Can we let you in on a little secret? If we have the time, we’d rather travel further downtown to the W77th location or better yet to Bryant Park (one of the premiere locations, in our opinion) for a Soul class. We’re only hitting up W92nd out of convenience or in a pinch. For some reason we can’t help but feel that it is the skim milk of SoulCycle studios – sure it’s the same product but definitely watered down. In general, we drink the Soul-Kool-Aid willingly because the positive energy that these studios exude is crazy infectious. W92nd, did you just miss your shipment? The staff doesn’t have that same pep in their step and we just don’t walk out of the studio gliding on air like we normally do. That said, James J. is the saving grace for this studio – spots on his roster for evening classes are harder to get than a cronut on a Saturday morning, or really any morning now that we think of it (why is it still a thing??).
While James is not himself working up a sweat along with you, he certainly knows how to dole one out. But beware the fun and humor that he brings to class can easily turn evil on you if you are not giving every last ounce of energy. Looking for an coasting experience where you can just hide in the back – “then lady, you signed up for the wrong class.” He is a huge fan of sprints so be ready to fight your ass off to stay on the beat for more than a few songs. As well, choreo is a big feature with tons of crunches, push ups, tap backs, sexy corners, presses, and crunches. And for those of you who don’t speak “SoulCycle,” lets just say you are doing a sh#@t ton more than just pedaling. Soul classes usually have a good mix of warm up, double time, sprints, hills, and cool down. Jame’s classes tend toward more of an 80% double time & sprint model, 10% hill, and 10% cool down ratio.
Welcome to the James J. Show! Yes, that’s right bitches, it’s his world and we just spin in it. An entertainer first and foremost, James J. is unlike any other Soul instructor out there. Really unlike any other fitness instructor out there… maybe 305… hmmmmm (insert chin scratching emoji). He is who he is and you can love him for it or get the hell out of his studio. Seriously. That sentiment is exactly how he begins his classes. He’s the complete opposite of a shrinking violet and is very clear about his teaching style, which is equal parts edgy (wait did he really just say that??) and fierce. Oh and his anecdotal/story time intros are TO DIE for. One of our favorite examples? The time he described his ability to eavesdrop on multiple conversations around him at once and how he believe this skill makes him the true Gossip Girl – the queen of NYC superheroes.
Now considering the fact that he NEVER rides during class, that his humor is totally sarcastic sally status, and that he is not at all afraid to offend, you may be thinking … I can’t touch these classes with a 10-foot pole. Yet we’re here to say that he is hands down one of the best Soul instructors in the city. At the beginning of each of his classes, he owns it by saying that the majority of his role is to entertain and to inspire. Albeit he accomplishes this by calling you a bad b#$tch. “And if you have a problem with me calling you that, it’s 2017. B@#tch is no longer a bad word. Own it, ladies.” The result? Women (and men!) would gladly claw each other’s eyes or at the very least give up a coveted seat on the subway – hey, they are super rare! – to get a spot in his class.
Is it just us or have SoulCycles started to feel like Starbucks? At least in NYC, there is one on every corner. And while the UWS neighborhood is starved for more fitness studios, there just so happens to be two of them a mere 18 blocks from each other. But family, as we know, quantity does not always mean quality. We’re feeling like this location is a little “Soul-lite” in personality. Don’t get us wrong, the peppy effort is there, but between the lackluster roster and the missing “SoulCycle Kool Aid” we just don’t feel the same “SoulLove”.
The biggest pet peeve we have is that the studio room itself even feels crowded. We’ve had way too many painful arm banging encounters with neighboring riders when trying to do the push up section. We don’t need a ton of personal space but this is not the 6 train during rush hour – we need a little more space to get in the zone! That said, we do like the square locker area – does anyone else feel suffocated by the narrow hallways at some of the other studios? And the shower space is decent. It’s not as spacious as, say, Bryant Park, but it gets the job done.
2465 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 Upper West Side Spin $$$$
SoulCycle West 92nd Street
Upper West Side Spin, $$$$
2465 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
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