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Is the boutique fitness boom moving to Brooklyn?

CrossFit Boxes are becoming a Brooklyn neighborhood staple. (Photo: CrossFit Greenpoint)
CrossFit Boxes are becoming a Brooklyn neighborhood staple. (Photo: CrossFit Greenpoint)


While the outer borough is generally at the forefront of all-things-hip, Brooklyn has been slow to adopt workout trends (too much artisan bacon and craft beer?), and fitness offerings have generally been limited to yoga and Pilates. It looks like that’s about to change.

Well-known boutique brands are finally venturing across the Williamsburg Bridge and more indie workout studios are popping up in old garages and new high-rises.

“I feel like every time I go to [another Brooklyn] neighborhood I’ll be walking and think ‘Oh, there’s the CrossFit for Carrol Gardens, or whatever neighborhood,’ and every week I’m hearing about a spin, yoga, or Pilates studio that’s opening up,” says Annaliese Griffin, the editor-in-chief of Brooklyn Based, who lives in Williamsburg and has been a Brooklyn resident for nine years.

Claire Morgasen of Sapere Pilates in Brooklyn
Brooklyn studio openings have come in spurts, like last year’s which included Brooklyn Strength, Sacred, and Sapere. (Photo: Kathryn Sims for Sapere)

In Griffin’s neighborhood, Megaformer studio Brooklyn Bodyburn opened on the waterfront, Chalk Gyms opened blocks away, and (gasp!) a SoulCycle will debut on May 13.

Parkour-Capoeira-dance studio Brooklyn Beast opened to the East, BK Cycle opened in Bed-Stuy, and CrossFit Greenpoint introduced heavy lifting to the borough’s northern edge last fall.

In south Brooklyn, Everyday Athlete in Carroll Gardens opened a second location with a giant rock climbing wall in nearby Brooklyn Heights. And in Dumbo, a gym that includes a spin studio with stadium seating and an “adult jungle gym” is under construction.

And just like in Manhattan, small fitness brands without studios are also flourishing on Brooklyn’s patches of grass. “Everyone in the world is trying to get something up and running and hold it in the park,” says Griffin, who takes Beastanetics boot camp classes. “One time I counted around the track about eight different groups doing some kind of workout.”

With all of this, it seems Brooklyn’s boutique fitness boom is inevitable, if, of course, studios keep in mind that they’re catering to a crowd that frequents food co-ops and likes its pickles organic and hand-jarred.

Says Griffin, “There’s a real trend away from the elliptical and the treadmill and towards things that are workouts but are also hobbies, activities, or shared experiences.” —Lisa Elaine Held