Parents that work out at Crunch Fitness on the Upper West Side are angry.
On Oct. 29, the gym, located at 162 West 83rd St., announced it is eliminating its babysitting program. According to Jessica Pollack, a spokesman for the gym, it will end as the facility makes room for more workout space.
“Over the past few years we have seen a decline in the usage of the babysitting at this location,” Pollack said. “Meanwhile, we have seen an uptick in memberships, and in an effort to enhance the experience for our entire member base we are utilizing that area to make more room for our members to workout. We value all of our members and their families who have used this service over the years, but due to the space not being utilized to its full potential, we have made the decision to use the space for additional workouts.”
A group of moms protested the closure of the program on the day of the announcement. Amanda Petersen was one of them. She said that while there only a handful of people at the demonstration due to the rainy weather, it was worth it.
“It felt good to do all we could think of to show our support for the childcare workers and express our frustration and our desire for Crunch to keep childcare open,” she said in an interview.
A Loss for Kids and Adults
Petersen had used the babysitting service for two years. She has three children, and her youngest, Harvey, 2-years-old, was at Crunch with her five days a week during summer break and the older two joined on school holidays and during the summer. She was particularly upset about the impact of the decision on the woman who ran the program. "Angie is like family to us," she said. "We’re heartbroken to lose seeing her so often.
While some people have criticized the Crunch parents as being entitled, Petersen said the babysitting program has been crucial for the kids. “I would just argue that this service was a selling feature in joining Crunch, and after years of visiting, my kids love Angie and childcare. It’s a huge loss in so many ways – not just a mom complaining about not getting a gym perk.”
Another mom took to Facebook to express her displeasure with the decision to eliminate the program. “It is the end of an era. So much of my NYC mommy life is linked with Crunch Fitness,” she wrote. “Crunch Kids closes today for the last time and with it goes a part of my heart. I have so many happy memories from the last five years. I’ve made so many friends in that sweet little room.”