Tribeca is one of New York City’s fittest neighborhoods. It’s home to fitness landmarks like Tracy Anderson, Barry’s Bootcamp, Flywheel, and SoulCycle, plus a slew of newcomers. So when a dedicated barre studio announced it was opening, initial guesses were along the lines of Pure Barre? Flybarre? Physique 57? But the neighborhood’s first barre studio is far from this familiar list.
Super indie Barre Tribeca is housed in the former painting studio of artist (and self-proclaimed “fitness enthusiast”) Lisa Stefanelli, who owns it with fitness trainer Lisa Grossman. Entering the studio is like walking into your friend’s cool New York City apartment. It doesn’t have the staleness that sometimes comes along with a chain studio (or the price tag, classes are only $25)—and the red-orange floors and Stefanelli’s artworks on the walls help liven the space.
The signature barre class draws on the Lotte Berk method, with a mix of strength training, isometrics, Pilates, and splashes of yoga. Annette O’Neill, RD, and owner of her own New Jersey barre and nutrition studio, Vitality Fitness, taught the class.
After the floor work we grabbed free-weights for exercises like bicep curls, then headed to the barre for leg and butt work, where O’Neill led us through some “small V” variations, lunges, and leg lifts. You know, the brutal stuff. We wrapped up with lots of core work, squeezing a playground ball.
“Each segment of the class involves the total body. Although one body part may be targeted, many muscles are recruited to accomplish each exercise,” explains O’Neill.
Because the classes are small—there were about eight in our session—O’Neill is able to watch your moves and offer adjustments. “Great form,” she said as she passed me during the leg lifts. (Woot!) Even if I hadn’t earned her praise, O’Neill’s encouraging demeanor would have encouraged me to keep working for it.
“Boutique studios like Vitality and Barre Tribeca allow us to truly know our clients, and tailor the class to fit who’s in the room. You won’t get that in a franchise or large classes,” O’Neill says. Proving her point was savasana, where she massaged each of us with a little chakra oil.
Need to know: The class times are a little inconvenient if you work 9-to-5 (this one was at 5 p.m.). Stefanelli says that they are focusing on “quality over quantity,” for now. A $25, 6:30 time slot? We expect that would fill up very quickly. There’s no water fountain or cooler, but they keep a small pitcher of water in the studio.
Who’s it for: Fitness types with flexible hours, those on a barre budget, and people not into corporate carpeted barre franchises or a workout scene. —Molly Gallagher
For more information, visit www.barretribeca.com