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Storefronting: Harlem Spas, Equinox Faux-Pas


[Union Square Dog Town Bites photo from WhatISee]

1) Harlem: Much like the East Village's bloody dumpling war, Harlem may be gearing up for an epic spa scuffle. On Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th, a soon-to-open day spa for men and women on the second floor of Nubian Heritage is giving tours to local famous bloggers. A few blocks south, Braxton?"Exceptional grooming for exceptional men"?prepares for battle. [Harlem Fur]
2) Chelsea: "Eleni's in Chelsea Market is undergoing renovations, so it's closed for the next two weeks or so. This normally would not be worth a tip, but the "We'll be back" sign says that their new digs will bring with them both new cookie flavors and ... sandwiches? Perhaps Eleni's wants a taste of that ever-expanding Chelsea Market lunchtime crowd, although really, the last thing that corridor needs is another place hawking sandwiches." [Storefronting inbox]
3) East Village: Disgruntled Duane Reade customer issues personal challenge: "I was so frustrated with their unhelpful and unhappy customer service that about two years ago, I made a declaration: if the cashier did not smile while I was checking out, I would vow to never shop there again." Gee, how do you think this one turned out [East Village Idiot]
4) Soho: Are you ready for this review of the new Equinox gym? No, you're not, but here it goes anyway: "So..here's the situation. I live in Soho and have been a member of NYSC on Mercer for a while now and while they offer me a great experience and most everything that I feel a great gym should have...the new Equinox on Broadway and Prince just opened and since it is close to me, I figured I'd give it a shot. I've never been a member at an Equinox in NYC, but I assumed that they were the cream of the crop as far as "total gym experience" goes. I guess I was completely wrong..."

To make a long story short...there were 3 items that were not satisfactory in my opinion (a close friend had other issues..but I will focus on only mine). Granted, there will be some people who insist that these points are not exactly important..they are important to me and I assume to many others. But the real point of this notice is to show you how the request to cancel my introductory membership was handled by someone who gave me, and a friend who also cancelled for similar reasons, one of the worst attitudes I've ever received.

1. While it's really great that this new Equinox has new equipment and new cardio machines, where in the world are the personal TVs? Virtually every hotel gym I work out at has them and so does my NYSC. This perk of top gyms makes working out more personal and more enjoyable...but for some reason, Equinox skimped.

(Now..here's the good part. When bringing up this dissatisfaction with Laura (who I've come to find is, unbelievably, the GM) her response to me was "they always break". Now wait till you hear the response she gave to my friend who brought this same issue up a few days prior to me. Her response at that time was "you come to the gym to work out, not watch TV". Wow. Remember..this gym is supposed to be the best of the best in the most expensive neighborhood in NYC. Even if it wasn't..who says something like that to a customer?)

2. There are no pulldown machine attachments on the gym floor. Normal gyms offer a variety of attachments, but for some reason this new Equinox only has the one on the machine itself and no variety of attachments...anywhere. I'm going to assume eventually they will have to take care of this, but it doesn't seem like they are in a hurry.

(The response I got to this issue was a blank stare and silence from Laura. Great stuff.)

3. My final issue was that there are no drink machines (water, Gatorade, etc) on the workout floor or anywhere in the gym (my NYSC has 5 machines in various places). I'm the kind of person who likes to show up to the gym with a couple bucks in my pocket and be able to get sweaty/tired and walk over to a machine when I'm thirsty and get a bottle of water. And if you're the kind of person who doesn't like to drink from water fountains..you know what I mean. Equinox has a cafe downstairs that often times has a line, but no easy access beverage machines anywhere.

(Ok, at this point I'm getting a little pissed because the look of attitude on Laura's face is starting to make my stomach sick. She's got one of those "are you serious?" looks and I of course was. Her response to this issue was that I should just go down to the cafe to get water. I mentioned that it would be nice to not have to wait in a line in the middle of a workout to get a drink. She then says "then go before your workout". Not only is she continuing to tell me what I should be doing (yeah right), I suppose she doesn't realize that there could be a line at that point as well. I mention this to her and she just gives me a "ppfhhfh". So I say "why don't you just have a couple beverage machines on the floor to make it easier for people?" and she says, quite angrily, "come on...I've never been in a gym with beverage machines". I told her she could take a walk down to NYSC to take a look if she wanted. I then asked "why are you debating all of these issues with me? These are my issues and you want to tell me...". She then abruptly cut me off and opened her folder to fill out my membership info in order to give me a refund. It was as rude as I've experienced....and this was the General Manager of all people.)

Anyway...that is my report about the new Equinox in Soho. I'm really disappointed and surprised that the gym doesn't offer some of the amenities and no-brainer items that other gyms in the neighborhood do. Would have dropped my NYSC membership in a second because of how close the Equinox is (and no, this is not an ad for NYSC...just stating the facts)." [Storefronting inbox]