by Samantha Walla, Production Manager
Riverdale isn’t the capital of trendy, health-conscious fitness facilities, but iLiv Cycling on W 238 St. is the first green spin studio that offers affordable cycling classes and acai bowls for the community without compromising on quality.
After a period of construction, iLiv opened in July 2019 offering classes seven days a week in the morning and evening. Rates are $17 with a student rate of $13.
The team behind the family business has aspired to open a fitness facility for sometime. Christopher McCray and his mother, both personal trainers, and wife, Raidirys, a dancer, owned a facility on Long Island but didn’t have a hand in designing the concept. For iLiv, the concept seemed to develop on its own.
“The construction took several months and then we started to implement the vision but it kind of took its own form. The color schemes happened on its own, the infrastructure happened on its own, the concept of the acai bowls… Things just kind of started to bloom in here.”
The spirit of the studio is a direct reflection of the lifestyle that Raidirys and Christopher live, which brings the
“My husband and I are vegan,” said Raidirys. “At home we’re super plant-based, we’re practically raw, and doTERRA, the essential oils, is something that is very important to us. We wanted to facilitate that somehow in the community.”
Despite owning in Long lsland, the couple returned to Riverdale, Christopher’s hometown, to serve the community.
“We realized we were sitting on something very awesome, because we’re not only providing fitness that’s easy, fun gets the job done, but we’re also providing an environment that’s friendly, calm, comforting and scientifically proven healthy for the mind,” said Raidirys.
iLiv has found that many members of the community are thrilled to have a business prioritizing health and positivity in the neighborhood with so many long-standing businesses.
The studio’s next step is outreach. They hope to hire interns to work with marketing and interacting with interested customers and teachers. The studio hopes that the community will be able to take advantage of the location and prices instead of traveling to Manhattan for expensive cycling classes.
“I think it was a combination of both me and my husband putting our life experiences together. He’s always been a business owner, within himself he’s very forward thinking,” said Raidirys. “I was a party girl from New York City, I lived in the city most of my life. So that’s really all I knew. And I think merging the the experience that I’ve had, the culture that I’ve had, and also his desire to like do something impactful.”
iLiv has already connected with Manhattan College students and organizations, and hopes to continue to do so in the future. Katie Doyle, a junior English major, organized a promotional class for the writers of Her Campus.
“Everyone at iLiv was so kind, and our instructor, Karim, was so engaging and enthusiastic, and we had a great time,” said Doyle. “Our writers had so much fun writing about the event afterwards, and the articles turned out great.”
Junior Emily Anderson also took a class with Karim.
“I really liked Karim, he did a really good class,” said Anderson. “The instructors were all really nice.”
The owners of iLiv also have plans for the space next door to become a vegan cafe and apothecary.
“You’ll be able to come in and get your plants, get your crystals, get your healing line,” Raidirys said. “We’ll have some consultations, understanding what’s best for you and how that works with Western medicine.”
The space is currently used for events while the kitchen comes together. The events will range from poetry nights to nights focusing on negative affirmations that can affect womb-health.
Despite the changes and extensive preparation that both businesses require, iLiv is excited to bring their energy to the Riverdale community.
“I think that we’re still satisfied with what we’re providing,” said Raidirys. “We’re providing aroma therapy, mental health, and fitness and wellness. And then [next door], we’re providing nutrition, you know, and love, I think.”