2004_11_ask_kungfu.jpgI need some sort of physical activity, but I abhor gyms and their culture - so I have been thinking about doing Tai Chi or Kung Fu. I'm still up in the air about which one I want to do. I’m leaning towards Tai Chi, although Kung Fu seems to be more physical and has a wee bit of awesomeness that doesn't come with Tai Chi. My question is not really which one I should do, but rather where in the city can I do it for cheap. I'm looking for something that is weekly and I'll like to spend around the equivalent that I would for a gym membership for a year's worth of lessons.

We think the best bargains in the city for physical activities are to be found at the fitness centers run by the Parks Department. The Asser Levy Recreation Center, which is located at 23rd street and FDR Drive, has weekly classes in Karate, Tai Chi, and Tai Ji/Qi. For $75 per year -that’s the MONTHLY cost for some fancy gyms- you can join the center, which also happens to have an indoor pool and a fitness room.

We suppose technically one might consider it a gym - but when you say you abhor ‘gym culture’ we assume you’re thinking of a high-end fitness center where people dress up just to sweat it out. We’ve taken boxing and yoga classes in the past at Asser Levy and had nothing but pleasant experiences there. The facilities are fairly no-frills but certainly adequate, and you can’t beat the price. We found both the staff and the recreation center members to be friendly, so we think you’ll have no problem with getting fit on the cheap sans attitude there.