I’m not that picky. I swear I’m not. I take the subway a minimum of twice a day and I’m totally fine with it. I’m the farthest thing from a germaphobe that exists (feel free to come check out my apartment for confirmation). And I really don’t have the highest standards (I can show you pictures of guys I’ve had sex with). But, last night, my standards were pushed to the limits.
Last night I went to New York Sports Club on 14th st. between 5th and 6th Aves. And let me just say... Like the holocaust, Never again.
I bought a 2 week trial membership on Groupon, a nifty little website that e-mails me with fun discounts everyday. The other ones I have purchased are: 3 concerts at Carnegie Hall (So what? I like classical music. Big whoop!), a discounted meal at Johnny Rockets (if you offer me discounted burgers and fries, why would I not buy it?), a discounted meal at Maoz (dank falafels that I’ve yet to try) and today, actually, I purchased a discounted golf lessons at Chelsea Piers.
The NYSC coupon was $29 for 2 weeks including 3 personal training sessions. And I decided to activate it last night. First of all, when you walk into a gym, obviously it’s going to have some sort of distinct smell or odor. This one smelled like poor people… Sweaty poor people. With little to no air circulation.
I walk to the front counter and present my Groupon (soooo punny!) and I am referred to a guy… let’s call him “Mike”… because his name is actually Mike. So first off, Mike slips me a horrible dead-fish handshake. You’re a man working at a gym, squeeze my hand a little, let me know you’re in control of the situation (you’re not).
We go into his office so he can sign me up for my two weeks and try to coax me into joining for more than that (thank GOD I was able to resist). Then his computer freaked out or something and I think he got nervous and told me to just go work out and he’d leave my pass at the front desk and I could pick it up when I left.
So I start to walk around to give myself the grand tour, because Mike had forgotten to do so because of his awkward PC freak out (he caught up to me after I had walked around and explained where everything was, thanks Mike.)
Ok, this is weird, but I’m kind of particular about treadmills. I don’t know what it is, and I’m fully aware it’s all in my head, but I always have a much better work out on a LifeStyle treadmill and basically refuse to run on anything else. Well, there were none of those to be found.
I get on a treadmill and try to start it. It won’t start. The read-out says something weird about restarting the machine. I immediately become embarrassed because I am well aware that the people working out on the surrounding machines have probably seen 5+ people make this mistake since they’ve been working out. A common fail in any gym scene. Whatever, I got over it. I start looking around for another treadmill or elliptical or even stair master… None. There is a three person line for the cardio section. And there are more than a few open machines, but they’re all broken.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gym that has multiple broken machines. I mean, one or two, fine, I’ll let it slide. But if 1 out of every 5 cardio machines is not working, figure your fucking shit out. This is so beyond ridiculous I can’t even handle it. And yes, I was there at 6:30pm so it was the highest trafficked time of the day, but I haven’t waited on line for a treadmill since 2003 when the University of Richmond thought it was a good idea to provide 5 treadmills for a student body of 3,000.
I decided to kill some time by doing weights. After 10 or so minutes of that awkwardness I found a machine and got to it. Then when I was stretching and doing abs at the end of my work out, a man sat down near me on the mats that smelled of dirty dirty foreigner poverty and I almost gagged into my towel (which had the consistency of sand paper).
All in all, for someone who is trying to get back into exercising on the reg after taking a couple years off, this was not the most encouraging experience. But I obviously lied when I said "Never again", because I'm going back and using the shit out of the two weeks that I paid for. But after my two weeks is up I am taking myself to any other gym in Manhattan, where the world makes sense.