Sunday, August 9, 2009

Are New Yorkers addicted to luxury?

The Post takes a look at the new David Barton gym on Astor Place.

Throughout the day, a Ramones- and Bowie-filled soundtrack supports Barton's notion that his swanky $5 million gym will reflect the East Village's trademark punk and glam-rock spirit.


Indeed, the whole city's suddenly a nightclub. Not to be outdone, a huge trilevel Crunch half a block south of Barton's new gym offers an ear-splitting Tuesday-night deejay party and has a counter serving protein shakes and $4-plus iced coffees. There's also a Midtown Equinox, housing a deli-style takeout kitchen, and Rockefeller Center's Sports Club/LA, which has a sit-down restaurant, a bar and a sidewalk café.

"The mainstream offering doesn't cut it for some people anymore," says Barton.

And it isn't just gyms. Local entrepreneurs are giving Manhattan what it wants -- and Manhattan apparently wants everything in one place.


So what's the deal with this town? Is it an addiction to luxury -- or just ADD? According to Barton, it's all about choices.

"There are a lot of different people around and different gyms to service them," he says. Locals who complained about the closing of the enormous Barnes & Noble formerly occupying this space might note: While a bookstore is very East Village in theory, a 700-plus-store national chain that displaces ma and pa bookstores is not.

"You don't even shop in stores anymore," says Barton, suggesting online retailers that are hurting bookstores have made gyms "the new town square."

The downside for old-school New Yorkers is that such things tend to come off a little more new Times Square. Perhaps those of us wishing to exercise to the beat of our own drum, or bowl with the lights on, should consider moving to Arkansas? Fat chance. The sushi there sucks -- and just try getting it delivered after midnight.

For further reading:
No pecs, no sex (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)


Jeremiah Moss said...

once again, we're presented with a false dichotomy: you can have the luxury gym or a massive bookstore chain.

so much more is possible.

EV Grieve said...

Next thing you know people will be going to gyms to find dates!

Anonymous said...

so basically - if you don't like it, leave...

in the past that attitude would anger me...but no more. it's true actually...and i for one am planning to just isn't worth the hassle of being an nyc'er anymore...but i know i'm a rarity...most people will stay and complain and grow old & bitter, outnumbered by the brats that have taken over this town.

and p.s - you don't have to move to "arkansas" - not even close..there plenty of sophisticated cities worldwide (with good sushi!) to choose from, which aren't giant corporate sellouts flooded with pretentious, narcissistic, posers.

Melanie said...

Gyms as the new town squares--sounds like more babble like the economy is good now. Same ole same ole-.

EV Grieve said...

I've been to Little Rock...was (is?) a great music scene there.

T.J. Moore said...

Where is David Barton Gym going to get its clients? I really don't see East Villagers going there. It's not really EV style, ya know?

Who wants to work out in a nightclub setting? Even if I were young and uber-rich, I don't think it would appeal to me.

Sempion said...

This is just another representation of what a city becomes, when it's got nothing more substantial, or culturally appropriate to offer. It's almost impossible to compete with the "larger" interests, especially in this economy. The retail "holes" will continue to be filled with same faceless, mindless, non-entities that are able to pay, and the rest is doomed to nowhere. I admire the anonymous poster who wrote about leaving. It's completely true that other large cities around the world have surpassed ours in terms of being liveable, and culturally sustainable. That's a painful pill for most NY'ers to swallow, but it's there.

hntrnyc said...

I hope they have spent some of that 5 million on the sound system. As a member of the Crunch location noted in the piece, the music system there is designed solely for tinnitus. Even an ipod and earpods can't keep it at bay.

esquared said...

This is where the Fashion Meets Finance douchbag extravaganza part bore will be.