the times square gym
Photography by John Goodman with introduction by Pete Hamill

These photographs by John Goodman were made over a period of 18 months in the Times Square Gym, a place that honored the tradition and ethos of the brutal art of boxing. Opened in 1976 by a graceful boxing man named Jimmy Glenn, it was at once school and clubhouse...
On some afternoons, there were champions in the Times Square Gym...but there were many others who never became champions...In that gym, they learned to respect themselves. They learned to be modest. They learned a discipline of the self...
In these photographs of Jimmy Glenn’s academy of respect, I am back among the fighters I saw long ago in Stillman’s and the Gramercy Gym and Gleason’s in the Bronx. I can feel the textures of the walls, the peeling paint and the aging posters, the dark brown spatter of dried blood, the salts of old saliva. I can see the worn leather on the seams of the speed bag and the hammering sound of a bell, every three minutes, followed by a minute of rest. I hear the slapping rhythms of men skipping rope while others smack the heavy bags. I can see them taping their own hands with the precision of surgeons. I hear the snort and grunt of shadowboxing, as men imagine great moves in glorious fights against phenomenal opponents. I hear the metal slam of locker doors, I hear the laughter of tough young men. I hear managers shouting into pay phones. I can smell the air, permanently stained with a million hours of human sweat.
-Pete Hamill
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