In the Swim – In & Around FiDi
When you can see the East River or the Hudson River through your windows, the urge to enjoy a swim is understandable. Also understandable is the desire to swim in waters much cleaner than those of the rivers. Fortunately several fitness and wellness centers in Battery Park City and the Financial District have pools and aquatic programs.
212 North End Avenue (between Murray and Warren Streets)
A not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping people live healthier through physical activity, Asphalt Green has a location on the Upper East Side as well as one in Battery Park City. The latter includes a 25-yard-long indoor pool heated to roughly 80 degrees, with lanes designated for slow, medium-paced, and fast swimmers during lap swims. Most of these lap swims are for adults only, though swims just for tweens are held on weekends, and the pool also hosts open sessions for all ages. A second pool, heated to approximately 90 degrees, is dedicated to swimming instruction and low-impact aquatic exercise classes as well as family-friendly open sessions. Beyond the pools, Asphalt Green’s downtown campus offers martial arts, volleyball, basketball, and tennis classes for kids. For adults there is a gym with machines and free weights, along with classes including Pilates, yoga, boxing, tennis, and HIIT.
345 Chambers Street (between West Street and River Terrace)
Though located in a high school, this is no mere high school gym. Operated by the Battery Park City Authority, the community center includes an 82-foot-long (half Olympic-size) pool. When not set aside for lap swims or swim lessons for kids and adults, the pool is available for open and family swims. In addition to the pool, the facilities include basketball and badminton courts. Boxing workouts and cardio fitness, yoga, and tai chi classes for adults along with badminton and tennis classes for kids are also available.
120 Warren Street (between Greenwich and West Streets)
In addition to providing an array of sports teams, after-school programs, and classes for kids, Manhattan Youth allows adults to take advantage of its four-lane, 25-yard-long pool, which is heated to 88 degrees for year-round enjoyment. At certain times of the day lanes are reserved for adult lap swims; at other times classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced adult swimmers are taught as well as private lessons. If you know how to swim you can participate in Glide Fit classes, which use special boards in the water to maximize the strengthening benefits of the workout. Lap swims and fitness programs specifically for seniors are offered too, as are family swim hours where everyone is welcome to get their feet, and the rest of their bodies, wet.
39 Whitehall Street (between Water and Pearl Streets)
The 60-foot-long pool, available for lap swimming and fitness classes, is just one of the amenities at New York Health & Racket Club’s Whitehall location. The gym includes a 10,000-square-foot cardio studio chockablock with machines, as well as fitness and yoga studios, three squash courts—one of which is the larger international size—two racquetball courts, and a basketball half-court. Classes range literally from A (Athletic Yoga) to Z (Zumba), with the likes of cycling, Pilates, and HIIT in between. After your workout you can indulge in a massage or bask in a whirlpool, a steam room, or the eucalyptus infrared sauna.
88 Fulton Street (between Gold and William Streets)
Along with standard and cold-plunge pools, Wall Street Bath and Spa offers several types of saunas, including an old-school schvitz. Image: Wall Street Bath and Spa
Wall Street Bath and Spa follows the Eastern European model of a spa, though the swimming pool is definitely an American-style addition. So is the schvitz. Yiddish for “sweat,” a schvitz is a New World variation of an Old World sauna: as you sit and sweat on one of the benches, you can douse yourself with cold water to improve blood circulation. In addition to the schvitz, Wall Street Bath includes a rock-and-cedar Russian-style sauna, where the dry heat can reach temperatures of 180 degrees. Less hardy souls might prefer the Turkish-style eucalyptus steam room or the Jacuzzi. Between stints in the saunas step into the cold plunge pool, maintained at 52 degrees, to rejuvenate your system. For a different type of rejuvenation, you can sip a smoothie at the juice bar or order Russian food from Matryoshka restaurant next door and have borsch, blintzes, smoked-eel salad, or beef stroganoff delivered to one of the spa’s lounges.