August 31, 2009 —
“We basically built a playground for ourselves,” said Ben Weaver, technical director and climbing manager at Brooklyn Boulders. “And there’s a real need in New York City for a dedicated climbing gym on the subway line in Brooklyn.” Located in Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn Boulders facility was the first of it’s kind in the tri-state area and started by a small group of climbing-obsessed college buddies determined to offer a different experience.
Founders Stephen Spaeth, Jeremy Balboni, and Lance Pinn contributed their ideas and tapped into their imaginations to help create a climbing facility—complete with a mountable Brooklyn Bridge-like tower—that is truly eye-catching. The 18,000-square-foot venue boast 30-foot ceilings and a custom flooring system that is firm to walk across but soft to fall on. Much of the gym was constructed from recycled materials, and energy-efficient equipment, and the interior is decked out with graffiti-style artwork.
Despite the intensity of Boulders’ experienced rock climbing community—many are part of an intense second generation of Gunks climbers—amateurs are very welcome, and even catered to.
“We’re set up to be a comfortable home base for the climbers of New York—like a clubhouse for climbers—and we really want to make beginners and kids alike feel like a part of that club,” Weaver explained. “There’s really nothing like climbing. The rush and the focus of it are really unique.”
The Brooklyn gym is open to climbers daily from 7AM to 12AM. Climbing classes, which focus on basic techniques and include rental gear, run at 6PM and 8PM on weekdays and at 11AM and 1PM on weekends. A separate class called “Learn the Ropes” includes a day pass, equipment rental and a one-month membership for $78. Boulders also offers day passes for $32, as well as 10-packs, month-to-month memberships, and three and six-month memberships.
How to get there: Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, N, Q, R, B, or D to Atlantic-Pacific, transfer to the R for one stop to Union St. (Brooklyn Boulders, 575 Degraw St., Brooklyn, 347.834.9066, brooklynboulders.com)
Photo: Courtesy of shootingbrooklyn