Tag Archives: rock climbing

New LIC rock climbing facility looks to provide value for local community

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Boulders

A vision that was started over four years ago to bring a hybrid climbing facility and community center to Long Island City will soon become reality.

Brooklyn Boulders (BKB), a rock climbing facility that opened in 2009 in Brooklyn, is slated to open its fourth location and first in Queens this summer.

The idea for the 25,000-square-foot hybrid climbing facility and community center, which is located at 23-10 41st Ave. and is called BKB Queensbridge, was born in 2011 when BKB co-founder Lance Pinn came upon the site.

Since then, BKB founders have had to wait for the building, which is now an apartment complex, to be erected before they could start construction to bring the facility to the community.

“It’s extremely exciting because I had to study a lot of economic development planning to understand the boom that has occurred here. It wasn’t as obvious in 2011,” Pinn said. “It’s just amazing to see all the growth that’s occurred since then.”


BKB Queensbridge is expected to open this summer at 23-10 41st Ave. in Long Island City.

One of the aspects that made Long Island City an attractive location for their new facility was the neighborhood’s proximity to public transportation. BKB Queensbridge has seven different subway lines within five blocks from the site, and it is nine blocks away from the G train.

The facility will feature a selection of climbing terrain, climbing classes, fitness programs and equipment, a dedicated weight room, spacious yoga studio, saunas, youth programs, multiple event spaces, co-working spaces, lounges, a café, an art gallery and many more amenities.

Pinn also added that he encourages those who come to the facility to recommend programs they would like to see added.

“Our goal is to be convenient and provide value for the people here,” Pinn said. “We will be serving people and finding out what they want and build the program up that way.”

Although construction is expected to be completed in a month, an official opening date has not been set yet as BKB Queensbridge just waits to receive all city approvals.

In the meantime, the facility is offering members of the public the ability to RSVP for Hard Hat Tours and Dinners which offer a sneak peek inside the space.

“It’s a nice little community building event that we found has served well to create the feel-good feeling we are going for,” Pinn said.

For more information or to purchase a membership in advance, click here.


Country’s largest rock gym coming to Long Island City

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Mike Wolfert

Belay on.

An enormous rock climbing gym is slated to open in Long Island City this April, featuring 30,000 square-feet of climbing walls, large enough to house 500 climbers. According to owner Mike Wolfert, The Cliffs at Long Island City will be one of the biggest rock climbing facilities in North America.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest gyms in the country,” Wolfert said. “It’s massive.”

Wolfert also owns The Cliffs at Valhalla in Westchester, which opened in September of 2005. He picked Long Island City for the new location based on the area’s “perfect demographics” and proximity to transportation.

“It’s obviously exploding right now,” said Wolfert of LIC. “The amount of growth with the restaurants and the bars right now, it’s the perfect position to be in when opening a new business.”

Wolfert, who has been a life-long rock climber, found it was a good way to stay fit when he worked for a marketing agency in California. After moving back to his home state of New York, he combined business savvy and his love of climbing and opened The Cliffs.

Wolfert said rock climbing is the fastest growing indoor sport in the country, adding that his Valhalla facility runs at full capacity. Rock climbing’s popularity comes from being a full-body workout that combines cardio, stretching and strength training into a routine that’s anything but monotonous, said Wolfert.

Climbers can scale 60 feet on the LIC building’s highest wall. The gym will incorporate three subsets of rock climbing: straight climbing called “top roping”; “bouldering,” a heavy weight, low repetition form of climbing that requires problem solving; and “lead climbing,” an advanced endeavor that most closely resembles outdoor rope climbing. Several of the custom-built rock walls’ patterns can be altered to keep climbers on a different course with each ascent.

The facility, formerly a warehouse, plans to include classes with certified instructors who teach everything from the basics to advanced climbing, after school programs for kids and birthday parties. Wolfert also said the gym will create more than 60 new jobs.

Since announcing plans for the new gym, Wolfert said response from locals and rock climbers across New York City has been nothing but positive.

“It’s more than just the Long Island City community,” he said. “Rock climbing, unlike fitness, there’s not one on every corner. People will travel from other boroughs. We’ve been getting great response from the rock climbing community at large.”