NYC gyms with child-care
If you break your New Year's resolution to stay in shape, don't go blaming the brood: These local fitness centers take care of your kids while you work out.
Thu Dec 16 2010
Eastern Athletic Club
The Brooklyn Heights and Prospect Heights locations offer drop-in babysitting ($8 per child for up to three hours), but also a 16-week Junior Academy program for kids ages three and up (prices vary depending on the class).
Worth it? The extensive menu of afternoon activities, from tumbling and swimming to competitive squash, means that parents of sibs with different interests can easily find ways to keep the kids entertained long enough to sneak in a session on the Stairmaster. Go to eafitness.com for locations.
With its focus on postpartum fitness, it makes sense that this studio keeps a network of babysitters on call. Babies and toddlers do free play and movement on a gizmo dubbed the Baby Bungee while you're within spitting distance doing crunches—the area is sectioned off by a set of curtains. For older children, the studio also offers classes in tumbling, skateboarding and capoeira, mainly on weekday afternoons.
Worth it? For those who can foot the bill (small-group training sessions are $30 and private training sessions start at $90; the upside: no membership fees), the $10-an-hour babysitting charge (for one child) feels like a mere drop in the bucket. The value here is the intimate feel—and easy access to your child, especially for breastfeeding moms. 136 Union St between Columbia and Hicks Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-852-6300, everydayathletestudio.com)
The upscale club has completely overhauled its children's program. Early childhood specialists trained by Soho's Citibabes now run mixed-age classes (from 3 months to 9 years) at the gym's Tribeca and Upper West Side centers; other Equinox branches plan to add the service soon. Sessions begin with circle time and include storytelling and free play.
Worth it? At $30 per class, child care here is no bargain. But think of it as a way for your kid to have a Citibabes experience without actually joining the pricey club. Go to equinox.com for locations.
New York Sports Clubs
Basic drop-in babysitting is available for tots ages three months to ten years at more than 20 of the chain's city locations, Once a month, the Upper East Side club (1637 Third Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts) offers a Friday evening Kids' Night Out. Parents bend and stretch at yoga class while kids play games, swim and participate in relay races ($17--$21).
Worth it? Yes, if you're running in for a quick ride on the bike. At just $2.50 per 30 minutes, it's much cheaper than hiring a teenage neighbor to watch your child. Go to mysportsclubs.com for locations.
Reebok Sports Club/NY and Sports Club/LA
Sign up tykes ages six months to twelve years for the gym's For Kids Only club. Early childhood educators teach youngsters ballet, soccer, music, foreign languages and more (from $595 per 17-week session for members). The clubs also offer limited drop-in babysitting for $10 an hour.
Worth it? It depends. Drop-in hours tend to be early in the day, so they're only helpful for parents who work out in the morning. The For Kids Only program is a good deal if you were planning on signing up your kid for an extracurricular anyway. *160 Columbus Ave between 67th and 68th Sts (212-362-6800, mpsportsclub.com). *330 E 61st St between First and Second Aves (212-355-5100, mpsportsclub.com)
The Y's Child Watch program provides members with up to two hours of babysitting a day for kids ages six months to seven years. Moms and dads can also time their elliptical workouts to coincide with junior's dance or art class—most Ys have an impressive selection of afterschool programs.
Worth it? Babysitting is included with membership, so the price is right. Plus, the rooms are stocked with plenty of toys and books. Spots fill up well in advance, so if you really want to make your favorite Pilates class, call early to reserve. Most clubs allow only ten kids, and two tots under 18-months-old, at a time. Go to ymcanyc.org for locations.