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No Frills Gym
BY BILL HUXLEY

Have you been lamenting the high cost of health club memberships in and around Turtle Bay? Do you wish there were a neighborhood gym where you could work out and pay only two dollars a month (and that didn't require time travel to another century)? If so, you may be a good candidate for membership in "Recreation Center 54 East" located in the northeast corner of our neighborhood at 348 East 54th Street.

Run by the New York City Parks Department, the center offers a swimming pool, a fitness room with cardiovascular and strength training equipment, an indoor track, basketball court, and large multi-purpose game rooms. In addition, there are a variety of classes for children and adults, a number of recreation leagues, and many exciting programs of interest to all.

While the Recreation Center can't compete with the glitz, trendiness, or broad range of affiliated services such as massages and juice bars found in the newer gyms in Turtle Bay, it easily satisfies what many people still consider the main need for going to the gym at all: a solid workout in a clean and pleasant environment.

Even if you aren't a fitness buff, you should stroll up to the center just to admire the building. Built in 1906, this four-story neo-classic structure was originally known as the East 54th Street Public Bath and Gymnasium. In 1938, the Borough President's office turned the building over to the Parks Department. Although not a designated landmark, the building still displays all of its original character and history.

Recreation Center 54 East today is considered one of the finest public recreation centers in Manhattan. Although membership contributions are voluntary, the center asks for a $25 annual donation ($10 for seniors and students). Questions? Call Acting Manager Sara Horowitz at 397-3154. It could be the first step in your long-delayed fitness program.

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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
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