Salem Crescent Athletic Club®

Salem Crescent Athletic Club®

From the outside, along 129th Street and 7th Avenue in New York City, gazing up at Salem Methodist Church, one might never know that a den of warriors existed within its basement. The church leaders believed that energy was necessary to fight sin. As a result, the built a gym in the basement and added a boxing area.

It was slow going to raise the funds to keep this idea afloat, but in time, they attracted a number of gifted athletes who were driven to succeed. Stepping around the side of the church, past the sole sodium light, and down the steps, you’d enter into a dimly lit facility that shook off the connection to the church upstairs, aside from the lone cross on the wall.

A young kid, Walter Smith, would likely be working out, punching the bags, training in the ring, and being dedicated to becoming a champ someday. It was this boy that attracted more funding to help the gym grow. He would later become known as Sugar Ray Robinson and he was often the first to arrive and the last one to leave Salem Crescent Athletic Club.

It became known as one of the best boxing programs in the country and if you came out of it, you were known to be a proven warrior.


The Church is still there but the gym is long gone.

Salem United Methodist Church
2190 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027

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