And now the moment that climbers in the neighborhood have been waiting for.
MetroRock, a Massachusetts-based climbing gym, will make its NYC debut in Bushwick on Feb. 1, assuming all goes according to plan with their construction permits.
The huge new facility will be an absolute game changer for the climbing community in Bushwick, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the city overall.
“[New York has] got 8 million people and only a handful of climbing gyms. It definitely could afford having another gym,” said Grant Farmer, the general manager of MetroRock Brooklyn.
MetroRock, located at 321 Starr St. off of the Jefferson stop on the L train, will have 23,000 square feet of climbing space with areas for rope climbing (top-rope, auto-belayers and lead), auto belays, and bouldering, making it one of only four gyms in NYC that allow for all types of indoor climbing.
What’s one thing that sets MetroRock apart from many other climbing places? The 50-foot walls.
“It’s a good height. Gives you plenty of climbing terrain … This is one of the taller spots in the New York area,” explained Grant.
The gym is still very much under construction, but it’s coming along quickly. The MetroRock team is offering hard hat tours to give potential members a sneak peek at the space.
Bushwick Daily tagged along for a tour on a cold Tuesday night. Even with the chilly temperatures and lack of heat, the tour was fully booked with seven people showing up to check out the digs.
As far as additional facilities go, Mammut, a Swiss climbing apparel and gear brand, will open its only U.S. retail shop inside MetroRock. The gym will also have a fitness room and yoga studio, and they plan to add more activities as they go.
“First, we kind of want to get a feel for what our community wants and figure out how to serve everybody,” Grant said.
Above all else, the prime Bushwick location appeals to local climbers the most.
“The idea of being able to go to a gym that’s literally on the way home is a big difference,” said Jake Ireland, a Ridgewood resident who currently climbs at Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge.
Getting to a gym is a haul for anyone in the area with a climbing hobby. The other major gyms in the city are Brooklyn Boulders’ Gowanus location and The Cliffs in Long Island City. (Brooklyn Boulders is reportedly negotiating a lease at 121 Morgan Ave. and plans to open a Bushwick location, as well).
While it might seem like MetroRock’s location would make it a no-brainer for Bushwick climbers, it’s not quite that simple. Regular indoor mountaineers, like Jake, climb multiple times a week for a couple of hours before or after work. As a result, they spend a ton of time together, and each gym forms its own tight-knit community. For some, it might not be worth giving that up, even for a much more convenient location.
“It’s like a little squad,” Jake said. His decision to join MetroRock will depend on the quality of the facilities and whether or not his friends decide to join as well. But he admits that the convenience would be tough to pass up on.
“Maybe it’s just about convincing [my friends] to do a mass exodus,” said Jake.
Grant recognizes how important that cultural aspect is for climbers, and has thought about the ways he’ll work to build up the MetroRock community.
“Our members will be able to bring friends to come check us out with guest passes where they will have a climbing experience that is inclusive, fun, and feels like a family. We will have a plethora of awesome climbs that are turned over frequently and a community that is welcoming to new and experienced climbers alike,” the MetroRock manager said.
Annual membership at MetroRock Brooklyn will typically cost $1,350, but it’s currently on sale for $1,099. Day passes will cost $30 and a 10-punch pass will cost $270.