New Kid on the Block: Rumble Boxing

In three years, Rumble Boxing has gone from one studio in Chelsea (23rd Street) to 12 in the country – four that opened just this month – and with leases out in Chicago and San Francisco. And if you ask me, the secret is the smell. Stay with me.

Noah Nesman (that’s the Tribeca studio manager Anna Bernstein in the photo with him) was a Hofstra running back who graduated to become a bored accountant and, ADHD by his own admission, was looking for something to cure his restlessness. He was running in what sounds to me like some high-powered NYC social circles and connected with the three other founders over shared experiences and his obsession with boxing as a fitness regime.

The first studio for boxing classes opened in January 2017, and this one at 142 West Street (the commercial side of 100 Barclay) is the biggest yet at 6000 square feet on the ground floor and basement. But the layout is quite simple: there is really only one studio (“that’s where the magic happens,” said Nesman) that holds up to 60 people, plus locker rooms and a space for privates. They offer 10 classes a day; one class is $36 though there are deals for multiple classes.

But here’s where the smell comes in. The place is immaculate (yes, I know it’s new, but it just seems perfect) and there is not a single missed opportunity for branding, down to the logo-emblazoned gloves. The benches in the studio are custom designed, with “brass knuckle” weights built into the sides. The bags are reinvented – filled with water rather than sand for a more forgiving landing for the wrist. The lockers have branded custom wallpaper on the inside, reminiscent of high school. AND – here it comes – there’s a diffuser in every Rumble locker room in the country pushing out a custom scent. So from one Rumble to another, they will all smell the same.

So despite Nesman’s Pittsburgh roots, where he grew up working out at the Police Athletic League with Officer Gus, there’s none of that boxing gym grit. This is pure club, or as Nesman says, the kind of place where you can happily shower without your flip-flops.

Classes run “boxers” through the six punches – jabs, hooks, crosses, etc – all in a night-club-like setting. (We all agreed it looks like a fun house what with all the mirrors.) And Nesman insists it’s a workout for anyone and everyone – even beginners and certainly boxing neophytes, which is most of the world. “We’ve gotten a lot of people into boxing who would never have been into it,” he said. And nothing beats the buzz in the room when a class is in full swing, he said. “The culture is just really special, well, really maniacal, but really special.”

142 West Street at Barclay