Right off 14th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, CLAY offers more than just a gym. When my friend Lisa offered me pass for a free one-month membership, including personal training session, I gladly accepted.
CLAY has a full-service spa, member lounge with internet access, and an organic cafÃ©. After sweating it out, you can cool down with a Eucalyptus infused towel from one of the refrigerators on the gym floor, relax in your own personal sauna, or grab a snack and smoothie and have it delivered to your lounge chair on the rooftop deck! The locker rooms are equipped with lockless-code lockers, disposable flip-flops and showers with the worksâ€”I love the grapefruit shower gel!
With dÃ©cor similar to a spa in Miami or California, (definitely not a 2nd floor on 14th Street gym feel), CLAY has a calm setting with top-of-the-line machines, each with its own TV, bamboo stretching mats and machines that many gyms don't have. My two favorites include the sliding device, to be used only with space booties (where you slide back and forth to work out your booty and quads) and I also like the jungle gym-like stretching device. I will do my best to get a photo of this sucker. :)
In terms of group classes, there are the usual Pilates, yoga and conditioning, but there's a class called TRED, a treadmill interval training class with core and sculpting drills taught on the gym floor, which appears to be incredibly hard -- I get the impression it's something like a routine on the Biggest Loser. I am really excited to try TRED and the Kettlebell class!
The idea of joining an exclusive gym that has a cap on membership (1500) is pretty appealing, but at $180/month, plus $560 initiation fee, I plan to indulge while I can. My only complaint: low ceilings.