On Sept. 16, Bruce Silverglade had his tablet in hand, and he walked around Gleason's, the famed and fabled fighting emporium, and the persons inside knew not to bother him.
The gym helmsman was talking to, on the other end, an inspector, for New York City. The gym had re-opened for business on Sept. 2, conditionally, after being shuttered March 16, at Governor Cuomo‘s request. OK, demand.
The Governor enacted a heavy duty lockdown, to contain the spread of COVID, and so gyms, bars, concert halls, restaurants, every place where citizens massed in close proximity had to close up shop.
Silverglade at the time understood, it had become clear to most people in NY that the coronavirus wasn't simply a variation of a flu, that the virus sometimes wreaked vicious havoc on the insides of a target, and could bring someone to death's door really, really quick.
Better safer than sorrier, Silverglade comprehended. He fell in line.
But months passed. April, May, and no word, no guidance from politicians tasked with offering up the road maps to deal with the pandemic, from a public health and also an economic perspective, that started to provoke anxiety in Silverglade. No wonder, his revenue, the money coming in from people joining the gym, went from 60 to zero.
He made calls, he asked friends if they knew people, but no guidance was offered. It got his goat when the Governor in June said pro athletes, basketball players, baseball players, could convene and do workouts in NY. But pro boxers? Not included. (Click to read deeper on the issue, from story on RING Magazine website).
Silverglade has been around long enough to know, it isn't an undertaking beneficial to blood pressure to fight City Halls. So he made the calls, did what he could to try and spur law makers to act with proper urgency, because people like him were hemorrhaging money. Was it the lawsuits moving forward, on behalf of some irate gym owners, which pushed the Governor to announce that gyms could re-open, on a conditional basis? Ask Mr. Cuomo. But Silverglade put the stress and anxiety in his rear view when he went to Gleason's before the sun rose on Sept. 2, and readied for the return of patrons. The bossman checked in with NYFights, and gave us an update on how things have gone, since Sept. 2.
“We passed the inspection,” he said, clearly in a happy place. “I had to show them different things, I walked around, doing Facetime. It went about a half hour. I'm relieved.” And there may be an in-person follow up inspection, maybe not, he said. As you can imagine, Department of Health inspectors have lots of ground to cover, being that public schools started re-opening their doors Monday. “There's really been no direction,” he admitted. “But I have peace of mind, I have done everything asked of me, everything asked for in the protocols.
That included going above and beyond what was asked for, it sounds like. A private company, CPR Restoration & Cleaning Services LLC. came in and blasted every speck of bacteria in the joint. That act was sponsored by client DeCosta Headley, so you know, and indicates the level of loyalty and respect that Silverglade inspires.
So, maybe the best news is this–no one has gotten sick, the gym is COVID free. No one has grumbled that they must wear a mask while inside, no one has rebelled against having their temperature taken to gain entry.
Capacity is maxed out at 33% of what was allowed pre-COVID, for the record. And the NYC native told me the gym membership is almost back to 1/3 of what it was pre virus. “We are coming back, steadily, but slowly,” Silverglade said.
Still, however, the pros that call Gleason's home-base are at a disadvantage, compared to pugilists in other states, where leadership has fashioned lesser protocols for privately owned businesses. Everyone inside Gleason's must wear a mask, so that negates the possibility that people can spar each other. And no, it isn't optimal to try and get ready for a fight without doing practice fighting. Hitting bags and pads, that's fine, to a point. But NY boxers have to make other arrangements if they want to simulate fight night in the months and weeks prior to a bout. Silverglade is an amenable sort, but no, he won't stay silent on that issue. “I still feel boxers are discriminated against,” he told NY Fights. “A pro has to spar. And not being able to do so means you aren't able to prepare properly for a fight. That goes for if it's a professional, or an elite amateur, too.”
Note: Non pros are the bulk of the Gleason's membership. So, Bruce tells me, he is hammering this discrimination point based on principle, not because his bottom line depends on it. “The pro fighter is like any other pro athlete! These are people oftentimes from the projects, from rough situations, no father at home, a lot of them are minorities. And there are not a ton of economic opportunities for these people. They must show they care for them as human beings, too.”
So, it's clear, Bruce is very, very pleased, and grateful, he tells me, to be open. But he also wants to keep it real–c'mon now, this is a BROOKLYN guy–and convey the A to Z reality of being that small business owner during the COVID era. “The masking is not a problem, the social distancing is not a problem, the sparring, even, is not a big problem. I walk around, say, ‘Pull up that mask, it's not a chin-strap.' And there have been no complaints. But what is a problem is the paper work. I have to hire people just to keep up! That means more payroll.”
So, THAT means that good people should spread the word, and tell friends, and heck, even mild acquaintances, that things are happenin' again at Gleason's.
You can tell 'em the gym purchased 2,000 face-masks, 2,000 pairs of rubber gloves, 16 gallons of hand sanitizer with 80% alcohol, 15 hands-free hand sanitizer dispensers, 6,000 antibacterial wipes, 10 gallons of disinfectant sanitizer, 10 disinfectant spray bottles and four cases of brown paper towels. They know where the closest Costco is if they need more paper towels, too.
If you still harbor some fear of nasty viral particles cruising for a landing place, you should know Gleason's has a clean air ventilation system that brings fresh air in from the outside, and circulates the air throughout the gym and vents the old air outside. They also have 10 huge front windows that are open, as well as two large exhaust fans in the rear of the gym that pull in fresh air. They top off their air filtration system with ceiling fans throughout the gym.
It's clean and safe at the gym. So, you should know, Gleason’s will host a Boxing Certification Clinic for Personal Trainers, on October 15 and 16th.
That signals something of a return to normalcy, I think.
There will be two days of boxing basics, done by the top level trainers at Gleason's, and participants will receive a certificate and wallet card.
If you are interested, click here to sign up. Feel free to contact Bruce Silverglade at Gleason’s Gym, 130 Water St, in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, the telephone number is 718 797 2872 and the email address is: [email protected].
Tell a friend, or splash it on social media, will ya?