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June 5, 2010
The only gym and aerobics facility in Battery Park City not within an apartment building, The New York Sports Club (NYSC) in the Embassy Suites building on Vesey Street adjacent to the new Goldman Sachs headquarters, is being closed down. Goldman Sachs owns the building and there are conflicting reports as to whether Goldman or NYSC initiated the closure.
A manager at the gym explained to BatteryPark.TV that the lease included the option for Goldman Sachs to take over the spot and that Goldman is the party that initiated the closure. The NYSC manager said, “We are not supposed to discuss this with the media…a lot of members are getting on Goldman about this”.
Goldman Sachs did not reply to BatteryPark.TV, but according to a local paper, Goldman Sachs claims that it was the NYSC that chose to close. Journalist Matthew Fenton wrote on June 4th, “Three employees at the club said that they understood this move to have been initiated by Goldman Sachs, the owner of the hotel, whose new headquarters building is located next door. But a Goldman spokesman, Andrea Raphael, said the closure is “a result of negotiations that began in May 2009 when NYSC approached us to terminate their lease.” A corporate spokesman for NYSC declined to comment.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote in April that Goldman employees were not pleased with the gym and sauna of the luxurious new headquarters 30 feet across from the Embassy Suites building and New York Sports Club. Many Goldman Sachs employees have joined the NYSC. It is not clear what Goldman Sachs will do with the Applebees and NYSC spaces.
Next door to the NYSC on the ground level was also an Applebees. That too has been closed, but whether Goldman Sachs caused this is unknown. Goldman Sachs is trying to recruit top restaurants like Danny Meyers’s Shake Shack to the area, according to Mr. Fenton. The hotel itself and the movie theater will remain open.
Local residents in Battery Park City are furious. In a local paper, one person wrote “(The shutdown of NYSC gym) is extremely and utterly disappointing. There is no gym in Battery Park City and the only one that we have is being booted out by Goldman Sachs…I feel bullied by them – after all of their disruptive construction plus the falling debris that has made me feel like I’ve lived in a “war zone” for the last several years. Now they are taking away something that is incredibly important for our community, and makes life inconvenient, which is a big selling point of having a gym close by. We all have busy, professional hectic lives and having a gym nearby is one of the many reasons we chose to live here. I would like to make sure that Goldman knows that we come first as residents and, as far as I’m concerned, they are a new visitor. I feel they should not be calling all of the shots. To live in this area, we all need to work together as opposed to being taken over and pushing people out.”
For more stories on how Goldman Sachs has angered the neighborhood since relocating to Battery Park City, please see our December story, “Goldman Sachs angering its new neighbors”