- Equinox Fitness has established itself as the go-to luxury fitness location in major US cities and around the world.
- There are 35Equinox locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and I worked out at all of them to see if their airtight brand identity lived up to its reputation.
- I found that most of the gyms, even at the base level, provide an elevated experience compared with other brands, but there were definitely some that are not worth the price alone.
- My favorite gyms were the Sports Club and Hudson Yards, which are part of Equinox’s middle-tier membership.
- Equinox’s top-tier locations provided a superb experience, but the $500 per month price tag with a $750 initiation fee doesn’t seem worth it unless you have excessive amounts of cash and can afford personal training every week of the year.
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In New York City, going toEquinox, a high-end gym chain, is an undeniable signal of status. They have expertly crafted a brand that truly evokesluxury,sex, and wellness even when brought up in casual conversation.
The gyms are notoriously expensive — Equinox’s top membership costs $500 per month with a $750 initiation fee — and it’s not uncommon to hear people quip that they can’t afford it.
For a long time, that reputation kept me away, but in February, with my local Williamsburg gym membership feeling a bit ragged, I decided to dip my toe into Equinox’s waters.
What I discovered was a vast network of gyms at various price points with different amenities, aesthetics, and services.
Read more: I immersed myself in Equinox’s world of eucalyptus towels and infrared saunas to discover why people drop thousands of dollars on a gym membership
Paying for a single gym can cost anywhere between $185 and $220 per month, typically with a $300 initiation fee, varying by gym and offers available. An “All Access” membership costs $260 per month plus a $500 initiation fee and gives you a membership at all 29 regular locations in New York City and clubs nationally, but doesn’t allow access to premium “E” clubs, Sports Clubs, or other special locations. A destination membership allows you access to all clubs except for E clubs and costs $300 per month on top of a $500 initiation fee. And an E membership gives you access to all clubs, costing $500 per month on top of a $750 initiation fee.
During the enrollment process, the scope of options left me a bit baffled — How was I supposed to choose to have access to a set of gyms that I’ve never been to?
So, I decided to embark on a nearly two-month journey exploring all of Equinox’s offerings in New York City. I worked out at all 35 Equinox locations in the city (not counting Long Island or Westchester).
Here’s an overall guide to Equinox memberships in New York, what every location is like, and my personal rating of every gym out of 10.
Equinox has 29 locations in Brooklyn and New York that are accessible with their $260 a month “all access” membership.
Compared with other popular gym chains in New York City, onlyNew York Sports Clubs has more total locations (49) in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. WhileCrunch andPlanet Fitness have an abundance of locations in Brooklyn and Queens, Equinox has focused on Manhattan locations.
Equinox’s core amenities include cardio equipment, strength equipment, Kiehl’s products in the locker rooms, a steam room, showers, a cycling studio, and a group fitness studio. Some base-level gyms have other features like boxing rooms, barre rooms, heated yoga rooms, and pools.
Downtown Manhattan has a lot of fancy new locations geared toward young wealth.
Nearly all of the Equinox locations in Downtown Manhattan had a unique feel, seemingly catering to the younger crowd that lives and works below 40th street.
Bond Street: A spacious playground for NoHo bros.
Built in the 2016 Equinox boom, the year the company built or acquired five different locations in New York City, the Bond Street location is large, spacious, has tons of natural light, and has a strong aesthetic centered around its red brick interior.
Its three functional fitness floors had ample room for stretching and all the necessary equipment without feeling cramped. Each time I visited, it didn’t feel crowded, but there was also a ton of space if needed — Yelp reviewers testify that the after-work rush can get crazy.
When I visited, the crowd tended to be a mix of fitness obsessives in the late 20s to early 30s, and fashionable women in their 40s and 50s.
In my heated yoga class, nearly everyone left all their clothes on — a far cry from other Bikram-style classes I’ve taken at studios where practitioners show up nearly naked. This probably had less to do with the location and more to do with the nature of Equinox classes, where everyone is a dabbler.
The locker rooms felt like huge dungeons in the basement — in a chic way — but the steam room was notably small, and the on/off button on the digital scale was physically punched out somehow.
“Queer Eye’s” Antoni Porowski, who is a sponsored brand ambassador, andAnderson Cooper have been photographed here multiple times.
Bond Street gets 7.5/10 for a spacious and open design and good light.
Brookfield Place: A nicer mall gym.
Equinox’s Brookfield Place location was appropriately part of the development of the luxury mall on the west side of the World Trade Center. You actually have to walk through the mall to enter the Equinox, but that can be a benefit because it connects directly to the subway.
The first floor of the space feels like a West Elm showroom with a Juice Press inside, and serves as a great place to relax or do some work, along with other similar spaces upstairs.
The gym itself is on the top floor, and has an interesting layout. After walking up a twisting staircase, the gym splays out through what is essentially a wide hallway. At the end of the cardio and stretching tunnel, from which a group fitness, yoga, and spin studio crop off of, is a more traditionally square free weight floor that overlooks the Hudson River and New Jersey.
The views are nice, but at peak times the floors becomes oppressively crowded.
Brookfield Place has a stray towel problem.
The locker rooms at Brookfield Place weren’t small, but there was a clutter issue. Each time I went, there were tons of towels on the ground. The gym had someone cleaning them up, but it seemed like they couldn’t keep up with the situation.
This almost seems like a local habit that has formed among members at this particular gym.
Brookfield Place gets a 4/10 for a cramped feeling and experience.
Flatiron: a lot of equipment, but kind of cramped.
Equinox Flatiron packs a lot into a small space and places a priority on creating room for classes and equipment. The result is minimal space to chill and a cramped locker room.
The front includes a full juice press with cafe seating, where anyone can come in and grab something to drink. This is similar to a lot of other Equinox locations, but in Flatiron, home to New York’s own brand of startup hustle and grind, it’s turned into a full-on workspace.
When I arrived, the cafe area was also playing host to around 10 high schoolers on their lunch break. I didn’t mind, but the openness might bother those who are looking for a more serene gym experience.
Likewise, the gym itself also appeared to be constantly well trafficked. I visited at multiple times of the day and it seemed like it was always bustling.
The gym didn’t feel overly cramped because of the space given to the equipment, but the locker rooms felt like they were overflowing, and when I left, there was a line nearly 12 people long waiting at the complimentary coat check.
Flatiron gets a 5/10 for a large gym floor but cramped locker room.
Gramercy: One of the nicest of Equinox’s corporate convenience locations.
As you begin to move above 14th Street towards Midtown, Equinox’s locations take on a decidedly more corporate, cookie-cutter feel, and the economy seems to shift from prioritizing luxury and character to convenience for the bankers and finance crowd that packs into the area every day.
The Gramercy location, on 24th Street and Park Avenue, is appropriately a middle ground between these two aesthetics.
The three functional floors don’t feel like anything special, but they maintained a crisp design and weren’t overly crowded. The locker rooms were surprisingly spacious and featured freestanding black marble sinks and mirrors. There were also multiple large spaces for hanging out or working.
The yoga room had a conspicuous lack of windows, which felt a bit claustrophobic and detracted from the vibe I prefer.
Compared to other locations catering to the Midtown crowd, though, the Gramercy location came off as pretty nice if you’re looking for a convenient, nice location.
Alone I wouldn’t say a membership to this gym would be worth nearly $200 per month, but taken together with other gyms, this location could be a good fit if you work in the area.
Gramercy gets a 5/10 for a fairly average experience that was on brand, but with minimal crowding.
Greenwich Ave.: Feels like an old YMCA, for better or for worse.
Equinox’s West Village location feels like a time machine to what the neighborhood might have felt like before it became a hub for the rich and famous.
Opening in 2001, the large complex includes ample natural light and a basement pool, but feels more like a community center than a pleasure palace.
Part of that is because of the decor, which clearly hasn’t been updated with the rest of the brand’s aesthetic. I didn’t mind simply for novelty’s sake, but that’s a matter of taste.
The locker rooms were moderately clean, with a few towels lying around, and slightly more water on the floors given the pool, but the state wasn’t egregious.
The other reason it could be compared to a community center is because more than almost any other Equinox location that I visited, there seemed to be a sense of community at this location. Each time I’ve visited, I’ve noticed friends greeting each other like old pals. There was even a gift exchange in the locker room the last time I visited.
The crowd ranged between college-aged students and older West Village holdout, among a thriving community of gay men who clearly hold court at the location.
The staff was friendly, but somewhat uninformed, not being able to tell me about the swim classes that were available in the pool. But one staff member gave me a free t-shirt when I forgot to bring a change of clothes during my pre-work workout. That’s good service!
Greenwich Ave. gets a 7/10 for a friendly vibe and pool, despite the slightly outdated facilities.
High Line: Beautiful with a weird layout
The entrance of Equinox Highline doesn’t feel glamorous, falling under the elevated park and looking onto 10th Avenue, but once inside, the location is striking.
Spacious with sharp lines, green space, wood, and concrete — Equinox Highline is on brand for the area and the company.
Early morning yoga overlooking the Highline is a super cool and unique experience. I’d imagine I wouldn’t feel the same once the attraction is flooded with tourists taking pictures of you in tree pose, but it’s still a fun novelty.
The class I took was full of chiseled Chelsea regulars who the yoga instructor knew by name. As they competed for the best handstand in the front, I stayed in child’s pose in the back.
The gyms weight floor is a bit less glamorous, put on the basement level and mostly lit with artificial light. One member griped about the fact that you actually need to walk across the weight floor to access the locker rooms, which is true, and potentially annoying if you’re just trying to make it to a yoga class.
The locker rooms themselves feel spacious, and the steam room is literally designed as a large glass cube with what’s basically a pedestal in the center. Notably, the lockers at this location didn’t have built-in locks, which was surprising considering how new it felt inside. It was actually built in 2007.
High Line gets a 7.5/10 for a beautiful and interesting space.
Orchard St.: A bespoke space that could use some tidying up.
The Orchard Street Equinox in the Lower East Side of Manhattan is a capstone in the rapid gentrification of what was once considered the center of New York City’s counter-culture.
The gym occupies the first few floors of the new luxury condo development 196 Orchard, where the average sale price has come to nearly $2.4 million per unit, according to StreetEasy. The association lends an air of luxury to the condos themselves and vice versa, and were surely key in the gym’s development.
The gym itself is big, beautiful, and clearly designed to provide a luxury gym experience, with plenty of floor room, high ceilings, and unique art in the lobby.
The crowd was generally young, with an interesting mix of bros who frequent the Lower East Side these days, and creatives who Equinox might try to attract with the location. I spotted two prominent digital journalists who were there on my first visit.
Surprisingly, Orchard Street’s locker rooms felt cramped and were kind of messy.
Equinox Orchard’s locker rooms did not live up to expectations set by the rest of the gym. The layout felt notably cramped, with huge benches creating gridlock near lockers, and towels were strewn about among what appeared to be dried, spilled coffee on the floor.
One thing I noticed at this Equinox location, among others, is that certain clientele felt entitled to leave a certain level of mess because of an expectation that it would be cleaned up and handled.
Orchard St. gets a 6.5/10 for a lot of space and a beautiful environment, mixed with an unusual level of untidiness and cramped locker rooms.
SoHo: as crowded as SoHo is generally, but still nice.
Equinox’s SoHo location is probably the best indication that the company is reaching its desired demographic.
The beautiful concrete, metal, and wood location is crammed with 20- and 30-something fashion and tech employees donning Yeezies and Balenciaga sweaters.
The spin instructor there posed and twirled to Florence and the Machine in front of a devoted audience of SoHo girls and guys.
The gym is huge, and feels more like how a spacious office in the neighborhood would feel, with concrete, wood, and metal making up the chic interior.
But much like Soho itself, Equinox Soho is overcrowded. When I visited on an average weekday morning there was a line of over 10 people waiting to take a shower.
On off-hours, though, the ample chill-out space, the large gym floor, and the yoga studio that looks out over the neighborhood make the gym generally pleasant.
SoHo gets a 6/10 for a generally pleasing aesthetic and open spaces.
Tribeca: Barebones but gets the job done in a pinch.
Equinox Tribeca doesn’t feel luxurious, but it’s not bottom-of-the-barrel, either. It’s functional.
Built in 2003, it feels like little but the recently replaced lockers have been updated.
Newer features that many gyms have, like the specially lit pedestal for spin classes, are nowhere to be found here. Instead, it’s one rectangular floor of free weights, machines, and cardio equipment that’s plainly laid out.
One of the pros of the location is that it doesn’t seem like too many people are ever there, but the single floor for all machines creates a cramped effect.
For not being very busy, the locker rooms are not the cleanest they could be, with towels and scraps frequently lying around. When visiting, I also happened to slip on a puddle in the locker room.
As one Yelp reviewer noted, the location feels more like a Blink than an Equinox, which could be a problem if this is the most convenient location for you.
In 2016, Equinox Tribeca’s landlord attempted to evict the gym, citing noise complaints. The gym filed suit attempting to block the eviction. Their attorney toldThe New York Post that only a handful of residents had complained about what he claimed was routine noise. The case was eventually dropped.
Tribeca gets 3/10 for an unbearable sense of averageness.
Wall Street: Unique architecture in a historic space.
Equinox bought the ground floor of 14 Wall Street in 2000, what was originally used as a bank in the early 1900s. The historic 1910 building has gold-leaf detailing on beautiful vaulted ceilings and features windows looking down onto Wall Street.
Now, a diverse set of Wall Street workers use the space to train in the early morning hours.
The space is huge and undeniably unique.
It includes a large functional training floor, multiple levels for machines and weight training, and all-glass studios. It doesn’t have a separate yoga studio, so yoga classes are held in the group fitness studio adjacent to the spin classes.
The locker rooms are large, but frequently packed with people and moderately messy. The last time I went there was a soggy lint swamp outside the showers.
Along with the steam room (large at this location) that can be found at every Equinox, the Wall Street location offers a single large jacuzzi and sauna that’s shared between the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
There are also multiple infrared saunas available to use for an additional charge. The person working the sauna told me that it “blasts away our finance guys’ stress.”
Wall Street gets a 7/10 for its unique architecture, space, and amenities.
Midtown has a few gems scattered among crowded, corporate cookie-cutter gyms full of finance bros.
In the New York map of Equinox locations, Midtown isn’t short of outposts — Equinox isn’t blind to the opportune convenience they can provide to the throngs of midtown white-collar workers. But it’s clear that most locations are meant to provide an easy place to work out near work and not much more. Only a few are notable for the experience they provide.
Bryant Park: the Apple store of Equinoxes
It’s hard not to compare Equinox Bryant Park to an Apple store, with its cubic glass facade jutting out of the ground in Midtown.
Unlike some of its nearby Equinox neighbors, the Bryant Park location feels spacious and warm, with a concrete and wood interior that is almost entirely subterranean.
A notably high number of staff members kept this location very clean — even the steam room, which wasn’t the case for most locations.
The after-work crowd was typical midtown fare, and I overheard some people talking about how they planned to return to work after the gym.
If that were me I would be happy to have this location to break up my night.
This location doesn’t have any frills like a sauna, pool, or hot tub, but still felt very nice.
Bryant Park gets an 8/10 for spaciousness, cleanliness, and aesthetic qualities.
East 43rd: Equinox’s testing ground for CrossFit-style training is proof-of-concept.
Equinox East 43rd would come off as another normal midtown Equinox, except for the fact that it has “the playground.”
The playground is seemingly modeled off of a CrossFit-style gym, with all the equipment necessary for a circuit-style weight and cardio workout.
“The Playground Experience,” the class hosted there, was an impressive, lighter weight modification of a CrossFit class, which seemed to create a lot of excitement, and was a great workout.
People who were in attendance had clearly become regulars of the class, and the two trainers who coached knew nearly everyone who was there — rare for an Equinox class. This was one of the best classes I went to at Equinox.
The rest of the gym was underwhelming. The locker rooms were nice and spacious, but the steam room was super small. This was one of the few Equinox’s I’ve been to with no Juice Press, just vending machines.
East 43rd gets a 7/10 for the unique playground experience.
East 44th Street: The one with the cool light fixture.
Equinox East 44th Street is conveniently located right next to Grand Central station — a blessing for some, a reason to stay away for others.
The exterior matches its surrounding with a huge gilded Equinox sign that sticks out over the sidewalk.
Inside, the location felt large and had a lot of equipment. From what I could tell, it had a lot of cardio machines, some cable-assisted weight equipment, and fewer free weights.
The cable machine I used felt like it needed to be serviced, and created more resistance than felt natural.
The cycling studio had a weird vibe. The class I took was nearly empty, and the instructor asked everyone to move up to the front so we could “ride as a pack.” A few people refused. The studio itself felt cramped, and the lighting was such that it felt like you were riding almost completely in darkness. There was no lit pedestal like there is at many other Equinoxes, adding to the slight dingey feeling of the room.
The staff was super friendly, and went out of their way to try to find materials about the gym that I requested, and the Executive Locker Room (an extra you can pay for at select gyms) was the only one I had been in that felt worth the extra money. Unlike most Executive Locker Rooms, East 44th’s had its own steam room and showers, along with a nice looking lounge area. When I visited one person was inside, unlike the normal room, which was cramped.
East 44th Street gets a 4/10 for a less than ideal spin experience, and machines that need work.
East 54th Street: The worst Equinox in New York.
When Equinoxes are good, they feel like the best gyms in the world. When they’re bad, it’s confounding considering the prices people pay to be there.
The East 54th Street location was definitely in the latter category.
Each time I visited, over a month apart, large mobile HVAC machines were scattered everywhere in the gym: on the weight floor, in hallways, and in the locker rooms. It was really unclear why they were there, but everyone acted as if the sight of them was normal.
The floors and locker rooms themselves were also notably tiny, with a small amount of equipment and space on each floor.
The locker rooms were also dirty.
The locker rooms at the East 54th location were also dirty. Towels were thrown around everywhere and bits of lint and paper freely floated around on the floor.
The steam room was packed, and there was only standing room when I visited.
East 54th Street gets a 1/10 for setting the low bar.
East 53rd Street: A chicer version of East 54th street.
Equinox East 53rd Street feels like a chicer version of East 54th street — the worst Equinox in New York.
It has large floors, wider stairs and hallways, and a cohesive gold aesthetic that runs throughout.
The yoga class I took seemed much more crowded than what I saw at East 53rd, suggesting that maybe the Midtown crowd had caught on to which location may provide a better experience.
Compared to Equinox’s top offerings, 53rd doesn’t feel like anything special, but it seemingly provides the luxurious experience Equinox has promised to customers who won’t be able to find it at the location one block north.
East 53rd Street gets a 5/10 for getting the job done as promised.
Park Avenue: Always full.
The Park Avenue Equinox was the epitome of the problem I found at most Midtown locations — it was packed at all times.
Arriving after work, the lounge area was completely full and being used, the locker rooms were crawling with people, and the gym floor itself was overflowing.
People were arm-to-arm in the stretching area, and personal trainers resorted to having their clients do floor exercises on the tile floor that was supposed to serve as a walkway that ran along one side of the weight floor.
The locker rooms were untidy and outdated.
Making things worse, the locker rooms at Park Avenue were fairly untidy. There were towels everywhere and gum in the shower.
The steam room, which was huge and in the center of the locker room, contained masses of soggy newspaper and leftover towels, and the lockers were the old version where you needed your old personal lock.
If you ask, they let you borrow a lock at the front desk.
Park Avenue gets a 3/10 for having nice elements, but being overcrowded and dirty.
Rockefeller Center: Feels like the office of a white-shoe law firm, but is actually a gym.
Equinox’s Rockefeller Center location has the layout and feel of a corporate law firm, but the exercise equipment is a dead giveaway.
The location itself is difficult to locate because it blends in with the rest of the Rockefeller Center complex. Once inside, though, two elevators are below large letters that spell “Equinox,” and the instructions are obvious — take the elevators.
Once upstairs, you’re met with a large lobby with tons of furniture and space to relax. Past the lobby is a hair salon along with the store found in every Equinox where you can buy premium sportswear and Kiehl’s products.
The locker rooms, found on a lower level, felt like an MLB locker room for bankers. Wood-paneled lockers lined the room as the finance crowd either watched ESPN on the TVs or chatted about work. Two strangers next to me traded war tales: “I’m at Merrill,” one said, before the other chimed in, “It’s not called Merrill anymore.”
The locker room was cavernous, having at least 18 showers, a sauna, steam room, and lounge chairs.
The gym itself feels like the floor of an office, with great views to boot.
The gym floor feels like a large office space, with two sides of weights and cardio connected by a hallway in the middle, a frequent layout found in office buildings. The giant group fitness studio overlooks the famous Atlas statue, which is pretty cool when it comes to gym ambiance.
Rockefeller Center gets an 8.5/10 for size, amenities offered, cleanliness, and ambiance.
West 50th Street: small, but close to the M&M’s store.
Just north of the famed Times Square Olive Garden and the M&M’s store is Equinox’s West 50th location.
While the facade gives the impression that the Equinox occupies a vast vault under the Paramount Plaza, the gym is actually quite small.
Occupying two small floors, machines and free weights are crammed into what’s essentially a fancy hallway. The group fitness and cycling studio were also pint-sized, comparatively speaking.
For the small size of the gym itself, I was surprised that the locker rooms were as spacious as other locations.
The crowd appeared to be a young Hells Kitchen, Broadway crowd who were there for its convenient location. I could see myself stopping by for a quick workout if I worked or lived near there, but would never seek this gym out.
West 50th Street gets a 3/10 for cramped quarters.
Uptown has unique, spacious locations targeting moms and older customers.
Equinox’s uptown locations are markedly more spacious and unique.
Columbus Circle: If Spy Kids had a gym.
Equinox does a great job of making you feel like you’re entering clandestine spaces.
At their Columbus Circle location, you sneak past the juice press to an elevator that takes you underground to its eye-shaped facility, which includes a pool, a sauna and steam room, and a private training space that requires an iris scan for those who pay for Tier X training.
The locker rooms were moderately clean, but there was a puddle problem outside the steam room both times I visited, where I almost slipped.
Like many Manhattan locations, there was somewhat of a crowding issue, particularly in the pool. When I swam, there was a verbal dispute about lane preference, which isn’t necessarily uncommon at shared pools, but still detracted from the ambiance. Still, it can be hard to come by a pool in Manhattan, so I wasn’t complaining.
Anderson Cooperreportedly frequents this location, as it shares a building with the CNN studios. He toldThe Hollywood Reporter that he frequently needs to tell other customers to stop taking pictures of him doing pilates.
In November, Mark Wahlberg posted a video of himself working out there.
Columbus Circle gets a 7/10 for ritzy amenities and a fun vibe.
East 61st Street: A hidden Equinox gem available for the price of the lowest tier.
Equinox East 61st has all the amenities of a sports club but is available for All Access members.
It may be because of the location, which was acquired from Sports Club/LA in 2014 and first branded by Equinox as “Sports Club Upper East Side,” but this one lacks the aesthetic polish of most other Equinox locations in the city.
Despite looking like a community center from the ’80s, including carpet covered seating pyramids, the location is giant, clean, and full of almost everything Equinox has to offer — including a pool, sauna, steam room, a rock climbing wall, basketball courts, boxing studio, pilates studio, yoga studio, squash courts, and more. There’s even a hair salon on the first floor.
The locker rooms have an old-school feel and include an attendant who assigns you a locker and hands you a key. The showers have slightly older fixtures and features and seemed to have modulation pressure issues, but all in all the expansiveness and cleanliness was impressive.
The group class I took there (in the middle of the day on a weekday) felt like a fitness class out of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, full of Upper East Side housewives and grandmas. It probably had something to do with the time of day I went, but it added to the charming vibe.
East 61st Street gets an 8.5/10 for cleanliness, amenities, and price.
East 63rd Street: Upper east side charm without the pretension.
The East 63rd Street location was under construction when I visited, so its basement pool was completely dug up and just a concrete hole, but despite that, the rest of the gym felt spacious and clean. The top floor was where most of the equipment was, and large windows let a lot of light in.
The architecture, along with the recently updated locker rooms, created a luxurious feeling, but the clientele, a mix of young and old, didn’t come off as pretentious.
Appropriately, the store at this location was the biggest I had ever seen, and the cheapest pair of shorts was around $88.
In 2017, tenants of the building who live above the gym sued Equinox, according toThe New York Post, claiming that the noise from weights dropping and group fitness classes has impacted their daily lives and broke New York City’s noise code. The issue was eventually resolved outside of court.
East 63rd Street gets a 7/10 for cleanliness, a nice crowd, and pending amenities.
East 74th Street: Made and designed for yoga moms.
Equinox East 74th has five floors, three of which are underground. The levels fit a smart design that segments different classes on different floors, which is great for parents who want to leave their kids at daycare on one floor, and fit in a yoga class without being bothered by the group fitness class in the basement.
The design was striking considering other Equinox locations, some of which have heavy noise pollution that can do a lot to ruin a zen moment.
The locker rooms were truly unique to other Equinox locations, with a boxy, nearly all-glass steam room (which seemed pretty cool) but toilets and showers were housed in the same section, which created an obvious smell problem.
One long mirror created a sort of group vanity situation, which was a better option than most Equinox locker rooms that have a handful of vanity stations at the end of each row of locker room, which usually end up not being enough.
East 74th Street got a 7/10 for a unique and smart layout, for the most part.
East 85th Street: Old but good.
This was the third Equinox built in New York City, and according to customers, it’s starting to show its age.
Like some other Equinox locations, this East 85th Street still forces people to bring their own lock or borrow one at the front desk, which is a main complaint of the gym’s Yelp page. The locker rooms also featured older fixtures, which were clean and in working order, but the difference was still noticeable.
Besides the locks, the locker rooms were nice when I visited, and laid out for space — but each time I visited the gym was nearly empty anyways.
The equipment was in good condition and the staff was friendly. One floor trainer helped me move and rerack weights after my sets.
My only complaint besides the locks was that you have to walk up stairs to get to the actual gym.
East 85th Street gets a 7/10 for general cleanliness and functionality.
East 92nd Street: One of the nicest base-tier Equinoxes out there.
East 92nd Street was another hidden gem, far removed from most other Equinox locations.
Housed in a luxury tower built by its parent company, Related Companies, this Equinox spans multiple floors. In the basement level is one of two “playgrounds” for Equinox’s CrossFit-Style PGX classes.
On the ground level is the hotel-like lobby, which includes a lounge space and bar where you can charge your phone or laptop (like I did after hiking all over Manhattan). Up an elevator, are the gym, locker rooms, yoga studio, daycare center, and even more lounge space that truly does feel luxurious.
Everything felt brand new and was incredibly clean. It was mostly a ghost town.
The natural light, and new and clean interior was super impressive, and I was surprised that this gem was hidden away at the northern tip of Manhattan (I usually stick to downtown and Brooklyn).
The locker rooms were average size, but the steam room was notably large. There weren’t special or outrageous luxuries, but after I completely forgot which locker I had put my stuff in (I blame brain fog from visiting 15 Equinoxes that day), the attendant patiently unlocked literally every locker in the locker room for me until we found my stuff. Hard to beat great service like that.
East 92nd Street gets a 9/10 for luxury, space, design, and service.
West 76th Street: If an orchestra hall was a gym.
The interior of the West 76th Street Equinox looks like the inside of an orchestra hall when you walk in. Artfully shaped and warped wooden walls jut into a large lounge space, with a glass, cubic cycling studio overlooking it.
Go either way and you’ll run into the sunny weight floor, stretching area, and group fitness studio, or the locker rooms or yoga studio.
The locker rooms were huge and had their own lounge space inside. The floors were a bit wet, and only moderately clean. There appeared to be an accumulation of rusty water by the steam room.
Downstairs was a full and impressive spa, where they offered massages and highly technical facial treatments. This was probably one of the best spa locations Equinox had to offer.
West 76th Street gets a 7/10 for a nice, spacious design, and good facilities.
West 92nd Street: The company’s second location in the city feels one of a kind.
The West 92nd Street location was the second Equinox, built in 1995, following the Flatiron location.
The open streets of the Upper West Side give it a sunny vibe, and it’s non-Juice-Press juice bar makes it feel like one of a kind.
For a normal-tier Equinox the location was nice. Not many people were there and it had separate rooms for boxing, barre, pilates, yoga, and group fitness. Most locations I’ve seen at least combine their barre and group fitness rooms into one.
The upper floor had a lot of light, and the locker room came off as standard issue — except for the fact that it had old lockers that required a padlock and didn’t have a digital scale.
In November 2018,a gas line in the building exploded and blew out the front windows, but there were no reported injuries and everyone was evacuated. When I visited a few months later I saw no signs of the incident.
West 92nd Street gets a 6.5/10 for spaciousness and cleanliness.
Brooklyn has three locations — two are pretty nice and one feels like a motel gym.
Interestingly, there are no Equinox locations in Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island. But there are three in both Westchester and Long Island.
Brooklyn Heights: Similar to a slightly elevated hotel gym.
The first time I went to the Brooklyn Heights Equinox, I was underwhelmed.
The yellow walls, and unserviced cable machines, along with a much older and weirder clientele (who were few and far between), gave it the feeling of a hotel gym.
Making matters worse, despite my best efforts, the steam room didn’t appear to be working and smelled like a foot. When I asked the front desk person about it, he said you have to spray the thermostat.
The locker rooms were fine, but average aesthetically. You had to bring your own lock, but at least the front desk offered me one without me having to ask. My thoughts were, “I wouldn’t pay $190 to go to this gym alone.”
When I returned a month later, I realized the early morning light of 6 a.m. may have clouded my vision slightly, and that it wasn’t awful, it was just average.
The staff was friendly and roamed around handing out towels, there was a daycare, and the steam room worked, but felt weak, probably because it was too big and cavernous to feel the small amount of steam that was being emitted.
Brooklyn Heights gets a 2.5/10 for being outdated and dysfunctional.
Dumbo: An updated version of the Tribeca location.
Built in 2016 andreportedly frequented by superstar Shawn Mendes, Equinox Dumbo feels like an updated version of Equinox’s Tribeca location.
Like Tribeca, all of Dumbo’s equipment and facilities are laid out on a wide single floor, but unlike Tribeca, Dumbo features a fresh wood and metal interior design with huge, beautiful locker rooms.
On my first visit, the location was hard to fault — it was beautiful, sparkling clean, and basically empty.
My second time around was not so good. An overzealous toilet paper user had seemingly ripped off more than he could use, and there were scraps of toilet paper all over the bathroom floor.
Clearly, this problem was at least partly with the member, but it represents an issue that I encountered pretty frequently at Equinox: once a gym reaches a certain number of members, it’s hard to control for people who choose to make a mess. This seems to pose a particular issue for Equinox, which seems to attract a user base that feels entitled to leave messes for other people to clean up.
7/10 for a nice layout, locker rooms, and great aesthetic.
Williamsburg: Next to a Whole Foods and across from an Apple store, but very cramped.
Equinox has been slow to expand into Brooklyn, perhaps because its brand clashes with much of Brooklyn’s counter-cultural, or at least closer-to-working-class, sensibility. But as the borough rapidly gentrifies, the Companhia has invested in a few locations in the borough.
Perhaps most sensibly of these has been its Williamsburg location, targeting the young “creatives” who have elected to live in the neighborhood because of its hipster reputation and proximity to Manhattan.
Appropriately, its Equinox Williamsburg is right next to a Whole Foods and directly across from an Apple Store. Despite rumors I’ve heard, there isn’t a direct passageway between the two, according to employees.
The gym itself is squeezed into the recent development that houses it, and has the shape of a skinny sliver of cake.
Patrons are forced to check in on the ground floor, walk up to the second floor, and then walk across the entire gym, so they can go down another flight of stairs to the locker rooms. The layout isn’t ideal, but isn’t awfully burdensome because of the gym’s small size.
Where the size does become an issue, however, is crowding. During peak hours, the number of people crammed into the small space feels ridiculous.
The photo above shows a yoga class waiting to be let into the studio, but because of the gym’s small size, the crowd was forced to wait in the hallway leading to the locker rooms, making for an awkward walk for people who are just trying to put their gym clothes on.
It appears as if Equinox is at least aware of the problem, as I saw a salesperson divert a customer away from the hallway before the bottleneck cleared.
The spacious locker rooms are able to accommodate everyone, but the steam room is one of the smallest I’ve seen at any Equinox. I’ve seen people having to stand multiple times.
The yoga and group studios were spacious, but the yoga studio’s placement right outside the locker rooms and directly under the group fitness rooms makes for a somewhat distracting experience.
The real standout of the gym is its tiered spin studio, which makes for a cinematic cycling experience.
Williamsburg gets a 6/10 for the cool cycling studio, cleanliness, and new features.
Destination Membership: $300 per month gets you access to Equinox Sports Clubs and other special locations.
The Destination membership is a tier below E, but still gives you access to Equinoxes special locations and Sports Clubs, which have unique features and amenities.
In New York City, there are two locations that are bundled with the membership — Sports Club New York and Printing House.
Members end up paying around $40 more per month to run into fewer members, and gain access to a few more amenities.
Sports Club New York: The club that has it all.
Equinox’s Sports Club New York, found a few blocks from Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side, is one of Equinox’s most impressive locations, even though it falls a tier below the brand’s top offerings.
On their off-time, Equinox trainers and employees often go to the Sports Club for their workouts, along with ABC’s David Muir, who I personally spotted in the lobby, and CNN’s Chris Cuomo, according toPage Six.
The sheer size of the Sports Club, which used to be owned by Reebok before Equinox acquired it in 2014, is impressive. Its six floors house a 25-yard indoor pool, an entire level for saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzis, and showers (lockers are on another floor), a rock-climbing wall, basketball courts, a cafe, and outdoor running track, a functional fitness room, a boxing space, a cycling studio, yoga studio, a group fitness studio, and more.
In New York City, where space is the most valuable asset around, Sports Club New York feels like a goldmine. The effect is only amplified by the fact that fewer people (presumably) can afford the membership, which creates more space than the average Equinox gym.
If you have the money, the $40 extra you’ll pay per month seems fair for the upgrade you get at the Sports Club.
The cleanliness, space, and pure number of amenities at the Sports Club make you feel like you want to stay longer. This is seemingly the overarching idea of Equinox’s luxury brand, but the concept is actually realized at the Sports Club.
Each time I’ve been, I’ve found myself wandering around and enjoying the space. That’s a hard feat for a New York City gym.
If you have the money, the extra $40 dollars spent on a Destination Membership are definitely worth it for the Sports Club alone.
Equinox Sports Club gets a 10/10 for luxury and amenities.
Printing House: you’re basically paying for access to an outdoor pool and sundeck.
Equinox bought its Printing House location in 2010 and reportedly remodeled the one-time home to lower Manhattan’s squash scene into a gym-lounge space that includes a rooftop pool and a “zen suite.”
Like the Sports Club, access to Printing House comes through either a destination membership or a membership to the gym that’s $210, slightly higher than Equinox’s average gym.
Unlike the Sports Club, however, Printing House’s selling points rest squarely on two features — the outdoor pool and the views.
Most of Printing House is on the 9th and 10th floors. You need to take an unmarked elevator to get there.
Besides a functional fitness floor and the cycling studio, which are on the ground floor, most of Printing House’s amenities are on the 9th and 10th floors of the building. Only one elevator will get you there, and it can take awhile for it to come fetch you.
Once you get to the floors with the actual equipment, the selling point is clear. The views of the water and the city are great for a gym.
The equipment itself is pretty limited. There are tons of cardio machines, but only a medium-sized collection of cable-machines and free weights on the top floors.
The outdoor pool seems to be a main feature of Printing House, but due to weather, it’s only open 3 months out of the year.
The outdoor pool, which includes lounge and sun-bathing space, is probably the other main selling point in the summer, but it’s only open 3 months out of the year, and definitely isn’t big enough to swim laps in.
It’s hard to justify paying an inflated gym price for a feature you can only use one-fourth of the year.
Despite Printing House leaning into Equinox’s reputation of prioritizing luxury, the locker rooms (what’s typically Equinox’s focus when creating a luxurious experience), were surprisingly out of date.
While the locker room was nearly empty when I first visited (on a weekday morning in the winter), I was surprised that the lockers were the older version I’d seen in many other Equinox locations — requiring a combination lock instead of having built-in locks. The scale was also an old analog one rather than the fancy digital scales I saw at a majority of locations.
The locker room wasn’t incredibly dirty, but there were still scraps of paper and towels lying on the ground, which was surprising for a gym that charges a higher rate for admission than most.
As a standalone gym, Printing House doesn’t justify paying a higher price than any other Equinox. If you really want an outdoor pool to relax in, one membership adviser told me that it was common for members to upgrade their membership to include Printing House during the summer and then downgrade during the winter.
Printing House is reportedly no stranger to celebrity sightings, with Claire Danes and Will Arnett being spotted there. One Yelp reviewer wrote that they heard Lady Gaga could be found there from time to time.
Like a handful of other locations, Equinox Printing House has been sued by tenants of the building it occupies.The New York Post cites court papers referring to group fitness classes, “the particular song is easily identifiable, and I can even follow along with the lyrics.” Like similar cases, the issue was resolved out of court.
Printing House gets a 8/10 for nice views, the pool, and the sun deck.
Hudson Yards: Equinox’s best in its own space.
With the construction of Equinox’s new hotel in the Hudson Yards complex, the company also built a premium new gym in a bespoke space.
The development provided the company with the opportunity to build its best fitness experience, which it has perfected through the development of its previous 30+ spaces, in a space that is all its own.
Unlike the Sports Club and Printing House, which were developed as Equinox gyms in the wake of gyms that had previously occupied those spaces, Hudson Yards was designed and built as an Equinox from the ground up.
The results are an experience that is best represents and is truest to Equinox’s expanding brand.
The equipment and spaces are functional and beautiful.
Equinox Hudson Yards has incredible views of the Hudson River from nearly every space in the gym, and the spaces themselves are all beautifully designed and contemporary-feeling.
There is an indoor and outdoor pool, and the indoor pool has a reflective ceiling that allows swimmers to observe their stroke as they swim.
The gym also has specially designed Woodway treadmills that were specifically designed for the gym’s hit Precision Run treadmill classes, along with large open spaces for yoga, pilates, and other studio classes.
Equinox Hudson Yards expands Equinox into the lifestyle brand its been trying to break into.
Equinox Hudson Yards is the first Equinox location to serve alcohol. On the second floor of the gym, next to the outdoor pool, Equinox has opened a cafe that will serve you drinks and food poolside, or at a table.
The move represents a willingness to lean further into the company’s larger lifestyle brand, and further away from one of complete fitness. The food and drinks were good, albeit expensive, but healthy substitutions like brown for white rice weren’t available when I visited (according to the bartender that was in the works). Despite this, the added amenities made it feel like one could truly spend their entire day in Equinox.
On top of the spaces for fitness, relaxation, and dining, the gym also featured a large lobby, that seemed made for comfortable working.
10/10 for amenities, aesthetics, and functionality.
The most expensive membership is called “E by Equinox,” which gives you access to two exclusive New York gyms and every other Equinox in the world.
Equinox memberships are based on access to different levels of gyms. The most expensive membership is called “E by Equinox,” at $500 per month with a $750 initiation fee (it used to be $5,000 according to one gym manager).
With the membership, you have access to every Equinox gym around the world, including the E clubs and spaces.
The idea is that E members have access to Equinox’s highest level of luxury, along with their highest level of training — Tier X (which members have to pay extra for, of course), which the company claims is a comprehensive and unparalleled wellness and training program.
Tier X is the real selling point, but an E membership comes with a heightened level of luxury according to the company.
With twice-weekly training sessions that Equinox recommends, the membership costs $23,620 the year of enrollment — $20,000 more than Equinox’s standard membership.
E Madison: an oasis of luxury that will cost you.
E Madison, located near Central Park on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is essentially a concept location created to test the waters of whether or not the ultra-rich will pay for extreme luxury in a gym setting, along with fees for personal training.
Appropriately, the level of luxury at E Madison is pretty much unparalleled for New York consumer gyms.
Immediately when you walk in, staff greet you and offer coffee, fruit, or water.
There’s a large lounge with trendy furniture and art on the walls from Equinox’s rotating art collection.
Daily laundry service is included in the membership, meaning you can leave your dirty clothes there after a workout one day, and they will be clean and ready to use for your next workout when you arrive, handed to you by their on-staff coat checker.
Complimentary shoe shining and clothes steaming is also included if you leave your garments in special bureaus in the locker room.
The lockers themselves have jewelry drawers and USB plugs so you can charge your devices, along with a separate section for your shoes — all amenities that you won’t find in other Equinox locations.
Unlike other Equinox locations, E Madison has personal vanities in the locker room for primping.
E Madison’s products cost nearly double the products at their other locations.
Equinox has also set E Madison by partnering with a separate product line for its lotions and cleansers, going with the pricier Grown Alchemist rather than Kiehl’s, which Equinox provides for members at all of its traditional locations.
The bottle of body cleanser in each shower at E Madison retails for $44, while the cleanser bottle of the same size from Kiehl’s found at most Equinox locations retails for $25.
Also setting E Madison apart are the types of freebies given, such as toothpicks, toothbrushes, combs, sewing kits, and more. Some of these are found at specific Equinox locations, but E Madison has clearly integrated this into part of their brand.
Notably, the hair products were Equinox’s standard unlabeled hair spray and gel.
E Madison has one of the fanciest showers I’ve ever used.
E Madison has three shower heads per shower that you can control with a digital temperature module. This was definitely the fanciest shower I’ve ever used, but it still just felt like taking a shower. Despite the fancy control pad, you could still feel changes in pressure as you requested hotter water.
Notably, each shower has its own changing area unlike other Equinox locations, but the lighting is less than ideal.
Each time I visited, there were only between one or two other people in the locker room along with the permanent attendant who is there to assist with anything you might need.
E clubs are designed around Tier X training, and E Madison’s floor is sparse by design.
The gym itself at E seems surprisingly sparse, but that’s by design.
E as a concept is designed around Equinox’s top-tier of personal training called Tier X, which includes coaching on fitness, sleep, and nutrition, and can include consultation on physical therapy, medical needs, and probably anything else you can think of.
Members of E don’t necessarily need to join Tier X, but E’s Membership Director Zach Nelson tells me that the majority of members end up doing it at $170 per session. They encourage a yearly package that would allow for two sessions per week, at the price of $16,120.
For that reason, Nelson told me, there’s more open floor space, free weights, and treadmills, and fewer cable-assisted or guided machines. But the few machines they have are covered in custom luxury leather, according to Nelson.
Nelson also showed off the group studio, which has double-paned glass to prevent street noise and fully customizable mood lighting. He said most classes only have a handful of people in them because of the emphasis the gym places on personal training.
There are no frills like a pool or rock climbing wall — the E experience is about hands-on training.
When I visited, most members I saw seemed to be between 35 and 60, probably because of the high cost and location, but each time there were only three to five other people using the gym at the same time as me.
E Madison gets a 9/10 for an incredibly luxurious experience, with a limited number of fitness options.
E Columbus Circle: Spartan compared to E Madison.
E by Equinox members also get access to an exclusive training space that’s inside Equinox’s Columbus Circle location, accessible by retina scan secured door off the main lobby.
This was the original E, founded in 2004 when Tier X used to be called Tier 4, and when the club stood alone. Before E Madison, it found glowing praise among those covering luxury. GQfawned over it in 2016, noting the “endless river of refrigerated eucalyptus towels” and private “changing cabanas,” as they’re referred to by the club.
In the harsh reflection of the shiny new E Madison, though, the training space comes off as spartan.
It also seems to contradict what is now a core tenant of E’s brand — privacy. Throughout my experience, E was off limits in terms of photos because of privacy concerns for their members, according to the company. But the training space at Columbus Circle was wholly viewable from the pool open to all Equinox members.
The fitness area is simply a square floor with weights, resistance bands, some cardio equipment, and not much else. Where E Madison’s sparseness felt elevated, the Columbus Circle location simply felt empty.
Compared to E Madison’s luxurious locker room, the “changing cabanas” came off more as private bathrooms — only one showerhead included. The products found were Fresh brand when I visited, but the manager told me they would be changed to match the line in E Madison.
Despite a private bathroom for each visitor, having only one staff member meant that the cleanliness fell below E Madison’s standard. The one I was showed had hair in the sink, and some scraps of paper on the floor.
More glaring was the fact that there were no private saunas or steam rooms for E members. If an E enrollee wanted a steam, they’d have to walk a few yards to the plebian locker room open to all Equinox Columbus Circle members.
The manager who showed me the space wasn’t blind to the disparity between E Madison and Columbus Circle. He openly complained about how Equinox’s efforts to build out the E brand left his space in a rut. The training space is exclusively for training and is by appointment only. Now, he says, members who joined through E Madison are showing up expecting to be able to access the training space without an appointment. Since there are no locker rooms, only cabanas, this presents a logistical problem.
While I actually believe in the value of training provided for E members, the Columbus Circle training space has fallen behind in Equinox’s quest to set the E brand apart in privacy and luxury.
Equinox says the space is set for renovation in the next few months to be more in line with updated to the E brand.
E Columbus Circle gets a 5/10 for a slightly elevated experience at an unrealistic price.
The price of Equinox’s top membership seems like a steep climb for marginal differences in training quality and luxury and is probably only worth it for the uber-wealthy.
E by Equinox is certainly one of the highest levels of luxury and training available in the consumer gym market, but the leap to spending over $20,000 is a big one that’s essentially only available to the uber-wealthy.
For the average person, this expense wouldn’t be worth it for the marginal amount of luxury and training quality that you receive.
But for clients who have the ability to spend that much on their gym membership, it’s probably normal to fork over an abundance of cash for a product that’s just slightly better.
SEE ALSO:I immersed myself in Equinox's world of eucalyptus towels and infrared saunas to discover why people drop thousands of dollars on a gym membership
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