Swimming pools can be hard to come by in the city, but a handful of Midtown gyms do indeed have one—along with a full range of fitness equipment, classes, and amenities. And those who enjoy bobbing about in the warmth of an indoor pool but eschew swimming laps are in luck too: Midtown is home to New York’s only swim-up bar.
Athletic & Swim Club
787 Seventh Avenue (between 51st and 52nd Streets)
The 75-foot lap pool is a major draw of this gym, but it is hardly the only attraction. The 30,000-square-foot facility also includes cardio machines with individual TVs, weight-conditioning equipment, personal training, and a spa for post-workout pampering. The club offers open swims for families; if you never learned to swim or need a refresher, lessons are available. Other classes include several types of yoga, Seido karate and meditation, spin, Ab Blast, and Ultimate Sculpt. Among other niceties, you can get a complimentary shoeshine while at the club and a free apple to fortify yourself as you leave.
119 West 56th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
The rooftop pool of Gravity Fitness in Le Parker Meridien. Image: (Vincent Desjardins)/Flickr
Gravity Fitness is located in Le Parker Meridien hotel, and gym membership includes use of the hotel’s indoor rooftop pool. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to gaze out over Central Park between laps; after your swim you can dry off alfresco on the sun deck. The gym also includes a variety of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, and other cardio machines, all iPod ready and with personal TV monitors to help your session seem to go by more quickly. For strength training, you can choose between freestanding weights and machines (or use both, of course). Classes include yoga, Pilates, spin, kickboxing, and the rather terrifyingly named AssKicker; personal training is available as well.
110 West 56th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
18 East 50th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
Both locations include saltwater pools: a 52-foot one in the 56th Street gym and a 50-foot one at 50th Street. Both also include cardio equipment with personal TVs, strength-training machines, and free weights. The 56th Street facility boasts two racquetball courts, a basketball half-court, and a boxing studio; at 50th Street you can play squash on one of two courts. Among the classes are the Aqua Bootcamp cross-training workout, yoga, Zumba, and Cardio Sculpt. After your workout (or any other time) you can reward yourself with a massage or a soak in the whirlpool. Sessions in the eucalyptus infrared sauna or one of the steam rooms will also soothe body and soul.
1601 Broadway (at 49th Street)
Located on the 15th floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel, this 29,000-square-foot facility includes a lap pool. One benefit if you have children: You can reserve a lane for them for a half-hour at a time. This New York Sports Club branch also has a sauna along with the usual assortment of top-notch weight-training and cardio machines. You can take advantage of a complimentary personal fitness assessment and take part in classes that include Zumba, yoga, total body conditioning, PiYo (a combination of Pilates and yoga, with a bit of dance and martial arts thrown in), cycling, noncontact boxing, and Bodycombat, which incorporates moves from karate, kung fu, Muay Thai, and other martial arts.
125 West 45th Street
The pool bar at Room Mate Grace. Image: TJ DeGroat/Flickr
Hotel guests can enjoy Room Mate Grace’s indoor heated pool round-the-clock, but you do not need to be a tourist to take advantage of its “pool bar” between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The cover charge entitles you to use not only the pool but also the steam room and the sauna amid a nightclub ambience (think deejays and projection screens). And yes, there is indeed a bar—two actually: one poolside and another on the mezzanine. There is even swim-up service, should you be loath to leave the balmy water to quench your thirst.