On Tuesday, the much-hyped 24 Hour Fitness-Derek Jeter will welcome New Yorkers into its sleek facility on Fifth Avenue at Madison Square Park for the first time. In February, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide made headlines when it announced a partnership with the Yankee captain for its entry into the New York market. The company has found that attaching the name of a high-profile athlete to a club helps attract members.


It will need that boost, because even health clubs are feeling the effects of the country's economic turmoil. Gym membership declined unexpectedly last year from 2006, falling nearly one percent in New York state and three percent nationally, to 41.5 million members, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.


"When the cost of basic essentials goes up and salaries don't go up in proportion, certain luxury amenities have to be cut," says Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise. "We've seen a few people make the decision to say, 'My membership's gotta go.' "


News release provided by Crains New York Business. Original news release can be found at: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080720/FREE/848701501/1008.


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