By nature, Noah Neiman is competitive. He is a boxer, after all. And when it comes to the studio he co-founded, Rumble, he wants to be No. 1.
“We didn’t open this up to be mediocre,” Neiman, 34, says. “We opened this up to make an impact on a saturated but, what we found to be, stale space. As a boxer, when I’m sparring someone twice my size, you’ve got to be confident. And we’re going up against the big boys with a lot of money and a lot of years.”
Given its warp-speed rise, Rumble has confidence to spare. Since opening its first studio in Chelsea in January 2017 with backers including the likes of Justin Bieber and Sylvester Stallone, the boutique studio expanded that same year, to NoHo. This year, Rumble got a significant new investor in Equinox and jumped to the West Coast, opening in Los Angeles. More locations, including in Philadelphia, D.C. and San Francisco, are also in the works.
But its most ambitious venture yet is on the Upper East Side.
Rumble’s third NYC location opened Tuesday in a five-story space on Third Avenue near East 84th Street, complete with two studios, infrared saunas, a Drybar blowout salon and the startup’s offices.
“Upper East Side has been our most arduous build, it was such a pie-in-the-sky idea,” Neiman says. “We took a five-story building, gutted the whole thing, and really created something impactful to the community up here.”
The flagship is a move to stand out in a city that includes multiple SoulCycles, Flywheels and Y7s, not to mention other boxing studios with ambitions; Shadowbox has two locations and counting in NYC and is expanding to Chicago, Austin, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Rumble’s “secret sauce,” Neiman says, is creating a space that “makes you want to come back, bring your friends and hang out.”
“The foundation of what we do is make people healthier and happier and more emotionally in control, but also have all the frilly things that make it fun,” he says.
At the Upper East Side studio, that means plenty of Instagram-friendly fare, like a statue of Popeye with Rumble’s logo for a head, as well as amenities like the Drybar — which is marking its first location in a studio — and infrared saunas.
“We wanted to make it a place where it was more than just a gym,” Neiman says. “We wanted to make it a lifestyle experience.”
That mindset speaks to the background of Rumble’s founders. In addition to Neiman, a personal trainer who continues to teach classes at the studio, there’s Eugene Remm, co-founder of EMM Group; Andy Stenzler, co-founder of Cosi and Kidville; and Google vet Anthony DiMarco.
Of course, the $36 workout itself is a key component. Since opening, the brand has continued to update its equipment and experience, from adding mats under its water-filled punching bags for situps to customizing its weights and benches (for the latter, the studio worked with Eric Villency, who designed bikes for Peloton and SoulCycle).
Rumble also has a DJ on retainer to create remixes you’ll only hear in its classes. (“We’ve almost become the MTV, the ‘TRL’ now,” Neiman says.)
It’s all part of creating a unique, premium experience.
“We don’t like store-bought, we don’t like generic,” Neiman says. “We couldn’t go to Modell’s and buy a bench — we had to invent the bench. If you want a workout you can go anywhere. We want to keep elevating the brand so we can be the No. 1 gym in boutique fitness in the world.”