I joined David Barton Gym on 23rd Street about a month after they opened in 2004. At the time I also got offered a cheaper-than-normal rate because they had not finished the space yet. It has been a love-hate relationship ever since. Yes, the price has risen dramatically, but they have added new floors, new machines, more classes, more dj's and fixed the steam room alarm (which used to ring incessantly). Unfortuantely, there are problems sometimes with water pressure & water temperature, but this rings true for DB's closest neighbor (NYSC @ 8th&23rd) as well. The locker room staff used to be very police-like in their attempts to curb men from being gay (they would give you the evil-eye for just talking to someone else in a towel), but that has stopped. They fired the bad ones. The guys working the locker room now are cool and are happy to say hi if you do them the same. I have recently complained to them about the ongoing problem with the horrible locks (and lack of locks) on the toilet stall doors. This is a problem for over a year. I was told that the locks keep being stolen by members. Who knows if that is true? But it is not the worst problem. The worst problem is the crowdedness every night from 6 - 8 pm. It is almost unbearable. Thankfully, much of the clientele is gorgeous and kinda makes up for the fact that there are people everywhere you turn. If you are someone who is uncomfortable with asking to work-in with a stranger on a machine then those are the wrong hours for you to work out there. If you aren't scared to talk then you have a great opportunity to meet a hottie. Other than that, the gym is extremely chic, the staff is nice if you approach them (which is how I like it), and it is much cheaper than Equinox and Chelsea Pier. The classes are fun and kick your butt. I just renewed my membership - and I don't even live in Chelsea anymore.
Pros: Ambience, Free classes, Clientele, Location, Machines, Cleanliness
Cons: Pricey, Facilities need repair, Crowded, Billed on the 9th of the month w/o option to change it