Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reasons I love Greenpoint: Part 15 - The Greenpoint YMCA

Last week was my 4 year anniversary living in the great neighborhood of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint. I weighed about 185 pounds at the time I arrived. The following September, when I was close to 200 pounds, I joined Weight Watchers. And days later, I also joined the Greenpoint YMCA.

Greenpoint YMCA, since 1906

At the time, I had no idea at that time how dramatically my life would change as a result - that I would go on to lose 50 pounds, looking and feeling better than I ever have in my life, that I would challenge my fear of classes by trying out Punk Rope, only to become a devoted punk roper (evenually challenging myself further by doing yoga, pilates, interval training and total body conditioning), that I would improve my cardiovascular health dramatically, that I would become physically stronger and not coincidentally mentally stronger, that I would start to believe in myself, that I would make some of the best friends I've ever had in my life, that I would become an avid and enthusiastic cyclist, or that I would start running - something I have always hated and dreaded!

While I realize that I made all of those changes and am ultimately responsible for all the ways my life has improved since then, I can't help but wonder how different my life would be if the Y wasn't there. Would any of that have happened? Maybe some of it would have, but my life would not be what it is today.

Needless to say, I love my YMCA. I'm proud to be a part of it and I'm so glad it's there. So when I came across this postcard on eBay, I *had* to make sure it was mine - This appears to be a hand drawn representation of the building. (Anyone familiar with Greenpoint will likely recognize this as the corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St.) There is a handwritten note on the front of the postcard where I assume the person sending it was pointing out the room she stayed in.

YMCA - corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St

Flipping it over, the postcard was actually filled out on March 12, 1911 and is postmarked with a Brooklyn stamp from March 13, 1911 - 99 years ago!!!

It reads:
"How is Ferndale? It seems very nice to have Aunt Bessie with us. I don't think we will let her leave us. Mother has been to church three times today but Aunt B. and I were wicked and only went twice. Elsie I DeGroot"
I love that so much! They were "wicked" for only going to church twice! And could she be referring to beautiful St Anthony's Church on Manhattan Ave? I would bet she was!

Anyway this is how the YMCA looks today, January 2, 2010 from that same angle. Not much has changed (though, comparing it to the postcard, they added a few floors onto back of the Lorimer side of the building):

YMCA, 2010

I love my YMCA and am so thankful for the wonderful people I've met there - the people that have taught me and pushed me and made me a better person, inside and out. Thank you, YMCA, you are just one more reason I love Greenpoint!


Diana said...

The Greenpoint Y has made a big impact in my life too, however, I will be quitting it this month. :( I will be joining a gym near my office and going on lunch breaks, and we get employee discounts at health clubs. Since I can't go to the Y during the day anymore, it's too unpleasantly crowded at night and I need my evening hours for schoolwork also.

That said, I love how little the building has changed, and those amazing arches are still there on the 3rd floor windows on the side! :)

Lapetitemort said...

That is an amazing building, really gorgeous. It's quite cool that you found a postcard of it, from 1911 no less!


Sparkleneely said...


Great post! I think I told you before -- the first time I ever went to New York I stayed there -- we stayed there twice, in fact, because it was all we could afford! I think the rooms were much nicer in Elsie's day (we called our room "The Charles Bukowski Honeymoon Suite" and I won't tell you what I saw in the shower), but I will always have fond memories of it, and have been so happy to read about it in your blog.

Keep up the great work -- and you always keep me motivated when I'm lagging. Happy New Year!