The holidays can be a punishing time. Not only do we take ourselves through an emotional Abu Ghraib of rigidly enforced family gatherings and alcohol-induced fugues of nostalgia, we end up coping with it all by stuffing our sob holes with scads of pie and ice cream and cheese-covered things. And then we feel guilty, and that guilt is manifested by troubling areas of puffiness on our own bodies. Well, the time has come to stop crying and start feeling better. The following is just a friendly list of places that might help you to do that. Fatty.
To feel good about yourself and possibly run into your Aunt Jane, try:
The Lifetime Network of gyms, the Curves sales pitch is an eyeful of pastel and an earful of “you go girl,” but don’t let that discourage you: the membership price is better than half-bad and your mom has great things to say about the 30-minute circuit workout.
182 Ave C, between E 11th and 12th Sts. 212-353-3600 www.curves.com. Plus more than a dozen other locations throughout the boroughs .
$59 monthly, $149 initiation
To do more pelvic thrusts in the name of self-improvement than you thought were possible, head to:
Crunch is best known for funky cardio dance classes like Bollywood Dance, Thrash! and Street Crunk. The Cardio Strip Tease class is enthusiastically endorsed by participants and their boyfriends alike. (Street Crunk?)
54 E 13th St, between Union Sq W and Broadway. 212-475-2018, crunch.com. Various other locations .
$69 monthly, $199 initiation
To save money and get fit without being fussed over, try:
Can’t afford the Chelsea Piers membership, young man? There’s no need to feel down: you’ll lose just as much weight working out at the YMCA as you would working out anywhere else, and we’re sure you will find many ways to have a good time.
225 Atlantic Ave, Bklyn. 718-625-3136, ymcanyc.org. All over the city.
$39 monthly, $40-$125 enrollment.
To cool down after a torrid workout in front of a roaring fireplace, your best bet is:
Clay is a gym that caters to the stressed and wealthy set with spa-like perks like concierge service and a fireplace in the lounge. If you can spare the $140 monthly rate and the $525 initiation fee, this might be the gym for you.
25 W 14th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves. 212-688-5280,
insideclay.com, $140 monthly, $525 initiation
To use a treadmill at 4:30am, after a night of drinking and smoking, definitely head to:
NEW YORK SPORTS CLUB
With so many locations in Manhattan open 24 hours a day, New York Sports Club is pretty freaking convenient if you live on the island. Plus, if you’re a NYSC member, you can get into Sports Clubs in D.C., Philadelphia and Boston as well.
45 Rockefeller Plz, between 50th and 51st Sts.
To run into movie stars like Hillary Swank training for their next action film, go to:
Gyms can be ridiculous, macho places, with every one checking each other out in some kind of pissing contest/mating ritua — not so legendary boxing gym Gleason’s. Amazingly enough, everyone there cares way more about what they need to be doing for the ring, than whether or not you can lift 200 lbs. over your head (you can’t). It may not be packed with creature comfort amenities, and you’ll probably see more blood than you’re used to, but it’s a great place to get in shape.
83 Front St, between Washington and Main Sts. 718-797-2872
gleasonsgym.net. $70 a month, $420 for seven months. $25 an hour for trainers (highly recommended)
For high- class treatments with clever names go to:
An established New York spa that offers everything from a facial called “the Hangover Herbie” (specifically designed to rejuvenate your skin without any irritation) to “the Pre-nup”, which includes six months’ worth of pampering for your favorite harried bride to be.
Lexington Ave and 49th St, 212-219-8970
Luxuriate in a mod setting at:
RED AND WHITE SPA
If you’re feeling a little less Twiggy than you’d like, you can get their “neck and double chin special treatment,” followed by the “anti-cellulite treatment.” And if you’re still not ready for your close-up, get “the detoxifying body parrafin treatment” to cleanse yourself of all your non-model energy.
484 Broome St., 212-343-9444
Pretend to indulge your food cravings at:
If your diet doesn’t allow chocolate, gin, or almonds in your mouth, at least at this spa you can spread them all over your body. Find out what it feels like to have chocolate salt and rose petals slough away your dead skin, or have warm milk, honey and minced almonds hydrate your epidermis to perfection. And the gin? You’ll have to go see for yourself.
8806 Third Ave, Brooklyn, 718-921-6100
Be treated like an Indian bride at:
INDIAN TREASURES INC.
This spa offers many of the same preparations given to Indian brides, including the “turmeric treatment” — a skin treatment used to even out the complexion. Also on offer are authentic bridal henna tatoos. You can even get a specialized mommy-to-be belly one. But those ones may actually be bad luck if you’re not really pregnant.
1794 Third Ave. between 99th and 100th St,
Take your boyfriend for a facial at:
Specializing in flexible schedules which allow you to get as many treatments as you can in the time you have available, this is the perfect place to take your significant other for a quickie before a special occasion (get your mind out of the gutter). They provide the “men’s essential” — a protective facial that helps heal the damage caused by shaving, ingrown hairs and stress.
104 W. 14th St, suite 2C,
Have tea in China at:
What could be more relaxing than a massage that offers eight different essential oils gently trickled like raindrops along the spine? Maybe an hour-long green tea facial, or better yet, the spa’s Friday afternoon massage special that promises to rid your body of a work week’s worth of tension.
44 W. 55th St, 5th Floor, 212-245-3245
Get an innovative haircut without the pretense at:
THE LITTLE HAIR SHOPPE
It doesn’t actually offer all of the pampering of a full-blown spa, but with a staff this friendly and haircuts this great, it might as well. Their clients are some of the most devoted you’ll find in New York City. Highlights include after-hour appointments and student discounts.
54 E. 4th St., 212-375-1004
Take care of the little details at:
RANDEE ELAINE SPA AND LASER CENTER
After running around this crazy city all day, your feet are going to need some serious attention. Luckily you can stop by Randee Elaine and get a 20 minute foot massage for just $20. Oh, and since you probably forgot (and who wouldn’t really) you can get an eyelash tint in a matter of minutes.
180 Seventh Ave S., 212-229-0399
For a delightful whiff of celebrity musk, head to:
JIVAMUKTI YOGA CENTER
If you’re not yet annoyed by spiritual celebrities, this yoga fortress can be a real treat (think Russell Simmons, Uma Thurman and Sting are regular practioners). Founded by the now famous David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti offers Hatha Yoga, acupuncture and therapeutic massage.
404 Lafayette St, 3rd Floor,
2nd Location: 707 Washington St.
Jivamuktiyoga.com and Jivamuktiyogastudio.com
If you truly live the ascetic life (i.e. you’re broke) save a few rupees at:
THE YOGA LAB
One of the best deals in the city with $10 weekday classes offered at 7am, 10 am, noon and 4pm, and a special package consisting of a massage and two yoga classes for $100. Another rare feature: rooftop yoga!
388 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, 718-858-3265,
To sweat like a Scotsman in the Sahara, head to:
BIKRAM YOGA NYC
Great for those who don’t mind heat or body odor, Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, requires you to strike 26 poses in a 100-degree room. Developed by controversial yoga millionaire Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India. “Yoga millionaire,” how about that…
797 Eight Ave, 212- 245- 2525 (several other locations), bikramyoganyc.com
For lighthearted spiritual enlightenment, go to:
Have fun on your way to self-transformation. Each session of Vinyasa Yoga is taught in colorful and creative rooms while instructors incorporate inspirational music and poetry. An in-house astrologist, massage therapist and reflexologist are also on site.
59 W 19th St, 3rd Fl, 212-414-2903,
For a little bit of that old “upward dog” action, check out:
HOT NUDE YOGA
For yoga lovers who also happen to like shapely men in the buff, nothing beats Aaron Star’s Hot Nude Yoga sensation. Classes for fit men only, specializing in Hatha, Vinyasa and Tantra(!). The bashful need not fret, a DVD boxset grants you full access.
519 W 26th St, hotnudeyoga.com
To tire your kid out so they’ll sleep soundly, head to:
KARMA KIDS YOGA
Teach your kids how to relax after the daily stresses of school, while improving their coordination and flexibility. Kids’ imaginations are exercised too as they learn to pose as animals and have fun.
104 W 14th,St 2nd floor, 646-638-1444,
To surround yourself with enlightened hipsters, try:
A friendly, non-judgmental place to study Vinyasa-style Hatha in Brooklyn. Classes have a meditative atmosphere and concentrate on alignment. Dance performances, readings, art exhibits and other entertainment are offered as well.
12 N6th St, in Williamsburg,
For a total “Yoga as lifestyle” immersion, try:
INTEGRAL YOGA INSTITUTE
A lifestyle of holistic health is fostered with classes and workshops derived from the teachings of the late Sri Swami Satchidananda. With a grocery store, bookstore, and vitamin shop, this place is its own self-sufficient little Yogaville.
227 W 13th St, 212- 929-0586
Uptown Center: 371 Amsterdam Ave, 2nd Fl,
THE SPORTING LIFE
For a trip back to that summer when you were nine and loved to climb everything in sight, try:
CITY CLIMBERS CLUB
From rock starved West Coast climbing nuts to exercise enthusiasts on first dates looking to impress their buffed partners, they’re all here. What the building and location lack in aesthetics it makes up for in atmosphere and value. The least expensive of all the viable gyms in New York, the CCC offers a day pass, shoes and harness for $15.
533 W. 59th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 212-974-2250
To re-enter the world of intramural college sports, head to:
They have just about every kind of league under the sun, and a variety of skill levels too. Generally, it’s easier to enter as part of a fully formed team, but they’re always looking for individuals to fill out rosters. On offer this season are roller hockey, soccer, basketball, figure skating, gymnastics, boxing, volleyball along with batting cages, something called “extreme bowling” and rock climbing.
23rd St, at the Hudon River, 212-336-6666
Visit chelseapiers.com for full info on gym memberships and league registrations.
For some hot rock cleavage, try:
MANHATTAN PLAZA HEALTH CLUB
With 5000 square feet of climbing space, including bouldering and lead climbing, even the most advanced climber can sink his teeth into some sweet crack. Ranging from the intermediate to the advanced, this gym is not for the timid climber.
482 W. 43rd St, 212-563-7001. $18 a day.
To take out your dangerously sublimated aggressive tendencies in a warlike but harmless fashion, get thee to:
Go with a team or by yourself (some weekends feature ladies nights!) and shoot the crap out of a fellow New Yorker. Because they have a picture of Che Guevara on the website.
47-11 Vandam St, Long Island City.
718-361-8337, nypaintball.com. $39 gets you three hours of play Friday-Sunday. $35 gets you six hours Tuesday-Friday.
For jugs that won’t crimp your style, try:
NORTH MEADOW RECREATION CENTER
A great place for beginners, this gym offers a nice bouldering wall that rarely changes. Slopers, crimps, and jugs galore keep this laid back wall fresh for a long time. Perfect if you know what crimps and jugs. Mid-Central Park at 97th Street, 212-348-4867.