Asphalt Green opens Saturday

Photo courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority Asphalt Green’s movable floor pool, above, which opens June 15 along with the rest of the center, is designed for wheelchair users and crawling babies. Below, the gym, and at bottom, the center’s flooded area last year, three days after Superstorm Sandy hit.

Photo courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority
Asphalt Green’s movable floor pool, above, which opens June 15 along with the rest of the center, is designed for wheelchair users and crawling babies. Below, the gym, and at bottom, the center’s flooded area last year, three days after Superstorm Sandy hit.

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | The wait was long and fraught with delays caused by contractual and construction difficulties, and by Superstorm Sandy, but when Asphalt Green Battery Park City opens on June 15, it will be the palace that the Battery Park City Authority promised.

The 52,000-square-foot community center at 212 North End Ave. houses two swimming pools, a regulation-size basketball court, an exercise room furnished with top-of-the-line Precor equipment, a 156-seat theater, a culinary arts center, three classrooms, and two studios for yoga, Pilates, tap dancing and spinning.

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The theater will be suitable for performance classes, movies and community meetings.

The entrance lobby, open to anyone with or without a membership, will have a juice and snack bar run by Elixir and seating overlooking the dazzling six-lane swimming pool where Asphalt Green will offer learn-to-swim and competitive swimming classes.

A smaller pool heated to 90 degrees with a movable floor will offer exercise opportunities for the mobility-impaired. Babies as young as four months can be introduced to the water in that pool and “get comfortable with it,” said Bryan Beary, the director of Asphalt Green Battery Park City, who was formerly aquatics director at Asphalt Green’s Uptown campus on East 90th St.

The community center was originally budgeted at $55 million and was supposed to open in November 2011. At first, the delays were attributed to construction issues. Then it became apparent that the Battery Park City Authority, which was paying for the facility, wanted to modify the contract with Asphalt Green that had been written under the administration of B.P.C.A. Chairperson James Gill and President Jim Cavanaugh. Eventually, the contractual difficulties were resolved.

The center was close to opening when Superstorm Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012, causing millions of dollars in damage. The floors buckled and had to be replaced along with more than $900,000 worth of exercise equipment and the elevator. The facility had to be repainted.

When the community center opens, it will offer all of its sports programs plus a summer camp. However, the cultural programs will not be available until the fall. These will be run in partnership with the Church Street School for Music and Art, and Great Performances, a catering company that will teach 15 cooking classes a week.

Other partners include InShape Circus that offers aerial and ground classes for kids and adults, and Baby Fingers, which teaches babies to communicate with their caregivers using sign language.

Most of these special classes will entail a fee over and above the basic membership fee. Membership in the community center will not be required to take most of these classes, but members will get a discount.

Beary said that the community center now has around 2,000 adult members plus their children, and could accommodate around 3,300 people. He said there are 100 people on staff, many of whom are coming to the Battery Park City center from Asphalt Green’s Uptown campus.

During the community center opening on Saturday, June 15, free demo classes will be offered in swimming, circus arts, basketball, soccer, an obstacle course and volleyball. Registration will be required for the swimming classes, which are for ages 5 to 14.

Some of these free demo classes will also be available from June 16 to June 27 with registration required for some such as the Pilates Reformer. This class utilizes special equipment to improve posture and build core stability.

Registration will also be required for Training C.A.M.P., a high-intensity cardiovascular and strength training class. The demo class will be offered for adults 18 and older on June 22 at 10 a.m.

To enroll in a free demo swimming class, email swimschoolagbpc@asphaltgreen.org. To enroll in a Pilates Reformer class, available on a limited, first come, first served basis, email sreiner@asphaltgreen.org.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Through June 14, Battery Park City residents can enroll as Asphalt Green members for a discounted fee of $105 a month for a single enrollment to $195 a month for families. On June 15 and thereafter, the fee ranges from $116 a month to $215 a month for Battery Park City residents as compared with a fee of $129 a month to $239 a month for non-residents.

The membership desk is open from noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Call 212-298-2980 for more information.

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