First comes the condos, then comes the cardio.
Williamsburg’s first 24-hour fitness club will open in the coming months, marking a watershed (or is that a sweat-shed?) moment in the neighborhood’s high-speed transformation from bohemian to bourgeois.
The details are still being worked out, but the workout facility — a branch of the national chain Anytime Fitness — will be open 24 hours a day. Owners Vadim Noskov and Olga Jourova are anticipating a strong response from the community — strong enough that they say they will limit the number of members to avoid overcrowding at the industrial building turned gym at 98 S. Fourth St., just off of Bedford Avenue.
This being New York, there were already some naysayers who saw the swanky gym as a gleaming example of the new direction the neighborhood is taking.
“This neighborhood is attracting Yuppies who feel like they have some sort of hip cred,” said Patty Conway, an East Williamsburg resident. “They’ll love the 24-hour sports club that’s going in because they’ll probably be the only ones who can afford the membership.”
Noskov and Jourova maintain that the gym will be affordable, but even so, many residents feel that the arrival of a 24-hour fitness club is just another step in the neighborhood’s Manhattanization. But unlike the rising rents and the jam-packed trains, the arrival of a top-notch fitness facility is one part of gentrification that isn’t without its perks.
“I don’t want Brooklyn to become like Manhattan, but at the same time there are, like, no gyms in the neighborhood,” said Katie McCabe. “It would be good to have more gyms in Williamsburg — fitness is a really great thing to be promoting.”
Welcome the gym or curse its arrival, its opening has one universal plus — if Williamsburgers put in enough hours on the leg curl machine, then maybe we’ll finally see an end to the skinny jean trend once and for all.
©2008 Community News Group
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