I have belonged to five different gyms in Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens, including the higher-end Health and Racquet Club, and also NYSC, and I think Evolution is the best of all of them.
The atmosphere is great. It is diverse, men and women, old and young. It is not meat-markety or a pick-up scene. As a woman I am totally comfortable working out there. There are also some senior citizen members there, and I like that they are comfortable at Evolution, too.
Everyone who works there is really nice and helpful. Once they learn your name, they'll remember it and use it, which is a nice personal touch. I feel like I'm at home when I'm there. Totally happy and comfortable and no drama.
Also, I have worked out early mornings and after work, and I've never had a problem with overcrowding. Occasionally, all the ellipticals will be taken, but that is rare. It's not dog-eat-dog to get the machines.
As other reviewers have mentioned, it is also spotless. The staff is cleaning all the time... cleaning the classroom, the locker room, wiping down the machines, vacuuming, it's great.
The classes are also really awesome. Some of the instructors have cultish followings, and with good reason!
I have been a member of Evolution since July 2007, just after they opened, and dread the day when I leave Astoria and will have to go to some other inferior gym!
Pros: great instructors, great hours, spotless, diverse members,