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Noisy CrossFit Gym Has Been Operating Illegally for Months, Board Says

By Mathew Katz | December 4, 2013 9:10am
 A member push presses weight overhead at Brick New York.
A member push presses weight overhead at Brick New York.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — A luxury CrossFit gym in Chelsea driving its neighbors crazy with noisy weight-dropping has been illegally operating without a city permit since its opening, according to Community Board 4.

Brick New York at 257 W. 17th St. — which came under fire last month from neighbors who brought the gym to court for letting its members repeatedly drop weights, sending shock waves through surrounding apartments — didn't apply for a required Physical Culture Establishment permit before it opened its doors in August, CB4 members said.

"The gym has been operating illegally since it opened in August before obtaining a special permit pursuant to Section 73-36 of [the] Zoning Resolution for a new health club," the board wrote in a draft letter set to be voted on at its upcoming full board meeting.

Reps for the 8,397-square-foot gym finally submitted an application for a permit on Sept. 6, more than a month after opening, through the Board of Standards and Appeals, records show.

But locals, including Community Board 4, plan to ask the BSA to deny the application unless the gym tightens up its act, they say.

Neither Brick nor the BSA responded to a request for comment.

The CrossFit craze incorporates elements from many other fitness programs, including Olympic lifting, in which athletes bring heavy weights overhead, then "bail" them to the ground, free-fall style, dropping them safely for the weight lifters, but loudly for those beneath.

“The ongoing disturbances prevent the [condo residents] from going about their daily routines in the manner a person might reasonably expect,” the condo board's lawsuit says.

According to court documents, a judge temporarily ordered the gym to stop dropping weights before 7:30 a.m. and after 8:30 p.m. — a move CB4 hopes to make permanent before the city grants it a permit. The gym's first class in the morning is at 5:45 a.m.

In addition to the banging weights, neighbors have also complained that Brick New York blasts loud bass music during workouts and that sprinters from the gym often clog the sidewalk, according to the lawsuit brought against the gym and its landlord.

In its letter, Community Board 4 argued that the problems might have been avoided had the gym applied for the permit before opening.

"CB4 does not accept that operating a health club without the required special permit is 'business as usual,' as the applicant’s attorney stated [in a conversation with the community board]," the board wrote. "This Brick gym application is a perfect example of why the BSA review process is important."

The condo board's attorney, Jay Ginsberg, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which is still pending.