Prospect Park is probably one of the smallest YMCAs in NYC, but for me, it's still one of the best. Granted, it doesn't have as many machines as the other YMCAs, yet it's the one I keep returning to. (I have a CityWide membership, so I can go to any YMCA in the city if I choose.) \r
The facility just got renovated. The upstairs cardio room has been expanded to add more machines, plus the walls are now painted in neon green and the purple horizontal ceiling lights are arranged in slants. The cozy stretch room was moved during the renovation but is now back in service. The two dance studios are still there; the spinning and yoga classes are extremely popular. There are also new CYBEX machines in the good ol' weight training room. \r
My only complaints are: 1) the place is packed right after work and you may have to wait a while before getting onto your machine; and 2) some of the new machines have TVs with terrible reception, so if you want to listen to something, either go on one of the other machines near the window (their TV connection is different) or bring your own iPod, as no radios are allowed. (Of course, bring your headphones.) I also wish the pool was larger. It's also old. Nevertheless, Prospect Park is planning to renovate the pool area. It's also nice and warm.\r
What I really like is the stuff you don't expect in a small gym that only charges $40/month for membership (or about $80/month for CityWide): a nice sauna, steam room, and lots of towels (OK, they've put in a two-towel limit). A Super C grocery store and a CVS pharmacy are also nearby. \r
Best of all are the people: the staff are very friendly and helpful, and there are lots of 20- to 30- somethings and young families. In fact, at a Manhattan charity, my friends (who live in different parts of the city) and myself recently discussed our gyms--and were surprised to learn that out of the 10 people working at my table, four of us are Prospect Park YMCA members. How cool is that?
Pros: Friendly staff, cool Cardio Room decor, great place to meet 20-40 year olds, great value for money; pool is nice and warm
Cons: One of the smallest NYC YMCAs; not enough machines after work, some with bad TV reception; pool is small