In the fitness center, men and women pedal stationery bicycles, stride on treadmills, and use other exercise machines. In the pool, aquatic exercise classes alternate with lap swim.
Such is a typical evening at the Johnson City YMCA.
But that is where any similarities to a typical YMCA end.
Half of the building is dark. The gym is unusable. Throughout the building, the smell of smoke from an October fire still lingers. The ceilings, missing since October, are slowly being replaced but duct work is still quite visible. Electrical wires still hang down in places. The front lobby still doesn't have a finished floor- it has been stripped to the bare concrete since the floods caused by Tropical Storm Lee of the first week of September. Entering the locker rooms, you dodge painters on ladders. The locker rooms have no lockers. We wear flip-flops because signs warn us to wear shoes throughout the building.
But no one seems to care.
One day, our Y will be restored. (right now, I understand, there is still a dispute among insurance companies regarding who will pay for what, which is delaying the full recovery.) The porta-potties in the front will be gone. The gym will be full of volleyball and basketball leagues once again.
And just think. People in big cities pay big money to be entertained in warehouses with visible ductwork and partially painted walls. We are getting the same experience at no extra charge, we in this small village of Johnson City, in upstate NY.
You don't need a fancy building to exercise in. What you need is a caring staff. The Y has that.
Who could ask for anything more.