HOBOKEN, NJ – In an effort to find an optimal location for a small business struggling to cope with COVID challenges, the City of Hoboken has found a temporary home for Prime Cycle at the iconic waterfront gazebo on the northeast corner of Pier A.

For months, Prime Cycle has been utilizing the Maria Pepe Batting Cages as part of Hoboken’s program to offer space to fitness centers impacted by COVID-19. With the resumption of Hoboken’s Little League program this Spring, that location became untenable after significant community outcry over the commercial use of public batting cages.

As a result, the parties involved sought what they considered to be a better location. They believe they’ve found that with their new solution on Pier A.

“Thanks to the collaboration between Prime Cycle and the City of Hoboken, the City identified a temporary location at the gazebo that allows a struggling business to continue to use outdoor space for safe, socially distant outdoor workouts,” said Hoboken City Spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri. “Thanks to the Executive Order signed by Mayor Bhalla last year, over 30 fitness clubs and studios, including Prime Cycle have utilized City parks and fields, to lend a helping hand to business owners due to continued capacity limits indoors. Many of these gym owners have credited this option for saving their business from bankruptcy, including Prime Cycle.”

The use of public space for private gyms is nothing new in Hoboken, and has certainly become more prevalent as these locally owned and operated fitness ventures seek any opportunity they have to sustain business amid COVID restrictions.

“Without the help of the City of Hoboken, and Mayor Bhalla, Hudson River Athletics, the small business I own, would have shuttered for good during this Pandemic. By allowing us to operate outdoors on Sinatra Field, and thinking creatively about the use of parks and fields in town, the city saved my business,” said Jay Wein, owner/operator of Hudson River Athletics in the Neumann Leathers Building. “I’m thankful the City prioritized small business during a time that continues to threaten our existence, especially at a time when the mental health aspect of lockdown was being completely neglected. Mayor Bhalla and team were once again ahead of the curve, understanding how important these health protected routines are to the overall well-being of citizen’s lives.”

Nevertheless, some residents who are concerned about preserving public space are quick to point out that New Jersey Land Use statutes restrict the use of green space for commercial enterprise.

To that, Chaudhuri says, “Prime Cycle’s use of the gazebo at Pier A is temporary, until capacity limits are lifted, and Mayor Bhalla and the City are glad to provide this outdoor space to a business that has faced substantial hardships due to the pandemic.”

Prime Cycle owner Julie Insogna-Jarret told TAPinto Hoboken, “I am deeply grateful to the Mayor and city officials for working with us to find outdoor space to hold classes. As you know, finding a place that can house our bikes is not easy. The move to the gazebo was definitely challenging and costly (fully paid by Prime) but I’m grateful we have the opportunity to keep our business going. Without these outdoors classes we would likely need to close permanently.” 

Prime Cycle has officially vacated the space at the Little League Field as of Sunday, leaving that facility to resume its full use by youth baseball players.

When asked about returning to Prime Cycle’s own brick and mortar facility at 70 Hudson Street, Insogna-Jarret said, “We haven’t been able to return yet due to limited capacity and social distancing requirements which would leave us with only approximately 8 bikes—not nearly enough to cover rent and operating expenses. We can return once those restrictions are modified or lifted.”

In the meantime, Prime Cycle is now booking classes for Pier A. CLICK HERE for more information.

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