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Massive Long Island City rock climbing venue to open first week of October

Sept. 12, 2013 By Christian Murray

The largest indoor rock climbing venue in the US is expected to open in Long Island City in less than three weeks.

Mike Wolfert, the owner of The Cliffs of LIC, said that about 30 contractors are in the midst of completing his 30,000 sqf recreation center that will offer rock climbing, a gymnasium and an apparel store.

Wolfert took on the massive task of converting a former warehouse located at 11-11 44th Drive into the facility at the beginning of the year. The venue will feature walls that tower up to 60-feet high.

However, the construction process has not been an easy one.

Wolfert, who had planned to open in May, was slapped with a stop-work order in April that brought construction to a halt for nearly five months.  He was unable to restart construction until Sept. 4.

Wolfert said that between rent, debt servicing, staff costs and lawyers fees the stop-work order cost him as much as $500,000.

Wolfert, however, said the stop work order was issued because of a misunderstanding. He said that he filed an application to make alterations to the warehouse that was approved by the buildings department.  At the same time, he sought a zoning change that would allow him to build a sports/recreation facility.

When a building inspector arrived on the premises he determined that the alterations to the warehouse were for the purposes of creating a sports facility—which Wolfert had yet to receive the zoning for– and issued a stop work order.

It was at that point that Wolfert got into a tangle with the authorities for allegedly bribing the official. He was arrested in May and the case is still going through the courts.

Wolfert said the stop work order had nothing to do with how the facility was being constructed and he is glad the construction issue has been resolved.

Wolfert said he wants to focus on the good news.

“We are just weeks way from opening one of the best gyms in the United States,” he said.

The Cliffs will be so large that 500 climbers will be able to scale the walls at the same time.

The center will include a gym that offers full-fitness cardio and free weights, as well as a retail store that sells climbing gear.

Wolfert said the club is currently selling annual memberships for $1045, which come with a monthly guest pass, gym access and climbing classes.

He said he is looking to introduce programs for children – with scholarships for children from low income families.

Starting October, the club will be available for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and other events.

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Time's Up

“The fact that you predicate reporting on a new business on the specific condition that they give you free stuff shows your cynicism and anti-neighborhood business mentality”

Are you f$$king dense? Your hatred for the poor apparently clouds your reading comprehension and ability to correctly quote someone. I don’t know Ray & Rita or their website, but I don’t understand why they’re being attacked.

Let me try to explain this in very simple terms: the article states the gym owner intends to offer scholarships to low income families. Ray & Rita in turn stated that once this owner releases application information (which apparently has yet to be released), they will make this info available on their site.

They’re not talking about reporting on the new business genius, they’re talking about reporting the yet-to-be-released application info.

It’s the owner choosing to award scholarships.

This is complicated, I know. I hope you understand a little better now, but I won’t hold my breath.


Ray + Rita, you wrote “as soon as they start accepting scholarships for low income scholarships we will post info on Queensbridge Web Site”.

In other words “As soon as this private entity starts giving us free stuff, we will tell other moochers about the free stuff”.

The fact that you predicate reporting on a new business on the specific condition that they give you free stuff shows your cynicism and anti-neighborhood business mentality.

Either report or don’t report. Don’t require bribes before you report.


Ray & Rita, why would you force a private entity to give away their business?

Can I put some families in your apartment, please? After all, I’m sure there are plenty of families in the world with less than you.


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