New Kid on the Block: ARC Athletics

A certified athletic trainer and strength coach, Gene Schafer founded ARC Athletics six years ago, after working at Columbia University’s sports programs. “We do sports rehabilitation and fitness, which is a little different than training or physical therapy,” he says. “And there was nothing like that in the neighborhood.”

ARC’s first home was 600 square feet; recently, due to construction and despite the company’s growth, it moved to temporary digs that are just 500 square feet. So when Schafer started looking to move ARC, he was thrilled to come across the back (and lower) parts of what used to be TAMA Gallery. The upstairs reception area—with a door on Staple Street—is maybe 400 square feet, but the downstairs is 1,000 square feet.

“The basement is ideal for fitness,” says Schafer. “You can run and jump and throw a medicine ball, and you won’t bother anyone. And we don’t need much stuff/equipment—we use bands, balls, body weight….” He had a rubber floor installed, but kept the exposed brick and beamed ceilings. The lighting is a mix of track lighting and light from glass cubes embedded in the sidewalk. There’s even room for a shower, and what will be a rehab/treatment room. “A lot of people are coming down to the new space,” says Schafer. “Nothing makes you feel better than people following you.” (He and his wife, a reporter for Bloomberg TV, are also planning on moving to the area.)

ARC’s rate is $85 for a 45-minute session; most clients go two or three times per week. The rate drops to $56 for semi-private sessions, either people who know each other or who Schafer partners up.

ARC Athletics is at 5 Harrison (enter on Staple St.), 212-281-6412;

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