Brooklyn Barbell Club

Williamsburg weight lifters drop barbells, rattle homes, neighbors claim

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Neighbors of a Williamsburg gym say brawny weight lifters shake their building by dropping massive barbells on the ground during their workouts.

Residents of a four-story Roebling Street condo say that their apartments shudder after gym rats at the Brooklyn Barbell Club “snatch” or “clean and jerk” weights of as much as 215 pounds — then hurl the barbells to the floor.

“It’s not so much the sound as the vibration,” said Ed Roth, whose lives in a brick condo building that shares a wall with the gym.

“One guy comes in and starts dead lifting at 7 am — the building starts shaking, the dog starts barking, the neighbor’s baby starts crying, and if we have the energy for the hundredth time, we’ll call 311,” he said.

But crossfit club co-owner Sam Orme says she has already done everything she can to mitigate sound when her patrons pump iron.

Orme said her N. Eighth Street gym has already added rubber floors and special bulletproof padding to the weightlifting area — and she doesn’t think there’s much else she can do.

“We have 300 people paying to come here and do this activity — it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable activity to do in a space like this,” she said.

Customers often take classes at the gym twice or three times per week, paying between $150 and $250 per month to do intense workouts including timed cardio exercises and Olympic-style lifting.

Barbell backers say lifting is an important part of their workout — and dropping the weights is just the way the exercise is done.

“It’s competitive and you’re working against your own best and others best at the gym,” said Williamsburg resident Mike Christman. “At another gym, no one is watching you and if you don’t want to put forward an effort, you can get away with it.”

Residents say they have routinely complained to the city and fear the dropped weights could cause cracks in their ceilings and walls.

Building inspectors have visited the gym four times in the past two months and found no damage.

But neighbors aren’t satisfied.

“When I put my kids to bed, the building is shaking,” said Tobias Englund, whose unit shares a back wall with the club. “I go to a gym, I do the same thing they do. But I don’t want my bedroom to shake.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 11:00 am, June 12, 2012
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Reasonable discourse

Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Time to go back to Ohio!!!
June 12, 2012, 6:35 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I guess I'd be pretty upset if I bought a condo that wasn't constructed very solidly and the gym next door could shake it. But I probably wouldn't tell 311 about it all the time.
June 12, 2012, 8:22 am
ty from pps says:
Why, exactly, are these weightlifters *dropping* the weights in the first place?! It's not reasonable as the club owner says. I've been the member of several gyms and there was ALWAYS a rule forbidding the dropping of weights. Always.
June 12, 2012, 8:35 am
Billy from Billyburg says:
Hey, Old Time--you talking to the newbie gym or the residents who have put down roots?

The condo needs to hire a lawyer to look into NYC case law. Somewhere in there are decisions that particularly address our city's peculiar architecture that has shared structural elements. The law is on their side.
June 12, 2012, 8:35 am
ty from pps says:
(also, Old Time, this is an elite -- read expensive -- training and fitness facility. Not a neighborhood gym. I bet the members are just as likely to be "from Ohio" as the residents.)
June 12, 2012, 8:38 am
jay says:
ty, maybe you should head to London and tell the Olympians that they are doing it wrong. Heavy olympic lifts are dropped for safety reasons. You cannot slowly lower that much weight from overhead without risk of injury.
June 12, 2012, 9:38 am
Meathead from Kent says:
Yo dude stop getting pissy about me trying to get swole! I'm trying to make it happen down on the Jersey Shore this summer. I will totally roid out and OWN you.
June 12, 2012, 9:39 am
tessa from 11211 says:
Hey, Mike from williamsburg, you got a big mouth all the time but you never have the facts straight. The building that is being shaken is an 80 year old brick building. One of the few great old buildings that were renovated instead of demolished. It's a great building. It has been condos for years and years.
June 12, 2012, 12:52 pm
Shawn from Brooklyn says:
tessa, I live in an old building in Williamsburg. Every time the L train goes by the building shakes, the dog howls, the kids wake up. All of a sudden they are running more L trains. I live in a great old building too. Could we stop the L train from running because it shakes my building? I would kill for weightlifters next door instead of living near the subway, but that's the price you pay to live here. You live with others
June 12, 2012, 2:27 pm
hotboy from wburg says:
How is this any different from a subway train shaking a building (which is way more frequent)?
June 12, 2012, 2:53 pm
ty from pps says:
Well, it's different because the subway has a purpose and serve society as a whole... Olympic style weight-lifting? Less of one. Yes, I'm very judgmental. But being able to lift 300-400 lb. objects is close to worthless.

[I await your scorn.]
June 12, 2012, 3:33 pm
Z from Bay Ridge says:
I think that maybe the gym and the people of the building can work out a schedule where the gym does not start the lifting/dropping till a certain time, like 9 am or something and stop by a certain time let's say 9pm. I think that could be a reasonable resolution for all
June 12, 2012, 3:54 pm
j from wburg says:
It's no different than the L train rattling buildings. The gym operates 100% legally and has taken appropriate measures to reduce the noise level resulting from its operation.

@ty - you have clearly never been to a gym that trains olympic weightlifting. You will never find an o-lifting gym that forbids you to drop weight. Don't make claims about things you don't understand.
June 12, 2012, 4:40 pm
ty from pps says:
j from wburg -- Sorry, when i made the comment I really hadn't realized that this gym specializes in training people to do such a dumb thing. Sorry.

I'd love to hear from Swampy on this.

Kickball is stupid. But lifting 400 lbs is....
June 12, 2012, 5:02 pm
Stephen from Williamsburg says:
My upstairs neighbors occasionally drop things on their floors and it disturbs me too. Also the pipes in my building are loud, and that sometimes wakes me up when I'm sleeping. But I haven't reported it to the city.

Living in New York means accepting that we're all abutting each other. Complaining about "vibrations" and potential damage to the structure from these vibrations is ridiculous.
June 12, 2012, 5:25 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Tell you what Ty, lets let the rest of the world sort this one out. Imagine if there was an international athletic completion this summer. One that every one knows about. Something with some history. Hmmmmmmm, How about the Olympics. You have heard of that right? They have real sports, even bike racing. So lets both tune in. If they play kickball I'll kill myself, if they show weight lifting, you kill yourself? Lets let the rest of the world speak on whats a real sport. Or are the facts just silly?
June 12, 2012, 5:50 pm
ty from pps says:
Swampy, just because lifting heavy things is traditional doesn't make it any less stupid than kickball. However, I think a lot more people would enjoy a game of kickball than lifting heavy things.
June 12, 2012, 6:46 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Ty, do you really think that? How many adults play kickball in NYC? a couple of dozen. How many adults are members of gyms and lift weights? Hundreds of Thousands? A million, maybe more? Yeah, all those health clubs in NYC are full of kickballers? Facts are troublesome things troll. You are not very good at this internet thing are you?
June 12, 2012, 6:51 pm
Heath from Williamsburg says:
What about the constant drilling and pounding coming from the lot on N10th and Roebling starting at 715 am every morning, my building is two blocks away and it shakes every morning, plus the insane pounding noise!!!

I attend the Brooklyn Barbell club and I don't believe for a second this guys apartment shakes, it's not like 30 people are dropping 200lb weights all at the same time!!
June 12, 2012, 7:20 pm
ed from williamsburg says:
A few corrections. The Buildings Dept was here, it isn't the case that they saw no damage, they saw no lifting so could not witness the disturbance so had to close the case. He even told me if he witnessed it and felt it, he would close them down but he didn't see it. Seems like a flaw in the dept to have to be here at the exact lifting time.
If it wasn't clear, the gym was asked to put down more mats and refused. This is Olympic style lifting - not mere weight dropping. Very preventable and extremely unneighborly to not comply. The industry and warehouse there prior were no problem, this style weight dropping is.
No one is contesting the safety drop procedure, just if you are moving in maybe it would be considerate to put some measures in to not rattle your neighbors.
AS for working out a schedule to only sometimes disturb or damage the condo, not a great idea.
All the comparables here don't quite list controllable items. Human consideration from a NEW local business would just be swell.
Double the pads, gym. Move the lift area to the far wall rather than the close wall. Be neighborly.
June 12, 2012, 7:33 pm
ty from pps says:
Yes, Swampy... "How many adults are members of gyms and lift weights? Hundreds of Thousands?" power lifting 300 pounds that requires throwing the weights to the ground is very common.... Do you recall my comment above about most gyms having rules about dropping weights? These millions of members of gyms are not Olympic style weight lifting. Even the most meathead members of Crunch and NYSC and so on are no throwing weights on the ground. Do you see the difference?

So, I actually would argue that there are many more kickball players in NYC (probably hundreds -- it's not just a league in Williamsburg... it's all over the city) than people lifting 300 pounds over their heads.
June 12, 2012, 7:52 pm
ty from pps says:
And why, Swampy, are these "outsiders"not ruining Brooklyn?
June 12, 2012, 7:57 pm
Josh from The Moon says:
I think it's pretty clear that the condo dwellers are from Indiana and the gym people are from Kansas. I mean, really.
June 12, 2012, 9:04 pm
Ilbur from Williamsburg says:
This neiborhood is zoned industrial and there are active factories and machine shops. Probably should have moved to park slope if you were expecting a quite place.
June 12, 2012, 10:52 pm
Tyler from Chelsea says:
Cross Fit is an entirely different way of working out compared to what goes on in Crunch & equinox

perhaps some of the people complaining should get their fat ___ to a gym or yoga and stop complaining
June 13, 2012, 12:05 am
Tom from Greenpoint says:
CrossFit is a bunch of people using bad form to play at being big time athletes. There is never any reason to slam down weights. Pros don't throw weights. And if they are doing seriously heavy Olympic lifting they do in on pressure platforms, check it out.
There's no reason for long time residents of a building to have to suffer for someone's amateur sports fantasies.
June 13, 2012, 8:19 am
Common Sense from someone from a much smaller city says:
Don't like noise or vibrations or so-called "damage" to your apartment? Simple solution: DON'T LIVE IN AN INDUSTRIAL AREA. As someone else pointed out there are actual residential areas of Occupied North Brooklyn. Maybe you should have made your home in one of those?

Oh but wait, I almost forgot. A brownstone or apartment on a quiet block in an actual neighborhood is not nearly as edgy or quirky or cool as a loft style condo in a repourposed warehouse.

You want to be edgy, then don't cry about it when it interferes with your sleeping all day.
June 13, 2012, 8:31 am
SwampYankee's Conscience from ruined Brooklyn says:
I'm sorry if I have offended anybody. I'm trying to aggressively compensate for my miserable life by attacking people on internet message boards. I cry myself to sleep every night...
June 13, 2012, 10:57 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
How do you know the people from the gym are outsiders? I looked on their facebook page and there was not a single hipster to be found. No noodle armed baristas. No tooth picked limbed unpaid roof top farming beardos. No cupcake tattoos, no fedors, no ironic t-shirts, no kick ball players, no beta-males, no attention starved, trust fund artisinal, free range, vegan, critical-mass, sustainable, bee-keeping, fun-employed, parentally funded, no-pants subway riding, rent raising, cupcake baking, graffiti blogging, faux-foodie, pixie-stick armed trustararians in the whole place. I told you that you were no good at this internet thing. A silly-string armed hipster could not lift 30 lbs much less 300 hundred pounds. These are real men and women at this gym Ty. Go play your childrens game of kick-ball. Or maybe go join a duck-duck -goose league. The gym is from men, not for you
June 13, 2012, 6:06 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
(also, Old Time, this is an elite -- read expensive -- training

actually elite is not contingent on $ - to me elite is white Eurocentric - you live in an industrial area - you deal with it - famamily has been in Brooklyn close to 100 years and a good smattering of rent stableized apts to boot - deal with it - i sure can :)

best thing about ohio peeps etc is overcharging and if in cash all the better - mazel tov petzela :)
June 13, 2012, 10:19 pm
ty from pps says:
And women, Swampy.
June 13, 2012, 10:45 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
What about the construction banging every morning on N10th and Roebling!!!
June 18, 2012, 4:13 pm
THIS WAREHOUSE SPACE IS ZONED MIXED USE R6A- they are operating without a permit required under section 73-36 for Physical Culture businesses

They are required to file for this permit to operate, they then have to notify neighbors they are seeking this permit, they then have to appear in front of a board
and if noise is an issue they would have to remedy such issues prior to receiving such a permit to operate.
Dec. 16, 2012, 8:53 pm
Kandy from Williamsburg says:
This gym is a nuisance. The banging from dropping weights is very loud and disturbs neighbors other than just those in the adjacent building. They also leave their large rolling door open while blasting music and yelling at their clients during training sessions. And they conduct classes out on the sidewalk, blocking pedestrian access and treating the neighborhood like it's their romper room. I recently moved nearby and wish I'd seen/heard their nonsense before I took my apartment. I moved from Macdougal Street in Manhattan, the noisiest street in the city, hoping for a little peace and quiet out here. Fail!
May 2, 2013, 4:49 pm

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