There is a saying, “Build it and they will come,” and that certainly was the case with the NYC Parks construction of the Jacob Joffe Fields Adult Fitness Area, included in the plans for the reconstruction of the basketball and handball courts at Jacob Joffe Fields, completed in April 2019.
With it came a large array of bright, orange-colored workout equipment designed to provide a full body workout that has proved to be very popular with neighborhood residents of all ages at the park located at East 58th Street and Avenue L.
Bob Spieler, 80, who is known as Brooklyn Bob, aka Pickleball Bob, at Marine Park for his advocacy of the sport there has a new love interest for Jacob Joffe’s Adult Fitness Area. “This is such a great outdoor facility and I’ve seen a few others — this has everything you need, except weights,” he said.
He has been frequenting the park regularly to do his exercise routine and, as in Marine Park, has made many friends who have now become regulars at this park, many of them seniors like himself who like the equipment because it is easy on the joints. Spieler said that often, there are 10 to 15 individuals taking turns at the equipment; many bring their own equipment like weights and jump ropes too.
Timothy Peterson, who lives a couple of blocks away, works out one and a half hours each day from Monday through Friday, completing an average of 300 push-ups, 300 dips and 200 pull-ups each day. He started coming in the fall of 2019, but then the pandemic hit and most people stayed away until things started opening up again around March of last year. Now, he says more people are coming and after 5 p.m., the place is usually packed.
Most of the equipment is in fine working order and is maintained fairly well, which makes the park a popular destination, but it is still lacking restroom facilities, which was known at the time of construction with hopes that something could be built in the future.
Spieler and Peterson think that time is now since so many people are using and enjoying the park with such frequency. They and others are advocating for a comfort station and a lockbox to put their exercise equipment in, as is provided at other parks.
Spieler realizes the expense involved but feels that enough time has passed to make additional investments to meet the needs of the growing popularity of the park. “At the least, we should have a few porta potties,” he said.