The Hidden Gem of the Upper West Side


The Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center is now offering $25 memberships for students. (JESSICA HANLEY/THE OSBERVER)


For those looking for a fitness center, The Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center is the hidden gem of Upper West Side. The rec center has all the amenities one could ask for in a fitness center. From its pool to its basketball court to its aerobics room, the center has almost everything for only $25 a year. In addition to the equipment and facilities it offers, the rec center also has many fitness programs, some of which are free to the public. As Center Manager Tuwanda Harmon puts it, “It’s the best bang for your buck for students.”

For students looking to get in a good workout in between classes, the Gertrude Ederle Center is only a block away and has different classes available throughout the day. These classes include body conditioning, Hatha yoga and cross training. This means that no matter what each individual is interested in, the rec center has a class available. Furthermore, the center can tailor classes to the needs of students. As explained by Harmon, “we can find a time slot for a program if a group wants a specific class. Once we see a large group wanting a particular thing, we start developing programs for them.” Despite its small facility and tight schedule, Harmon assured that as long as enough students are interested in a certain line of fitness, the center will accommodate that group’s needs. For those students still unsure about which gym to join, the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center offers some classes free once a week. These classes range from yoga to Zumba to cardio training.

In addition to the classes, the center also offers time for students to play basketball in an open gym or swim laps in the pool. Another one of the programs that the rec center is developing and will begin to offer soon is “Learn to Kayak.” As Harmon described, “we’re working on a program to teach members how to kayak in our indoor pool.” This program will teach people of all ages how to operate and navigate a kayak and is similar to the program coordinated on the Hudson River each spring and fall.

The only drawback to the fitness center is the lack of free weights. In the past, this has been the concern of many Fordham students regarding the fitness center within the residence hall. However, the university decided to address this issue and added dumbbells this past spring. In comparison, the rec center has a plethora of machines for both cardio and muscle building. The center also has a room dedicated to cross training which encourages patrons to use alternate forms of exercise to burn fat or build muscle. Though these are suitable options, the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center has no barbells and only dumbbells up to 10 pounds.

One of the biggest complaints from students is not the lack of options, but the lack of operating equipment provided by Fordham. However, this isn’t a problem at the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center. Because the center just opened in 2013, all of the equipment is new and in working condition, unlike the McMahon Hall Fitness Center. Furthermore, the membership allows students to go to any of the New York City recreation centers, so commuters can find a spot to work out anywhere across New York.

If a student is looking to get a diverse workout, they should definitely check out the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center. If someone is on the fence about the decision, they can try one of the free classes offered at the 60th street location. For $25, a membership to the rec center is definitely worth it, if only for the access to the pool, basketball court and various classes.