One of the easiest excuses for not joining a gym is that it's too expensive. But we scoured the city for the best New Year's specials, so now you'll need a new excuse. And don't try "it's too far from my apartment" because we found affordable gyms across the city (even in Sunset Park). Just join a gym, fatty.
» Richie's Gym
We'll call this one the depression special: Richie's Gym requires no contracts and no activation fees. And much like Richie, who refuses to pay taxes, you don't have to either. The equipment and sweaty voyeurs inside might depress you, but with a New Year's special of $89 for six months, at least this gym won't depress your wallet (which has been down in the doldrums lately, we know. Seasonal Affective Disorder is tough on us all).
5119 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, 718-567-7387
» Bally's Total Fitness
Men and women have been trying to achieve Total Fitness for centuries, from da Vinci's first explorations of the human body to Billy Blanks and Tai Bo. At Bally's Total Fitness, you won't really get any closer to achieving physical perfection, but at $30 a month for one location (or $40/mo. for membership at multiple spots), who cares? And right now they're offering $0 enrollment fee and a free six-month membership if you join for a year. Da Vinci's dead, bro.
2163 Tilden Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-703-6700; 1915 Third Ave., 212-369-3063
» Ludlow Fitness
Ludlow Fitness got new equipment a couple of weeks ago, thank you very much, and they are now the most super-vintage old school establishment on the Lower East Side. But hey, at $469 for the year, with two months free, I guess we can't really complain too much—we only wish it was that cheap to hit Pianos upstairs for an experimental-drum folk-rock night. And apparently, they just got insurance. Boo-ya.
100 Delancey St., 212-260-922
Ordinarily, Edge costs $175 a month. But if you sign up for the whole year—and pay in full, up front, cash or credit—it's only $1,300. There are probably some savings in there but we refuse to do math because we don't know how. A gripe: there were no references in this gym, visual or otherwise, to battling any of the following: giant Kodiak bears, Alec Baldwin, or the IRA. And we refuse to believe that they came up with that name on their own. Also, receive a complimentary copy of No Line On the Horizon with every shower you take here.
403 E. 91 St., 212-722-0076
Gleason's gym was founded ca. 1937 by an Italian dude who changed his name to exploit the Irish love of fisticuffs and the neighborhood's major demographic. (He started it in the northernmost borough—Erin Go Bronx!). At $85 a month, this boxing gym is perfect for pugilists of all experience levels, from the bantamweight body busters to the midweek maulers of Murray Hill. And, if you just like to watch, for a $30/mo. photographer's fee you can get all the pics your iPod Touch can hold—for personal use only, of course.
77 Front St., Brooklyn, 718-797-2872
» New York Sports Club
The convenience of the N.Y.S.C. locations throughout the city makes it a favorite of New Yorkers. And if you join before February 1, you pay no enrollment fee. Or you can just use the The L account at the N.Y.S.C. on Water Street... yeah, um, just say you're Jonny Diamond. (Do not dare try this—Ed.)
» Harbor Fitness
Harbor Fitness looks like it was built inside the shell of an old Hard Rock Cafe, and with a New Year's special of $59 a month for a year (or $69/mo., with a two month minimum) we think you might be paying for the historical preservation of Axel Rose's hair extensions. But then we remember that there never was a Hard Rock Cafe in Bay Ridge, and we are, as ever, confused. (It used to be a movie theater, back in the halcyon days when they were everywhere—Ed.)
9215 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn 718-238-9400; 191 15th St., Brooklyn, 718-965-6200