DUMBO — Gleason’s Gym — which has trained legendary boxers ranging from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson — opened in new digs Monday after more than three decades on Front Street.
The 12,500-square-foot gym at 130 Water St., located around the corner from its former home, features upgraded facilities and equipment, including five training rings and a 20-foot competition ring.
While the new space is smaller than the previous gym by 400 square feet, the outpost includes a larger workout space, new workout equipment, updated locker rooms and a store selling merchandise.
The gym announced it would be moving earlier this year after landlords David and Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management told Gleason's owner Bruce Silverglade that they wanted to convert the gym’s building at 77 Front St. into something else. As part of the deal, Two Trees paid for the renovation of the Water Street space.
Silverglade said the move has given him the opportunity to upgrade his gym, whose clientele has changed as the neighborhood has evolved. Once a manufacturing district full of warehouses and factories, DUMBO is now one of the city’s most expensive residential neighborhoods.
“I only had fighters back then,” Silverglade said Monday. “This move gives me the opportunity to spruce up and get me new showers and lockers and make it a little nicer for my clientele.”
Currently, 75 percent of Gleason’s Gym-goers are local residents, he noted.
Yet the gym, which Silverglade described as the oldest for boxing in the country, is still home to championship fighters.
Gleason's is currently training six world champions — all women — bringing the total of championship fighters to train there to 134 since it first opened in 1937, he explained. In addition to Ali and Tyson, the gym also trained Jake “The Bronx Bull” LaMotta.
“If you’re doing boxing, you need to be with the best,” said trainer and Olympian Dillon Carew, who started training at Gleason’s in 1995.
Carew commutes three hours a day each way from Hamden, Connecticut, to train at Gleason’s, adding he wouldn’t work anywhere else.
“This is the place to be,” he said.
The move marks Gleason’s fourth iteration since Bobby Gleason first opened it in The Bronx. It moved to 252 W. 30th St. in Manhattan in 1974, and then to 77 Front St. in DUMBO in 1984.
Aside from hosting world champs, Gleason’s has also seen several Hollywood actors box there throughout the years, including Wesley Snipes, who trained at the Front Street gym to prepare for his role in the 1987 film "Streets of Gold."
“I have very mixed emotions,” Silverglade said. “There’s a lot of nostalgia over there. But I’m really excited about the new location.”