Video: Boot Camp Starts Early In Tompkins

Jessica McHugh

At 6 a.m., before the sun had cleared the horizon, the members of U TOUGH Bootcamp met around the jungle gym at Tompkins Square Park. Their trainer, a former army sergeant known as Sergeant D-Train, laid his equipment out on the pavement: hooks, ropes, carabiners, and resistance weights that looked like gigantic rubber bands.

Over the next hour, the students strained themselves in a series of army-style drills, while Sergeant D-Train offered firm instructions.

“Kate, you’re moving like pond water,” he said to one sprinting student. “Pond water don’t move! Let’s go!”

U TOUGH Bootcamp is an exercise class offered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Tompkins Square Park. The four cadets in attendance last Monday had a variety of reasons for waking up at the crack of dawn and subjecting themselves to such punishment. Tom Alexander’s reason was, in a word, “stress.” He described his typical workday as, “Call, call, conference, call, meeting.” But after an hour at U TOUGH, he said, “I will have a great day today.”