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CityRow opens in Union Square

(Photo: CityRow)
(Photo: CityRow)


On Monday, CityRow joined the regatta of fitness studios pushing to make rowing New York’s hottest workout of 2014.

The anticipated workout spot opened its doors at 80 Fifth Avenue at 14th Street, right next to Hu Kitchen and Pure Barre, and just steps from CLAY. It has a cozy yoga studio feel, with one large room for classes and a small entrance and check-in area, with cubbies for bags and jackets. Changing rooms will be installed soon, but it won’t have showers—and bathrooms are outside of the studio, shared with other offices on the floor.

(Photo: CityRow)

Program Director Annie Mulgrew, a Laughing Lotus yoga instructor and anatomy enthusiast who trained with Leslie Kaminoff and the Kain Pilates School at Kinected, created three types of CityRow classes ($32). The main event, Signature Row, combines rowing and strength training intervals; Row & Flow kicks off with rowing followed by 30 minutes of yoga; Row & Core pairs rowing with Pilates-based core work.

All three involve significant time on the Indo-Row WaterRower, a machine that uses a water flywheel to mimic the feeling of rowing on a river. Compared to the Concept2s that are common in CrossFit, it feels more difficult to get started, with more resistance in the arms. Once you get into a groove, the motion is more fluid.

It’s also incredibly challenging. A Signature Row class on opening day got my heart rate up almost immediately and delivered serious muscle burn, with killer sprints on the machine and tough mat intervals with push-ups, and squats and lunges with heavy weights.

But CityRow is tapping the boutique vibe to keep it fun. Lights are dimmed, the music’s loud, and Mulgrew’s got energy and encouragement to spare. (Other instructors include CLAY’s Beth Lewis and former Equinox trainer Shaun Jenkins.)—Lisa Elaine Held

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