Ardon’s Sweet Science
By Stephanie Johnson
The reverend proselytized loudly. His musical, baritone Spanish cut through the din of the Gowanus Expressway and carried down Fourth Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets in the heart of Greenwood Heights. Thanks to the derelict factories and the jumble of repair garages, gas station-market hybrids and porn shops dotting the periphery, Greenwood Heights exists more as a thoroughfare for fuel- and fast-food-starved commuters than a true neighborhood.
Above the reverend’s storefront pulpit sits an easy-to-miss institution, Ardon Sweet Science Gym. Inconspicuous by design, its industrial doors, flaking paint and revealing burnished rust pockets, say more about the gym, and its nonchalance, than the ying-yang signage mounted overhead. But what is most revelatory about the gym’s environs, and its aesthetic, is that its supporters don’t need either to entice them to enter. Word of mouth brings fighters here from as far as Staten Island and New Jersey, but it is what transpires inside that motivates them to stay.