The writing was on the proverbial wall in November when Equinox bought the Printing House Squash and Fitness Club in lower Manhattan. Home to about 300 avid squash players and five international courts that were converted in the last 10 years. Sadly, Equinox is not into squash, but rather is into its upscale clubs that thrives on maximizing revenue and floor space. In other words, the square footage of squash courts lends itself to Equinox’s desire to provide spinning and yoga in a big way.
Despite early indications that Equinox would consider keeping the courts, a December 15 date came along with an open letter to the Printing House members. In part, that letter read:
“It is with great pleasure we announce that as of December 15th, Printing House will begin its transition to Equinox. As a loyal Printing House member, we are excited to introduce you to the Equinox experience. Our dedication to your health and wellness begins today. There will be a multi-phased effort to transition the existing space into a 38,000 square foot state-of-the-art Equinox club. As part of the first phase to be completed by April 2011, we will be converting the ground floor into the premier fitness floor in Manhattan, including Group Fitness and Cycling Studios, strength and cardio areas, The Shop and a Juice bar. During this time, the first floor will be limited to the front desk and the main Group Fitness studio. Although we will be eliminating the squash courts, we will immediately offer Group Fitness, Yoga and Cycling schedules featuring our signature programming, which will continue to be enhanced throughout the transition. In addition, we will be bringing in new cycling bikes and cardio equipment.”
A Facebook page was created shortly after the announcement of the acquisition (“Equinox, Keep My Squash”) that, despite quick support from lots of “likers,” was ineffective in swaying the Equinox brass.
So, the Printing House is now a thing of the past. For those looking for a place to play, Eastern Athletic Club in Brooklyn Heights has offered Printing House members free membership at EasternAC until Feb. 1, 2011.
When we contacted former US Squash stalwart, Ellie Pierce, about the demise of the Printing House, she was saddened and said, “That club’s success as a squash club was definitely one of my proudest accomplishments as a squash pro. I wasn’t the only pro to make the Printing House a squash club but I remember fighting hard in the early 90’s to convert racquetball players to squash so we could justify making ‘their’ courts into squash courts…That was my favorite job in my 20 year teaching pro career.”