West Village Rec Center Closed Indefinitely After Sandy

By Andrea Swalec on December 7, 2012 7:26am 

MANHATTAN — Spring Street senior James Woods usually wakes up near dawn six days a week to swim 40 laps at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center on Clarkson Street.

But since Hurricane Sandy struck, his 7 a.m. routine and those of hundreds of other rec center members has been disrupted.

The city Parks Department-run fitness center at 1 Clarkson St. has been closed because of water damage since the monster storm hit on Oct. 29, and five weeks later there's still no expected reopening date.

Flooding damaged the boiler at the center, cutting off the heat and hot water, a Parks Department spokesman said Wednesday.

"We are working on the repairs but do not have a timeframe yet as to when the center will reopen," he said in a statement.

Woods, a 66-year-old computer technician, said Thursday that the closure of Dapolito — which has indoor and outdoor pools, exercise machines and ping-pong tables — has limited his exercise schedule to two or three times per week. In the meantime, he has been walking from his SoHo home to the Chelsea Recreation Center on West 25th Street between Ninth and 10th avenues.

The gym closure has affected the fitness regimens of lots of older Dapolito members, he said.

"A lot of seniors, this is what they do," he said. "This kind of shuts us down."

The Parks Department is reminding members at Dapolito and the Asser Levy Recreation Center in Kips Bay, which was also damaged by the storm, that they can use any facility in the five boroughs. The center's low membership fees run anywhere from $150 per year for access to all the centers, to just $25 per year for seniors. 

To accommodate members whose local centers are closed, the Parks Department has added Sunday hours at the Chelsea center and Recreation Center 54, located on East 54th Street in Sutton Place, through December. Those locations are now open Sunday from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Workers at the Chelsea location said Thursday they have seen an uptick in foot traffic since the storm, but that there have been enough pool lanes and ping-pong tables to go around.

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