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
» Slope Health & Fitness
Park Slope Fitness will only charge you a $50 signup fee—if you sign up for the $1,100 year. (Or, a $149 fee—$100 cheaper than usual!—and $110/mo.) Don't worry if this sounds too pricey! The deal includes a one-time "fitness assessment" that includes weighing you and stuff, because, you know, you need someone to tell you again that you should probably join a stinking gym. Oh, did we mention you are fat?
808 Union St., Brooklyn, 718-783-4343
» Printing House & Fitness
Although most of the weights are made out of 100 lb. reams of Vellum Bristol White, and the lateral pull down machine is actually a reclaimed, original Gutenberg Press (found, unironically, in the trash outside of Ludlow Fitness) you can still get one hell of a work out—for the body and mind. The New Year special will run you $88 a month for one year (usually $98!), plus a $39 enrollment fee (down from $100!). Just don't bring a copy of your latest manuscript, that novel about a young film critic at a small culture magazine navigating his way through love, Brooklyn and diabetes, because they might mistake it for a dumbbell.
421 Hudson St., 212-243-7600
» Gold's Gym
At the Gold's Gym, all of the machines are actually made of aurum (Au, atomic no. 79) and, as a result, are quite malleable. We assume that the heavier weights are merely plated in 14 karats and not 100% pure, but the toilet seats on the other hand... well, we never imagined that would actually feel better than plastic. Unfortunately, you pay for what you get: the gym costs about $50/mo., but they'll waive the $125 enrollment fee if you sign up for two months to ring in the New Year. You must also pay with nuggets from a leather satchel. And show up with a dog named White Fang. From Alaska.
85 Livingston St., Brooklyn 718-643-1751; 250 W. 54th St., 212-307-7760
» Body Reserve
We called Body Reserve for the first time last year when we were looking for cadavers on which to test out our new PVC trebuchet, but they refused to help. However, we did find a delightfully neighborhood-y gym that's running a three-month, $250 New Year's special with no fees or taxes. (Six months? $399! Optional $65/mo. thereafter.) Just don't look in the basement. For the love of god, don't look in the basement.
207 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, 718-789-7009
» Soma Health Club
Although we tried to figure out why Soma Gym is named after Huxley's fictional mood-altering drug, we couldn't remember anything after our visit, had trouble sitting down, and found a small, hand written note on an index card in our pocket stating: Join us. $80/mo.
107 S. 6th St., Brooklyn, 718-387-SOMA (uh, 7662?)
» Absolute Power
Named after the political thriller directed by Clint Eastwood and personally managed by Ed Harris, this gym is definitely the best bang for your buck: for the New Year, there is no contract, and you get a whole year for $463. Gene Hackman told us so. (Oh, and it's on Grand Street, that strip of asphalt and sidewalk that Matt and Kim sing about all the time.)
750 Grand St., Brooklyn , 718-387-4711
» Equinox Fitness Club
Equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus and nox meaning, roughly, equal night, because on the Equinox the night day are equal in length. But if you ask them what that has to do with working out, they hang up on you. If you can get a fellow Wiccan to join with you, Equinox will waive the $425 initiation fee, and then it will cost you about $140/mo for the rest of the year.
194 Joralemon St, Brooklyn 718-522-7533