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Fitness Alfresco at East Hampton Indoor Tennis Complex

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 14:31
A Flywheel Sports instructor led an outdoor spin class at East Hampton Indoor Tennis on Saturday.
Jamie Bufalino

Soon after the onset of the pandemic, Matt Rubinstein, the club's events coordinator, began the process of turning the tennis complex's sprawling campus on Daniel's Hole Road into an open-air fitness center by luring the East Hampton branch of the Flywheel Sports spin studio there. "I reached out to Flywheel in April because we've got a lot of space, a lot of parking, and we're in an area where you can play music without bothering people," he said.

Thirty of Flywheel's stationary bikes have been set up — with attention to social distancing — in a parking lot behind the Clubhouse restaurant and entertainment complex, adjacent to a miniature golf course. "They're all nine and a half feet apart, in every direction," said Valentina Marin, Flywheel's studio manager, and the bikes are fully sanitized between use. Classes are held rain (within reason) or shine, and customers must pay for them online before arrival.

"It's great having the community back," said Natalie Cohen Gould, an instructor. Customers have loved the outdoor experience, and even the site's proximity to the East Hampton Airport has been a plus. "When we see the planes overhead it's amazing," she said. Flywheel had intended to operate in "the lot" as it calls it only through Labor Day, but "now it will be indefinitely." 

Once Flywheel opened, other gyms started to flock to the grounds. At the other end of the compound, the SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone) gym has set up its Microformer exercise machines on the patio of a former camp building that now houses Jon Bon Jovi's JBJ Soul Kitchen food bank. On especially hot days, classes, which can accommodate eight people, are held under an awning there, said Amanda Freeman, the founder, but the gym also has access to an adjacent lawn for a fully alfresco experience.

DanceBody, which offers cardio and body sculpting workouts, began holding classes on the property last week, and the Fhitting Room, a New York City gym that focuses on high intensity interval training, is operating on a large expanse of lawn nearby. The ample space allows clients to remain 12 feet apart while exercising, said Kari Saitowitz, the founder. And for added safety, everyone is asked to B.Y.O.B., "bring your own bell — either kettle, or bar," she said.

Mr. Rubinstein said he's been inundated with requests from other gym owners looking to set up shop on the property "but I've had to pick and choose because I don't want the studios competing with each other." One potential newcomer might be AWATfit (Anywhere Any Time Fitness), a mobile gym that has 20 workout stations including battle ropes, bungee runs, and a pull-up bar attached to a pickup truck. Richard Decker, the owner, is considering parking his business on site, said Mr. Rubinstein.

The variety of exercise options available gives the compound the feel of an Olympic training facility, and Mr. Rubinstein said having the gyms on site has provided everyone with a welcome relief from quarantine and the economic lockdown. "It seemed to be a great way to help businesses and the community, and to promote health and wellness," he said. "The weather's been pretty hot, but people have really appreciated it."


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