Like many self-aware, twenty-something, body-conscious women who dabble in the arts of healthy living, I have joined, canceled, and re-joined gyms more times than I’ll ever likely admit. In Astoria, New York alone I have had three gym memberships in the seven years I have lived here, (which may sound like a surprisingly low number until you consider that I didn’t look at, think about, or venture near a gym for the first four years…) and actually attended them enough to share my experiences and a few insider tips.
Below is a short and sweet list of three Astoria gyms that are appropriate for everyone from the wishful thinker to the avid fitness guru.
Astoria Sports Complex
34-38 38th St
Long Island City, NY
Complex is an appropriate title for this sprawling gym, equipped with a sauna, tanning rooms, batting cages, swimming pool (bring your own swimming cap or purchase one in the shop on premises,) and an indoor soccer field in addition to the regular gym areas. They have started offering free towels (sadly eliminating the awkward encounters with the ornery, older lady whose job was to embarrass any member who dared arrive without there own towel) and it appears free passes to some of the extra fee areas (pool, sauna, tanning) are now available with a new membership. Which, according to their website, will run you $10/month (for the first 100 members only.)
Note: The downside: this is not the cleanest gym. The upside: their hardcore weight room is completely separate from the regular equipment. And you can’t beat the price.
New York Sports Club
2856 Steinway St
Most people are familiar with the New York/Boston/Washington/Philadelphia Sports Club Company, so this will be a pithy review. It’s clean. They provide copious free towels and classes. They even have a boxing area with both speed and full size punching bags. But it’s expensive. Two years ago I recall dropping over $70 a month for the one of the cheapest membership levels, Gold. If you use all of the aforementioned perks, perhaps the membership is worth it, but for the average person it’s overpriced.
Tip: Find a friend who is already a member and get a guest pass to see if the bang is worth the buck. Another option is to try a $30 for 30 days trial membership that, according to their website, is currently being offered.
30-33 Steinway St.
This cheap, bare bones, and clean-enough gym is great for the 30-60 minute workout of a quick run and some weight lifting. It’s not the type of gym for the once a month, all day, guilt work out. It’s for the 3, 5, 7 days a week person who is going in for maximized perspiration and then getting out. The treadmills shake, the space is slightly limited, and not everyone obeys the sign that asks members to please wipe down each machine after use. They do have Free Pizza nights the first Monday of every month and there’s tanning downstairs, right behind the “relaxation zone,” equipped with massage chairs and a flat screen TV, so they do make an effort, but who wants to be tempted with pizza and who goes to the gym to relax? No towels are provided (aside from paper towels) so if you need a sweat rag, bring your own.
Tip: Wipe down your machine before use (see above.) Also, avoid the after school rush of flirtatious and noisy youth. For those who don’t remember what “after school” hours are it’s a safe bet to stay away between 2 pm and 4 pm.
General Gym Tip: Downsize your duffel. I wear a small running belt with my keys and ID, and bring a water bottle (not disposable!) avoiding the locker rooms all together. Of course that only works if you’re lucky enough to have time for a post-workout, pre-work shower at home.
Other Astoria area gyms:
Rock Health & Fitness Club
2211 31st St
Long Island City, NY
Matrix Fitness Club
4360 Ditmars Blvd