Gleason's Boxing Gym, in DUMBO before it was fashionably DUMBO, moved locations yesterday.
It hasn't gone far, just around the corner. But the gritty old joint is packed up and gone, and the new place is shiny and, well, new. As Alex Vadukul wrote in the Times last week, "the relocation leaves behind an era’s worth of sweat and grime that has accumulated in this temple to the sweet science."
Jared "The NYC Tour Guide" Goldstein shared a few photos of Gleason's last day in the old spot, just as it was being dismantled.
I can't say I've ever been a boxer, but I went now and then to
Gleason's twenty years ago, just to be in its atmosphere. I remember
walking there through a Brooklyn waterfront wasteland, smoking a
cigarette while standing in some yellow weeds full of trash.
I was heavy into Joyce Carol Oates' "On Boxing," which I recommend, if you want to read something beautiful about the brutal sport. At the time, it was all poetry to me.
I'd go to places to watch bouts in dumpy joints where you sat in metal folding chairs, so close you could see the sweat spray off the boxers' bodies on impact.
At Gleason's, I'd just hang around to watch the fighters practice. I tied a few loose laces on their gloves. That's all. It was a moment, a long time ago, when I wanted to be close to something I couldn't quite name.
That dumpy old DUMBO is gone. And so is that old Gleason's. The last time I went, in 2008, it all felt changed.
Born in the Bronx in 1937, moved to Brooklyn in 1984, Gleason's still survives. And that's more than you can say for many real New York places.
They posted shots of the new gym on their Twitter feed. Same color scheme, just shinier. It probably smells like fresh paint and off-gassing vinyl.
Let the sweat and grime begin.