It’s been nearly 2 and 1/2 years since I joined the Asser Levy Recreation Center. It’s $75 a year for a crowded, sweaty, ancient exercise room, an indoor AND outdoor pool, one ping pong table, one pool table, and a locker room that I’m pretty sure lets the poor and down-trodden (i.e. homeless) of New York City bathe. Yup. This is where I’ve been working out the last couple of years. Yup. I’m cheap.
I know all you people at your New York Sports clubs and Crunches, wearing your spinning shoes and drinking your protein shakes at Equinox, will look down on my poor Asser Levy Rec Center, and to each his own…but I’m proud to be a member of a club who only has 3 of their 7 treadmills working at any given time. I’m proud to be a member of a club who had to hand-write on the pretty, professional sign sharing the ‘rules’ of the fitness room with such additional rules as ‘please wear shoes at all times.’ I’m proud of the 85 year old woman singing ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’ while she power-walks at break neck speed (about a 40 min. mile) on the treadmill next to me. And I’m proud that every time I leave I find I still haven’t contracted lice. I love it. Because, just when you think you’ve seen it all at Asser Levy, another NYC Park Professional has to climb up on their little ladder and add another hand-written rule to that poor sign, and you know that, by gosh, you haven’t seen the half of it.
And the dress code there, well…let’s just say, it’s always been a little…non existent. Now that everybody knows they have to wear shoes, I thought maybe the fashions might get a little classier. But for the most part, we’ve still got people with their beer bellies hanging out of a sweat-stained wife beater, 65 year old women wearing nothing but nude colored sports bras and purple spandex with stir-rups. Once I saw someone wearing a near perfect Flashdance getup with the special addition of a faux Coach fanny pack around her waist. I guess it’s those little touches that really kick things up a notch.
Well, on my last visit, I was pleased to learn that someone had taken things to a new level of class. I saw a man in a track suit. No, not just any old track suit. A track suit made of garbage bags. Garbage bags DUCK TAPED together to create a suit. Dear readers, I implore you to run and get an annual membership at Asser Levy. Where class…meets garbage bags. You won’t be disappointed. And I’m proud to say that, against all odds, you will not contract lice.