Fitness studios unite for a healthy Harlem


HARLEM, Manhattan — The health of businesses and communities has been in the spotlight this past year.

Those concerns merge in the fitness industry and it’s apparent on the streets of Harlem. Studios are fighting for their health and the wellness of their customers. They could open for training and in-person classes last week at 33% capacity. 

But the estimate is nearly half of the gyms and fitness studios in the Harlem area have closed permanently. 

JTW Fit on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd at West 132nd St. had its grand opening in August 2019. 

Owner Jahkeen Washington grew up in the neighborhood. 

“We had a ton of momentum before closing. It was devastating to close so abruptly,” he said 

Erica Barth just resumed classes inside at Harlem Yoga Studio, which she has co-owned for a decade. 

“Harlem is a neighborhood where there’s a need. There are people on front lines and with comorbidities that make covid worse,” Barth said. 

Getting online to work out has been a lifeline for the businesses in Harlem and elsewhere. 

Uptown Grand Central, which promotes local businesses and activities, has organized three weeks of free sessions on-line. Click here for information and to register for the free Zoom classes provided by Mindful Harlem, Harlem Cycle, Harlem Pilates, Harlem Wellness Center, Harlem Run, JTW Fit and Harlem Yoga Studio. 

Prizes and merchandise are also available from Women’s World of Boxing, Bond Street Dojo and Harlem Chi Acupuncture. 

Harlem Cycle owner Tammeca Rochester says they’ll keep fighting for their businesses health and the community. 

“I’m worried about it everyday. We are on the verge of closing everyday. We haven’t received a lot of help,” Rochester said. 

Their classes are all being held via zoom until staff can be vaccinated and the state infection rates decline. They rented out their bikes to keep the business and the work outs going. 

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