BOXING MEETS BOUTIQUE AESTHETICS IN A DUMBO GYM DEVOTED TO THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST SPORT
BY MATT SCANLON
Different sports require varying degrees of strength, endurance, power, speed, agility, and other capabilities, and a recent study conducted and published by ESPN attempted to find a comprehensive answer to the vexing question of, “What sport requires the most overall athleticism?” Panelists included scientists from the United States Olympic Committee, academicians, professional athletes, and sports journalists, and the answer was… “The Sweet Science,” aka boxing.
With an aim to “bridge the gap between boxing and overall fitness in order to unlock the strongest body and mind,” Shadowbox, with locations in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, Dumbo, and Chicago, has tried to make this ancient form of combat as interesting to those accustomed to a glossy boutique fitness aesthetic as it is to pugilists used to darker, smellier environs.
The Dumbo location, in fact, looks far more suited to having clothing racks around its perimeter with shimmery sales attendants filling them. It’s bright and airy, dominated spatially by a remarkably scrubbed up ring, and populated by mostly young instructors ready for “finest human form” competition. The bag room, meanwhile, is equipped with a rather lovely sounding audio system, though comes equipped with traditional 150 pound heavy bags. There are also full bathroom amenities, including showers and locker rooms.
Classes are essentially divided into two intensity categories, run from 30 to 60 minutes, and are often named for when they might into a busy city person’s schedule (“After Dark,” “First Light,” etc.). The “Standard” a “meditative, sweat dripping” mix of paradigms, is a medium time commitment of 45 minutes and is accessible for all ability levels. It combines instruction on technique, seven guided rounds on the heavy bag, and a head to toe conditioning session. The 60 minute “TKO,” meanwhile, is longer and more technically and physically demanding.
Photograph by Ari Weiss, Instagram @Ari.Weiss
One of nine New York instructors, Kat, seen above, hails from Philadelphia, and describes her affinity for boxing in terms of it’s “feeling of rhythm, timing, and vision, all working in harmony; the dance of it.” Her sixth amateur flight, at Madison Square Garden, also earned her a flyweight spot on the New York Metropolitan team for the 2018 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.
There’s no membership fee at Shadowbox. Classes can be bought on-line individually ($36, though at press time there was a “NY Express” 30 minute class available for $25) or in packages ranging from four to 30 classes, the last topping out at $840.
55 Prospect Street / 718.305.6488