‘Mom and pop’ gym to open in trendy neighborhood

by amy zimmer / metro new york

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AUG 4, 2006

LOWER EAST SIDE — First a Starbucks, now a gym.

But Ludlow Fitness — which is bringing state-of-the-art cardio equipment, yoga classes and a juice bar to where Bunnies used to sell inexpensive children’s clothes at Ludlow and Delancey streets — doesn’t want a chain store feel.

“I knew the need for that area,” said Mason Goldberg, 31, who is kicking off gym membership sales tomorrow for his anticipated November opening. “It’s like the corner deli. Every neighborhood has one and should, but there were no gyms here.” He envisions his space more like a mom-and-pop gym.

“We’re hoping to get people who travel way too far to go to the gym,” Goldberg said, “and for people who don’t want to feel like they’re in a fashion show when they go into the locker room, like the men’s locker room at the Crunch on Lafayette [Street]. We’re going to be a neighborhood gym. If your mother is in town for the weekend, bring her. We’ll give her a guest pass. Just don’t bring her every weekend.”

The gym will take over the second floor of the new building, which will have roughly six floors of new apartments above it. On the first floor, Duane Reade is moving in. There’s a Duane Reade across the street, but that building will be razed to make way for more luxury housing.

Young Lee, 32, who lives on Clinton Street, said she would probably join and take yoga classes. “I don’t go to a gym now because there’s nothing really close.”

Ziggy Spitzer, 57, who’s worked at Spitzer’s women’s clothing around the corner for 43 years, lamented the decline in retail sales in the area but welcomed the gym. “The area became a place for nightlife. And now new people are coming. It’s like a life cycle. We just push along.”

Mail campaign

• Goldberg sent flyers to the 20,000 households in the 10002 zip code offering a special $299 annual membership for the first 100 people who sign up (with the card). The regular rate will be $369 a year.

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