Riding with Rangel

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The Rangel machineSpending a morning with Congressman Charles Rangel is to be in touch with diversity of the Harlem community from a breakfast at Sylvia’s where he was one of several notables in a think tank led by Lloyd Williams and Carl McCall to a commencement address at P 79M to a ribbon cutting ceremony at Blink’s on 125th Street.

“Let me first of all thank the parents here today,” the congressman said last Monday after saluting Principal Greer Phillips for her fine leadership.  “You have done a wonderful job and you must be proud to see how your children are now prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow.  But this is really a special moment for you graduates and you should never feel you are alone.  Each of you possesses special talents and we look forward to your contributions to our society.”

There were nearly forty graduates in the ceremony at the school, which is officially called P79M/Dr. Edmund Horan School and located at Fifth Avenue and 120th Street.  It serves all students from age 8-21 with different special needs.   Rangel regaled them with a parable about a chicken with no confidence until confronted by an eagle who convinced it to try to fly.

“At last the chicken stuck out its chest, took off running, and soared to the sky,” Rangel related.  “What the chicken learned was that it was an eagle all along.  My point is you must believe in yourself, have confidence that you too can fly and excel.”

If you have walked along 125th Street lately you’ll notice that two new locations have emerged.  One of them next to the Apollo Theater will be the location of Red Lobster.  Down the street at the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard the other massive construction is practically finished.

In fact, Rep. Rangel arrived just in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Blink Fitness, and went directly to a machine to test his leg strength.  “I have one just like this that I work out on,” he told Dos Condon, Blink’s Vice President of Operations.  “Get me an application right away.”

This is Blink’s fifteenth and first location in Harlem, Condon said, “and ironically we have one in Brooklyn that is right next door to The Party City store as it is here in Harlem,” which was also celebrating its grand opening.

Rangel explained to a crowd of onlookers that he had endured an illness that had infected his spine “and part of my recovery includes physical therapy, and I’ve already spoken to one of the personal trainers here who has given me some good advice about deep massaging,” he laughed.

“I think our prices are competitive,” said Condon, and they certainly are at $15 a month.  And there are a vast number of machines and a sizable staff and personal trainers ready to welcome Harlemites to another promising enterprise.

Just over two years ago Blink debuted its reasonable prices and fitness brand and it has quickly mushroomed into 15 locations in the New York and tri-state area.  There is an array of machines, so there is no need to stand around and wait for one to become available and all of them are state of the art with videos, and there’s a dedicated functional training area.

“Look at me,” Rep. Rangel said flexing his muscles and looking like the man of steel.

With the muscle flexing done, the representative was off to NY1 and a rendezvous with Errol Louis and a conversation that will certainly include his feelings about stop and frisk, immigration, and NYCHA.