewitt.

Hatteras: Spring 2012

Hudson Sutler is a purveyor of fine Made in America weekend and commuter bags- you know, those nifty little duffels that crowd the Long Island Railroad every Friday and Sunday. It seems that having the perfect weekend bag is something of a necessity in the East Coast (remember- I hale from the Southwest) and even Goldman Sachs has a line of such bags for their employees to display on their weekend vacations.

Catalina: Summer 2012

As Mr. Hewitt put it, a sutler is a civilian merchant who sold provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters.  Primarily in business during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sutlers were a significant part of shaping the America we know today.

‘Sconset: Summer 2012

 

As I stated in my event post for the Harriman Cup’s Alton Lane event, this company’s products are definitely on my wish list for the coming year.

The above photo’s were taken from Hudson Sutler’s Facebook Fan Page. Click Here to become a fan. 

 

 

ALTON LANE- Dressing for The Harriman Cup

Here is Alton Lane‘s full collection of complete looks for this year’s Harriman Cup.

If you’re interested in shopping the collection- CLICK HERE.

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All of the above images were taken from Facebook.com on Alton Lane’s Fan Page.

THE HARRIMAN CUP: 2012 Fashions by Alton Lane

This season’s looks for The Harriman Cup by Alton Lane. Taken from Facebook.com

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the kind invitation to attend not only The Harriman Cup, but a pre-fashion event for the polo match at Alton Lane NY. The Harriman Cup is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of polo and supporting the respective collegiate polo teams of Yale and the University of Virginia.

Alton Lane combines traditional bespoke techniques with modern technology in the form of a 3D body scanner to give a truly perfect fit with a truly classic look.

Me in Alton Lane’s 3D body scanner. Yes- that is a shoe horn in my mouth ;-)

Other sponsors represented at the event were JP Crickets  and Hudson Sutler. JP Crickets is a his and her’s shoe company that combines the craftsmanship of an Italian loafer with a classic velvet slipper, while Hudson Sutler produces fine American-made duffels and weekend bags with gingham lining. It is safe to say that all three companies at the Harriman Cup’s “dressing” will be heavy hitters on my 2012-2013 wish list.

The event itself was gloriously “prep-tastic” as one guest/ UVA alum put it, and was heavily supplied with cocktails as unique and colorful as the multi-colored lapels that adorned the room. It should should be noted that an appointment at Alton Lane means a glass of scotch while shopping in a comfortable and masculine environment.

As my friends Allison, Millen and I were chatting, a familiar figure seemed to pop out of nowhere like a glitter-bomb. I turned around to see Richie Rich; Club Kid and  co-founder of the now defunct fashion label, Heatherette. It was one of those interesting moments of juxtaposition that I absolutely live for, but entirely possible due to the mere influence of New York City. He introduced himself to each of us, looked at Allison and said “You’re fabulous! Are you a model?” The two became engrossed in conversation while she explained to Richie that she was actually a photographer, but was very flattered by his complement.

Millen Emmanuelle, Me, Richie Rich, Allison Harrell, Kimberly Babcock

The evening ended all too quickly, but not before a few words from Harriman Cup chair-member and MTV producer, Matt Paco. Mr. Paco thanked the various sponsors and people who make the yearly event possible. This year’s Harriman Cup will take place on September 8 at The Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, Long Island, NY.

If you’re interested in buying a ticket for the event, CLICK HERE. 

A special thank you to MTV Producer Matt Paco for the evening’s festivities.

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