Current, rowing’s homage to SoulCycle, invited us to hop on a “boat” and make waves! This rowing studio concept draws heavily from the spin Goliath (who doesn’t, these days?) with its “row to the beat concept”, candle-lined stage, and addition of “choreo” to a typically stationary machine activity. At this studio, there’s no tracking of meters or split speeds. It’s just you vs. the damper setting with the sounds of trap music to cheer you on.
Current is certainly not the biggest or hottest rowing studio in Gotham. Plus, their lack of stats tracking is a bit off-putting to the more hardcore rower. BUT, this little engine that could has a strong following among its veterans and its sense of community runs deep – a fact that was made very obvious as 90% of the class greeted and chatted with each other before heading in. Newbies are welcome, but you’ll need to earn your stripes. It def makes rowing more approachable and maybe a little less scary to the general #fitcommunity. Yet, we can tell you right now, purist rowers this place is not for you.
Take what you know about rowing and pretty much completely toss it out the window. This is a “row to the beat” workout and there are no monitors where you can see your split speed, meters rowed or stroke rate. Okay, so it’s not the craziest thing ever, because you’re swapping out a number for “feeling the resistance”. We could get on board with that. But then we strapped into our “boat” (still makes us giggle) and noticed that our feet moved, not our butts … Ugh, what? Yes fam, they have Concept2 rowers, but the seat is stationary. Never rowed before? Maybe you won’t know the difference. But for the rest of us, this definitely took some getting used to. Now in case we weren’t thrown off balance enough, Current tosses a nice dash of mostly side to side choreo at ya while you row. You’ll hear call outs like “make waves”, “sprint”, and “around the world”, where you hit all 4 corners during a stroke.
Did you catch all that? Once you’re strapped into your “boat”, the instructor shows you where the resistance needle and weights are (both are down and under your seat and are terribly hard to find in the dark). The lights go down, the candles go up, and somehow you find your way. Much like a spin class, there are slow and fast songs, each with different paces and the resistance builds as you move from warm up into full speed. At Current, we did sweat a little, but we’re pretty sure it was due to the temperature of the room and us flailing around trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing.
We’re still torn about an instructor who has someone else row on the podium for them during class. There are some off the charts motivators or entertainers who do it and can get away with it., mostly because they either move around the room or practically inject your soul with their boundless energy. But for the most part, we like to feel as though our instructor is in it with us. Ally’s attitude and motivational style were decent, but the fact that she didn’t row with us left us frustrated as newcomers. We struggled to follow along and were encouraged to watch the class “veterans” if we got lost or couldn’t hear all of the commands. We’d really prefer to get what we paid for and have the experts show us how it’s done.
When we think of Current, we think boutique fitness studio lite. There are no fancy murals or cushy locker rooms, but there certainly is the aesthetic and culture of one once you get past the gritty entrance and stairs on Church Street. Yes, the address says Canal, but this is New York and that would be too easy if something was actually where it said it was. Once you make it up the stairs, you’ll be greeted by a hidden gem. Painted all white with a simple blue “Current” sign, they take the space from walk up to scaled back chic. The lobby isn’t huge but never feels overly crowded since the studio only holds 18 “boats”. We would NOT suggest doing a pre-work or pre-happy hour workout here. The changing rooms have a bit of a Forever 21 vibe and there are no showers.
In design, they do certainly make strides to make you feel cozy and welcome. Their décor consists of a few festive inflatables and a polaroid wall. Nothing fancy, but still says to us, “Come work out here. It’s going to be fun!” Other nice touches include towels pre-laid out on your erg before you walk in and self-locking lockers, which is more than we can say for some more established studios. Plus, the studio room itself is MASSIVE, which is really where the majority of space should be allocated anyway. A la Soulcycle, the stage is slightly elevated and has a candle on each corner. But, it really isn’t elevated high enough to compensate for the layout of the boats. There are so many spots with limited visibility of the instructor. And you don’t have any say over where you sit … They pick for you based on attendance. Hate being trapped against the wall? Don’t like sitting in the front row? Too bad.
342 Canal St, New York, NY 10013 Tribeca Rowing $$$$
Tribeca Rowing, $$$$
342 Canal St, New York, NY 10013
Get the latest reviews, hot classes, go-to instructors, must have gear and pumping beats delivered straight to your inbox every week.