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Blink Fitness: A sneak peek at Equinox’s new budget-friendly gym

Blink Fitness

A Blink employee cleans up the Front Porch for the big opening today at noon

This weekend, Equinox, the Ritz-Carlton of fitness brands, is playing the Lanvin-for-H&M game and introducing a new, non-luxury product: the no-frills gym.

Blink Fitness will debut with three locations: Paramus in New Jersey, Yonkers in Westchester, and a Manhattan outpost in the old Tower Records building at East 4th Street and Broadway in Noho. Lines have already formed for the memberships priced at a very reasonable $20 per month.

“After the recession hit, we started to look at places like Planet Fitness and saw an opportunity for us to enter this space and really have a creative expression of what fast, fun, and affordable fitness can look like,” says Dos Condon, the vice president of Blink Fitness.

So what does a $20 a month membership get you?

Blink Fitness

Blink doesn't skimp on top-of-the-line cardio and strength equipment—it's the same as Equinox's

Industrial modern design, created by the Rockwell Group, for starters. The same top-of-the line cardio and strength equipment made by Life Fitness and Precor (100 cardio machines and 60 strengthening) used at Equinox. A decent-sized stretching area with a “functional zone” floor created by Pavigym, which has some useful elements like a space for ladder drills, and less essential ones like a hopscotch.

What’s missing? Amenities. The locker rooms are attractive, but ultra-cramped. There’s no complimentary Kiehl’s, mouthwash, or even towels to mop the sweat off of your brow. You can borrow one by putting some money into an on-site vending machine or BYOT.

Also absent: group fitness classes and personal training. It’s a decision that likely reflects the main purpose this gym will serve—a place for the thousands of New Yorkers already heavily invested in the boutique fitness scene, who lay out $30 for spin classes, $35 for barre classes, and have a regular yoga studio for which they buy 10-class packs. They just need a place to run and lift.

Blink Fitness

Exposed columns and bright accents contribute to Blink's modern design

Condon says Blink is suited to the busy professional short on time and for (less-committed) newcomers, who may not be $150-monthly contract material, we suspect. “It’s accessible for people who don’t currently go to gyms,” Condon explains. “I think newbies are going to feel very comfortable here.”

To make them comfortable, there’s the club entrance, which Blink calls the Front Porch. It’s being billed as a social area for members to linger with a few stools and suped-up vending machines that sells healthy-ish beverages and snacks. The machines will soon carry other items like iPod earbuds, and, yes, towels.

With the Blink Noho opening its doors today, and New Yorkers flocking to the $20-per-month gym (plus enrollment fee), should we be worried about getting a treadmill? “There are easy business solutions to something that’s going to be very popular,” Condon says. “Will we allow people to wait in lines to get on a piece of equipment? No, we won’t allow that to happen.” —Lisa Elaine Held

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  1. January 7th, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I wish this was around when I was trying to find an inexpensive place to use at treadmill while half marathon training last winter! This gym is a great idea. If it were closer to me, I wouldn’t think twice about having a membership just to have more options. Hopefully this idea expands.

  2. January 10th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Checked it out on Saturday, place is CLEAN, and was empty. It’ll be interesting to see how buys it is, but it looks great!

  3. January 11th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Joined Blink Paramus. Opens today! Looks great from a distance. I wasn’t available to do the pre-opening tour.

  4. January 11th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I’ve been debating this gym ever since the pre-sale was out. If it was closer to my apartment or work, I’d definitely join. Blink – come to Brooklyn!

  5. January 11th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    This is brilliant. I had been paying for Physique, Exhale, yoga, personal training and a gym. I’ve scaled everything back because it didn’t seem to make sense. This would have fit perfectly and had I known about it sooner, would have kept my old routine!

  6. Well+Good
    January 11th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I second that: Blink would be perfect for Brooklyn!

  7. January 11th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    will have to swing by to see if it will fit into my commute. if so, I’ll leave my current gym for this amazing deal!

  8. January 11th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great option–really, other than group fitness (spinning for me) and a locker room (i’d rather go home sweaty), Blink is perfect for me. I’m there!

  9. January 11th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    i third the idea – blink brooklyn please!!

  10. January 11th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. Hope they open one on the Upper West Side. The only thing I’d miss in comparison with a regular gym is free towels. I’d adapt.

  11. January 11th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    IN PARTICULAR, PARK SLOPE – SAVE US FROM CRUNCH!

  12. January 11th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry – that was supposed to read: BLINK PLEASE COME TO BROOKLYN FOURTHED!

  13. July 20th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    [...] halls in Queens, or your dad’s garage.Tomorrow, Equinox’s budget fitness alternative, Blink, is partnering with Table Tennis Nation to give them a new home (for the night)—the [...]

  14. October 6th, 2011 at 6:31 am

    [...] holistic beauty, and more, and is partnering with healthy lifestyle companies like Pratima and Blink.Who pays for all of this? Van Djik is financing the company entirely from her own pocket for now, [...]

  15. December 6th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    dtbysxfmmboehppeozd, gtqgvmmrxv

  16. April 8th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    PLEASE BRING A BLINK TO BROOKLYN!!!

  17. August 11th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    These look like great gyms. You can find gyms like these through http://www.soolis.com/gtms

  18. August 17th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    [...] Bronx is having a mini fitness boom, according to the Daily News, with Blink Fitness, Crunch, and Planet Fitness all opening new locations in the [...]

  19. August 18th, 2012 at 12:12 am

    [...] Bronx is having a mini fitness boom, according to the Daily News, with Blink Fitness, Crunch, and Planet Fitness all opening new locations in the [...]

  20. August 28th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    They just opened a new Blink right around my building in Parkchester. Nice gym except I wished they had spin bikes. I used to spin at NYSC; but I canceled my membership to this more affordable gym. And, so far, is even cleaner that NYSC. Please, please, please, bring some spin bikes….

  21. January 31st, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Good idea I join plant fitness on church ave and there r no stair masters they said they don’t carry stair masters I was turn off hope u guy carry them and I will be joining.

  22. February 13th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I join its the best. cant wait for the 116 st area to open

    thanks so much.

  23. June 19th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    [...] Blink Fitness initial opened in Noho, Paramus, and Yonkers in Jan 2011 and has fast stretched into city neighborhoods and suburbs that are under-served when it comes to aptness options—think Jamaica, Queens, Parkchester in a Bronx, and Flatbush, Brooklyn (opening in August). [...]

  24. January 15th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    so far so good… i liked Ballys but left them and entire gym scene for years until i heard BLINK was coming out from Equinox line… now im in.. Perhaps another location in the Northern Queens/LITTLE NECK area?? give Ballys there a run for their money!! lol

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