Push It Real Good: North Brooklyn Gym Roundup

While we all like the idea of hibernating in the winter, the beginning of Spring is just the inspiration we need to renew our commitment to fitness. But finding the right gym can be harder than it seems. Some of the more expensive gyms have state-of-the-art facilities, programs, and benefits that make them well worth the extra dough. If you want to keep it simple, though, a basic single-location membership at your nearest gym might do the trick. So how do you choose? We’ve compiled a list of local gyms so you can compare your neighborhood options at a glance.

Crunch Fitness: GreenpointCrunch Fitness
825 Manhattan Avenue
(718) 732-8222
Open 5am to 11pm M–F; 7am to 9pm weekends
Pricing: $9.95/month for Base membership; $19.95/month for Peak membership; $24.95/month for VIP membership
One-day trial pass
Become a member

Crunch is one of the most affordable gyms in the area, even with its VIP option, which includes benefits such as Hydromassage and tanning on top of all Peak perks. Choose the Peak membership option if you want access to any location, the ability to take group fitness classes, and extras such as a T-shirt and access to online streaming workout videos. The Base option is best if you want to keep things simple and stick with the equipment at the Greenpoint location. If you’re looking for more individualized fitness attention, you can always add personal training to any membership option. Continue reading

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Support The Greenpoint YMCA This Thursday (2/16)!

The Greenpoint Y (99 Meserole Ave.) is kicking off its annual fundraiser this Thursday from 12-4pm. There’ll be free snacks and Y schwag giveaways. 100% of the proceeds will be dedicated to enhancing programmatic needs and providing funding for scholarship programs!

These scholarships provide deserving children with the opportunity to:

  • Experience the magic of camp
  • Learn to swim
  • Enjoy the benefits of an early childhood education
  • Boost academic performance and social skills through after school programs
  • Make college a reality
  • Be healthy and fit
  • Explore a new sport or skill
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Who wants to spend $1 million dollars?

District 39 Project Expo2013


Tax season has come and gone, and hopefully by now, your nasty W2’s and 1099’s have been neatly filed away until next year. While you are sitting pretty, dreaming of all the different ways to spend that refund check (or pay the IRS back), what if I told you there was a way to spend a million dollars of city tax money instead? You’d be excited, right?

Welcome to the wonderful world of Participatory Budgeting, where a cool $1 million dollars is placed into our delicate hands to help fund neighborhood projects within the City Council’s 33rd district.

Last year, over 2,000 of you casted your vote and roped in a whopping $1.6 million dollars for the 33rd! McGlorick Park Playground got a much needed makeover, the BOOKlyn Bus shuttle drove around inspiring kids to read, and even our fellow toxic hood Gowanus saw their community center, ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, get much need repairs.

It’s time to spread the love again, and if Greenpoint wants to get a slice of that million dollar pie, we need to put our mouths where the money is and vote for our favorite projects. Continue reading

Category: Community, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A YMCA Gem: Tai Chi with Zhou Xiaoying

Zhou Xiaoying (center), Jean Baptiste Boclé (left), and Lorraine Salles (right)

One of the not-so-hidden treasures of Greenpoint is the YMCA, which provides a slew of workout options in addition to community services for a fraction of the cost of most commercial gyms or private centers.  The true strength – and occasional weakness, depending on the skill of the instructor and the mix of participants – of the facility are the classes.  We’ve recently covered Punk Rope, and today I’m going to let you know what’s going on in the gym with the odd music every Sunday at 1:15:  Tai Chi.

The instructor, “Joan” Zhou Xiaoying (周晓瑛) is a soft-spoken woman with an incredibly calm presence who comes to us from Ningbo, a city located in China’s Zhejiang province near Shanghai.  Although she would never brag about it herself and would probably maim me with a crutch (she can do that)for saying so, she is a master of the art with over 30 years experience and numerous competition wins, including six gold medals from the American International Martial Arts Competition.  In class at the YMCA, she is incredibly welcoming and patient with new students, and while her skills often surpass her English, her thorough knowledge of the forms she teaches allows her to work through any confusion.  She teaches two sessions:  the first, at 1:15 on Sundays, begins with opening light exercises that are very meditative, transitions into walking exercises, and then primarily focuses on teaching and practicing the 24-form chuan-style Tai Chi sequence.  This form has a fascinating history in that it was designed by the Chinese government in 1956 to simplify the more complex styles to retain the positive health benefits while being easier to perform, allowing it to be practiced more widely in the country.  In the second session, which begins directly following the first at 2:15, meditation, more complex forms, and the partner exercise called pushing hands are taught.

The class is comprised of an interesting mix of mostly local participants.  One, Lorraine Salles, grew up in Greenpoint and has been practicing Tai Chi at the YMCA since 2003.  Another, Jean Baptiste Boclé, has been at it for five years and has competed in several competitions.  Both report benefits that I, at five months of practice, can echo: a pervasive sense of calm following the classes, increased strength and improved muscle condition overall, and a greatly enhanced sense of balance and of one’s own body.  I’ll note that I mean balance in the purely physical sense: I can stand on one leg or hold myself upright on a shifting subway much better than I could a few months ago, and I’ve noticed that this has greatly improved other aspects of my workout, most notably the weight lifting.

The class is incredibly welcoming, and I have only one piece of advice for the interested newcomer: plan on leaving your first class totally bewildered.  It will take at least 3-5 sessions before the motions begin to make sense to you on a physical level, and it’s imperative to work through it the first couple times until you start to understand the whole.  I promise it is worth the time once you do, and you’ll be hard pressed to ever find another chance to work with a master like Zhou Xiaoying in such a direct and inexpensive setting.

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YMCA Online Auction: Bid For Good!

Thursday is the last day of the McBurney YMCA’s Online Auction and there are still deals to be had on several Greenpoint area spots. I am SO grateful for the businesses who were kind enough to donate to the auction and help out the Strong Kids Campaign.

Auction Ends: Thursday Dec 16, 2010 at 11:30 PM EST – BID NOW! 

S.L.A.M. (STREB LABORATORY for ACTION MECHANICS)Trampoline Class, Pop Action Technique Class and Flying Trapeze Class

Fanaberie$50 Gift Certificate

Cato’s Army & Navy$25 Gift Certificate

GrowNYC Greenpoint GreenmarketGreenpoint Greenmarket Tour and Market Produce

2K PlayDora Saves the Crystal Kingdom Wii Game, Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure Nintendo DS Game, New Carnival Games Nintendo DS Game and New Carnival Games Wii Game

Anella Restaurant$50 Gift Certificate

The Gym Park$100 Gift Certificate

3rd Ward$30 Gift Certificate

These are great businesses and great GIFTS! For yourself or someone on your list. Click here to see all the items in our auction.

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