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CrossFit Enthusiasts Aim to Spark Rowing Trend in Columbus Circle

By Emily Frost | January 24, 2014 7:19am
 Row House and EVF Crossfit are set to open on Feb. 1. 
New Rowing and CrossFit Gym Coming to Columbus Circle
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UPPER WEST SIDE — SoulCycle's got nothing on this.

A husband-and-wife team is opening a new rowing gym in Columbus Circle that they hope will lead to a new trend in fitness.

Row House — which will mimic the atmosphere in spinning classes, with pumped-up music and high-energy teachers — is set to open on West 59th Street between 10th and 11th avenues on Feb. 1.

Married partners Eric Von Frohlich and Debra Frohlich will open a CrossFit gym, called EVF CrossFit Columbus Circle, to the building's 3,500-square-foot basement.

It was Frohlich's 90-year-old cousin Emory, an avid rower, who inspired her to bring the workout to a class setting.

"It’s kept him in wonderful shape," she said.

Frohlich thought it was time the rowing machine, a oft-overlooked piece of equipment at traditional gyms, made a comeback because it offers an intense, low-impact and low-risk workout, she said.

"I think this is the beginning of a big trend," she said. 

The duo already runs an Upper East Side CrossFit location and wanted to expand EVF, as well as launching their new rowing classes in a dense residential location. "Columbus Circle West," as Frohlich referred to the area, is attracting "people who have high household income and are young, ambitious go-getters who care about their health and wellness." 

In addition to rowing, Row House classes will feature intervals of running mixed with plyometric activities and some weightlifting. 

"I think [people are] going to realize that it’s hard, and they’re going to get amazing results from it," Frohlich said. 

Row House hopes to accommodate a range of participants, with beginners and more experienced athletes sharing the same classes. 

To start, Row House will offer three different classes — full body, core and endurance — for 10 people at a time, eventually moving up to 20 per class as attendees learn the technique.

The couple's background working at Equinox gyms on the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons means participants can expect a higher level of cleanliness and service than at no-frills gyms, Frohlich said.

The gym is still in the process of getting the necessary city permits to operate, but because it isn't located underneath a residential building, the operators don't anticipate complaints from neighbors, she noted.

Combining all the exercise styles — CrossFit, boot camps and rowing — in one place will lead to a variety of people using the gyms and hopefully some crossovers, Frohlich said. 

"People call CrossFit very intimidating," she said. "Row House is really less intimidating. Come have fun."