For the third time in five years, the neighborhood gym has moved, first from 700 Elton Avenue to 677 Elton Avenue, and now to 1029 E. 167th Street.
Owner Pedro Laspina feels the move is a better fit for himself, and his members, and celebrated his new home with a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 25.
“The people who came out were really excited,” said Laspina. “The place is bigger and much more comfortable. But most importantly, it is more accessible to everyone.”
Those who wish to use the gym can locate the facility rather easily, taking either the #2 or #5 train to Simpson Street or by taking the #6 train to Whitlock Avenue. The gym is also accessible via several buses.
“The first time I had to move because of rent issues, but this time, I had to move to accommodate my members,” continued Laspina. “They had been complaining that the gym was too far away and that it was hard for them to get to the place.”
Laspina feels that the previous location was hidden amongst the more commercial strip on Elton and Third avenues.
“This is more for the community,” he says of his new gym. “There are more buildings here; more people all around us. New members have been signing up since we opened.”
Laspina, who grew up in the community and still lives there, also points to the 2,500 square feet of space that enables him to house a boxing ring, five punching bags and various other equipment, while opening up space for other programs through the El Maestro 501c3 that owns the lease on the building.
Through El Maestro, the new gym houses a little league for 4-15 year olds, a softball league for 18 year olds and up, and cultural events that include, among other aspects, a musical education program that teaches drumming to local youth.
The gym is open for training from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Weekend hours are for more seasoned fighters training for various events such as Golden Gloves, the baseball programs and other community activities.
Those who wish to join the program, can do so by going to the school or calling Laspina at (646) 337-6775.
Laspina is hopeful that residents will find what they are looking for in the new gym. “I’ve moved three times,” he said. “I hope this is my last.”
©2008 Community News Group