NYC Boutique Yoga Studio Map Pre-Covid March 2020

The title of this entry is exactly what this map is of, all of the New York City boutique yoga studios that were open prior to the government mandated closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic instituted on March 16, 2020. Only on August 24th, more than 5 months after their doors closed were fitness facilities in NYC able to re-open and studio classrooms were sadly not included in that re-opening. Upon building this visualization, it brought tears to my eyes and many questions, some of which I already knew the answer to, but some remain unclear – including my very own involvement in this line of work. Without going into unemployment statistics directly (I don’t have that data, yet!), I wondered where everyone is physically located at this present time since we’re not all at work and not necessarily confined in our homes as much, what businesses were still somehow paying their leases, if the studio moved it’s platform online and if they had attempted to use their space alternatively as a way to produce income outside of holding group fitness classes.

As you hover over each studio you can see the name of the studio, as well as the latitude and longitude location. My plan is to add more useful information to the tool tip data, as to which I have already started to collect and just mentioned in my questioning, but I decided to stop with the additional data after spending many hours collecting the latitude and longitude of 125+ locations and truly just wanted to make sure what I was doing would function on a map. However, I am so inspired to continue to build on this map because I know that it can tell a story of a moment in time that is now for sure what would be lost or is in the process of disappearing. Boutique fitness had skyrocketed in popularity so much over the last decade that you could walk by a yoga studio on almost every block (see the village area below Union Square). Even more fascinating to discover is down the line, which institutions will remain and how does that relate to the strength of the studio’s ties with ancient knowledge and year of establishment. Yoga has always been a word of mouth based type of practice and teaching, with knowledge being transmitted from teacher to student verbally, just like in an old classroom, but hardly any note taking happens in a fitness class, if ever. If I can be honest here, some of these places barely had a functioning computer if one at all to take attendance on and it was only in 2001 that the company MindBody, the reservation and sales software that the majority of the studios use had been incorporated.

It’s only a matter of time until the major news headlines start to report on just how extensive the damage is to the wellness industry due to covid-19, but here was a start. What major news sources might not have direct access to is the exact timeline of these permanent business closures (at least easily) and if individuals who were formerly employed have re-located to a different state for residency. The independent contractor lifestyle that group fitness is, is a very risky path to take in our expensive city, a risk that I myself continue to take. There are no sick days, no paid time off, and most of the time we have to work for multiple venues to earn enough regular income and we definitely pay our taxes all at the end of the year which can be painful if not well planned. I myself worked for at least 12 of these studios, some of which went out of business as soon as April 1st, so it really would not surprise me if there was a mass exodus of group fitness instructors from NYC during this time. For my next visualization, I wish I could make a map that draws a line from a teacher’s residence in NYC to their new one if they moved, and if any given studio has moved spaces, but all of that data is yet to be known and my skill yet undeveloped. For now, I will look to add on to this for our next assignment (if that is acceptable), to compare studios that have taken their platform online, have already closed for good, and if they held outdoor group fitness classes. It may also be noted if google maps has been updated with the business’ current information, which I’ve absolutely noticed to be highly inconsistent for all of the studios.

3 thoughts on “NYC Boutique Yoga Studio Map Pre-Covid March 2020

  1. Brianna Caszatt (she/her/hers)

    I was getting frustrated figuring out the latitude and longitude for just 30-something locations on Google maps, so I’m incredibly impressed you were able to do it for 125+. Did you also have issues of locating the precise values for the Google pins? When I was right clicking to get the values, I could tell sometimes that the pin was ever so slightly shifting.

    It will be very interesting (and I fear sad) to see how your map changes when the COVID-related data is in.

  2. Elena Abou Mrad

    Thanks for sharing this map, @allisondaugila! Before lockdown, I used to go to this small yoga studio in my neighborhood, and I was wondering how many of these businesses had to close. I have a few questions about your map:
    1) where did you get the data from?
    2) is there a link to your map? I’d love to explore it.

    About the latitude and longitude data: that’s a humongous effort you made! For next time, this is my tip: if you have addresses of the businesses, create a spreadsheet with your data on Excel or, even better, Google Spreadsheets. Then, import the spreadsheet on Google MyMaps. Google MyMaps recognizes the addresses and plots them on a map automatically. Then, you can export the data as a KML/KMZ file…I know that you can open it at least on ArcGIS, I don’t know about other software though ๐Ÿ™

    1. Allison (She/her) Post author

      I believe I wrote about where i got the data for the studio closures in the essay. In case you missed it, itโ€™s from a wide variety of places. Google search, the studio website, Word of mouth, studio email subscription newsletters, actual newspapers, and even Instagram.
      Also…Great suggestion, wish I had thought of that. So tableau only accepts CSV files I believe when it came down to importing data from a sheet like that.

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