PDA

View Full Version : Writeup of my "Hardcore Gym Crawl" of gyms in the NYC Metro area!!



xXEsquireXx
04-08-2010, 03:52 PM
This is a follow up to my thread: RX Muscle Forums

My friend, a fellow brother in iron, and I did a hardcore gym crawl of gyms in the NYC metro area. We had an awesome day, got to as many as we could, met some really cool people, and got to see alot of history and some really hardcore places! I wanted to share my results w/ everyone. You can google all these places and get their website and more info.

Where I'm coming from: I live in Eastern PA, late 20's, professional white collar worker. I love bodybuilding, fan of powerlifting and strongman, basically I just like to throw heavy sh!t around! But by no means am I putting up 4 plates on the bench or am a pro, I'm just a normal dude and a fan. So that's my approach on how I looked at these places.

1. Bev Francis Powerhouse: The East Coast Mecca had to be our first stop. Awesome place! The most signed pics and jerseys of any of the gyms we went to. Great place to work out. And I thought the MMA section in the back w/ a full ring and a tire to slam with sledgehammers would be alot of fun. I don't need to say alot about this place, check out the videos, it's awesome! And it's true, the weights really are heavier!

Everyone was really nice too. I introduced myself to Steve, and he was really nice. He introduced us to Bev, and she was great, and offered that we could take a pic with her. Kevin English was in the back doing legs, and after his wo Steve offered for us to take our pic with Kevin, and Kevin was great, really nice, and we got some great pics. They seemed to appreciate that we were fans of the sport and really reciprocated our positive energy. We bought our t-shirts with the famous logo and were happy. Great experience, definitely a must for anyone up on Long Island!

2. World Gym Ronkonkoma: This is where the Bro's vs Pro's Squat challenge took place, and they also claim to be the only gym featured on The Sopranos. It reminded me of my local Gold's Gym. Not particularly "hardcore", but a fine gym nonetheless. But nothing really hardcore about it. No special equipment or extra machines or anything.

3. World Gym West Babylon: This is a great gym! Smaller than Bev's, but I think it'll also be less crowded. They had tons of signed pics on the wall too. They actually just got rid of their fitness room to open up space for more machines. No spin classes here! This is a great gym for anyone in powerlifting or strongman. They had a hydraulic squat rack for heavy lifts, and a bench you could hook bands up to, plus boards and tons of other lifting accessories. Then outside, in an enclosed outdoor setup, they have a whole strongman setup, with kegs, atlas stones, a sled, telephone poles, 2 huge tires to flip, it was awesome! You could go nuts out there! And at $29/mo, it's a great deal! I loved Bev's, but if I lived on LI I'd wo here, there'd be less people and commotion. GREAT hardcore gym!!!

4. 5th Avenue Gym, Brooklyn: This place had character you don't find in today's fitness clubs. Dark, dirty, in a basement, old equipment, that classic gym smell. It was definitely a hardcore gym! This is where Kai Greene got his start. We had a great conversation with William, who worked the front desk since 1982, and had some great stories. He also had his bb trophies out for display. Not alot of extras, just raw weights. You come to this place if you want to focus and pound your flesh into steel! Reminded me of Dorian Yates' Temple Gym. Surprisingly they had the best music playing, hard rock, none of the techno of the other gyms. You can pay $5 to wo each day, which is pretty good. Weights were old, they had Weider and Ferigno weights, and the bells were old too, with the numbers written on in white chalk. Some of the chains on the machines were a rusty, but who cares, this place was awesome. It wasn't huge but had plenty of room. I half expected to see Rocky come out of the locker room! DEFINITELY a hardcore gym, with great history and atmosphere, no egos or pretty-ness, just train! A must stop on any hardcore gym tour!!

5. OTOM Gym, Brooklyn: Rumor had it that this place was hardcore and had 200# bells. Rumors were wrong. This place was not hardcore. It was a big open area with trendy gym-goers and blaring house music. Not hardcore. I wouldn't go here unless I lived next door.

6. Coliseum Gym, Queens: Really good gym. Tough to find, though, it's a warehouse in Queens. But worth it. Open 24 hours and definitely devoted to hardcore! Tons of equipment, weights, a platform for deadlift, tons of PL/Strongman stuff including atlas stones, tires, heavy stones and rocks, even a fire hydrant! GREAT hardcore gym! The owners have their trophies out for display as well, and have some great stories. Bumper plates, just tons of hardcore stuff to add to your workouts. They held the NY Strongman event there last year and I think they will again this year, they're really into PL and Strongman and is definitely a hardcore gym!!

7. Synergy, 14th St. and 8th Ave NYC: Best part was that it's 24 hours, and it's in the City. Other than that it only had 1 squat rack. It was a fine gym, nothing special, but relatively cheap and a good option if you live in the city and want something open all night. Not necessarily hardcore, but not posh or trendy either.

8. Steel Gym, NYC: This place has a rep of being a huge bb gym. I could see that, but they weren't really friendly. The guy at the desk said we have "5 minutes" to check out the gym, and when we took longer he came and found us and asked if we needed anything else, and kinda chased us out. It's nice, definitely more upscale, but really expensive. I didn't think it had alot of room and I would struggle to find a good place to deadlift. I could see it getting really crowded in there quickly. Pics of Tattoo Timmy up and he advertised alot on the bulletin board. Probably a good gym but not alot of space and probably geared more towards personal training. Though I can't discount it as being hardcore, there are better options in the City.

9. Complete Body and Spa, 19th Street, NYC (Old 19th St. Gym): I was really impressed with this place! I had doubts because I've heard so much about the hardcore nature of the old 19th Street Gym, and the stories of Lou and Arnold training there, I was a little concerned when the new owners used the word "spa". But seriously, this place was sweet!! Huge setup in the basement, tons of weights and equipment, lots of space, you're not on top of the person next to you when you're training, plus nice machines and TV's. Then there's a fitness room in the back with boxing equipment and monkey bars, it was just a good setup if you're into cross training. What makes it a "spa" is that they offer massages and stuff. Great place to wo, and apparently since it's pretty new it's not that crowded. And if you get a membership here you have access to 3 other places around the city, and one of them has a pool. Pretty sweet setup!

Best part was that as we walked in, Victor Martinez was at the smoothie bar getting a post wo shake! I introduced myself and he was really nice, we talked about his training, about the upcoming Olympia, about the place, and he was great! He was cool and let us get some pics with him.

If I lived in NYC this is where I'd join. Great equipment, great selection, plus you get access to 4 places, and it wasn't that expensive for NYC prices. I was really impressed! Don't let the name "spa" fool you.....this place is definitely hardcore!!!

10. Eva's Supplement Store and Restaurant, NYC: We finished our day here for some much need nourishment. Great suggestion AnimalTest! Not a gym, obviously, but a good place with healthy food and good prices on supps. Good healthy food, and you can get a side of grilled chix, so that's a win! As we got our food, in walked.....Victor Martinez! I joked that we just saw him at 19th Street and he was laughing, then he told me more about the history of 19th St and Arnold and Lou. He was really nice, I mean he could've just blown us off, but he was great, and took time for his fans. GREAT guy!

What a day!!! I thought we definitely hit the major ones in the area. I'm sure we missed a few, and our next trip will be to NJ because there are some solid gyms out there too. And we'll try Victor's restaurant in Rutherford.

My top 5 gyms would be, in no particular order: Coliseum, Bev's, World Gym West Babylon, 5th Ave, and Complete Body 19th St. They each have their own character, but they are all hardcore!!!

HammerStrength12
04-26-2010, 06:24 PM
Thanks for the write up, I never noticed this thread.

Glad you enjoyed your trip. As someone who's lived in the NY/NJ area for a while, it sounds like you have a similar view as me. The old 19th Street Gym (never been to the new one) was by far my favorite gym in Manhattan, and would be the one I'd join if I lived there. People are the nicest by far, great strength equipment, never too crowded, and a TON of space(this is a rarity of Manhattan). From your experience, it sounds like the new place is exactly the same. As for Steel, it's got some good equipment and a lot of hardcore bodybuilders, but I've also had similar experiences to yours.

And that's awesome that you saw Victor! I've been to those places dozens of times, but have never seen him haha. But he is a regular at 19th/Steel/Evas, so I'm glad you got to meet him.

nycdude
09-11-2010, 10:34 AM
At peek hours you can't turn around in Steel without tripping over somebody. It's got shiny new equipment and would be great if it was bigger, had a few services, or was in a different locale with a smaller crowd.

RIP 19th Street. The crowd was queer as a $3 bill, but the attitude was hardcore as fuck, pretty friendly for the city, the music could sometimes kick ass, and it was big enough to accommodate a crowd without feeling like a sardine can.

HammerStrength12
09-11-2010, 07:35 PM
At peek hours you can't turn around in Steel without tripping over somebody. It's got shiny new equipment and would be great if it was bigger, had a few services, or was in a different locale with a smaller crowd.

RIP 19th Street. The crowd was queer as a $3 bill, but the attitude was hardcore as fuck, pretty friendly for the city, the music could sometimes kick ass, and it was big enough to accommodate a crowd without feeling like a sardine can.


Not a fan of Steel gym. Although 19th is closed, I've read that the new place (complete body and spa) completely kicks ass. Looking forward to trying it out next time I'm up there.