Let's Get Physical
Just because you could easily spend your entire visit to Manhattan standing before transcendent artwork or admiring megawatt performers doesn’t mean you should forgo exercise. Indeed, the city that never sleeps is also a haven for all kinds of physical activity. From biking to bowling and nearly every sport in between, here’s a cheat sheet for how to keep your family active and engaged, on the water, in the air and around town.
Remind yourself that Manhattan is indeed an island with a private three-hour sailing lesson, and gorgeous views, from Atlantic Yachting (79th Street Boat Basin, W. 79th St. and the Hudson River, 212.518.4604). The company’s introductory lesson includes background training on nautical terms, sailing theory and water safety as well as hands-on practice with tying knots, hoisting, tacking, maneuvering and docking. By the end of three hours, you’ll be throwing around terms like “boom vang” and “spin halyard.”
When the crowds are too much, head to Trapeze School New York, which lets you fly or bounce through the air at two downtown locations (Pier 40, West St., at Houston St.; Pier 16, South Street Seaport; 212.242.8769). Run in small groups or as private lessons, the school offers classes in flying trapeze and trampoline. While most classes are suitable for those as young as 6 years old, be warned: This is a very physical class and you may feel sore the next day.
Get away from New York’s hectic energy and embrace your inner Zen at Yogi Beans (1018 Lexington Ave., 212.585.2326), a yoga studio with classes for parents and children. Yogi Beans is open six days a week, but requires a 24-hour advance reservation.
A mecca for New York City’s sporting types, Chelsea Piers (23rd St. and West Side Highway, 212.336.6800) offers a plethora of activities. You can spend a day practicing your golf swing or rock climbing; and for kids, Chelsea Piers also offers drop-in activities like soccer and basketball. A bonus: The facility also houses a Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa, offering services like manicures and massages. Farther north, in Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll find two of the city’s most popular bowling alleys: Lucky Strike (624-660 W. 42nd St., 646.829.0170) and Frames (550 Ninth Ave., 212.268.6909).
You can’t visit New York without noticing all the cyclists, prompted largely by the success of the recently launched Citi Bike program (332 locations every few blocks below 59th Street in Manhattan and in Brooklyn Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and DUMBO; 855.245.3311). Join them by buying a 24-Hour or a 7-Day Access Pass with a credit or debit card at any bike station. (Important to note: Each ride can only last 30 minutes before you’ll be billed overtime fees; the program does not provide helmets; and you must be 16 or older to rent a bike). You can also check out Bike and Roll (nine locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Liberty State Park, 212.260.0400). The company offers full-day and part-day rental options, guided bike tours in Central Park and along the Brooklyn Bridge and the waterfront, and private tours throughout the city. In addition to its standard bikes, Bike and Roll also rents tandems, kids’ bikes, kids’ seats and trailers.
Miniature golf isn’t just for the suburbs. Head to Mini Golf at Pier 25 (North Moore St., 212.627.2020) in TriBeCa’s Hudson River Park and you can putt-putt on Manhattan’s only 18-hole miniature golf course. The 13,000-square-foot course has waterfalls, streams, foot bridges, sand traps and even a cave, all with a view of the Hudson River. Pier 25 also has a skateboard park, a children’s playground, a junior soccer field and beach volleyball. For a more sophisticated and virtual golf experience, check out Golf Manhattan (108 W. 39th St., 212.685.4804). Open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily, the midtown lounge uses PGA Tour simulators to help players improve their strokes, analyzing ball speed, launch angle and spin data. Golf Manhattan has clubs and balls to rent, as well as a staff available for instruction and a small bar with food, beer and wine.
Has seeing a Broadway show left you tapping your toes? Sign up at the Broadway Dance Center (322 W. 45th St., 3rd floor, 212.582.9304) to strut your stuff with some of the country’s best instructors. Every day, the center offers more than 50 classes from beginning to advanced in tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and yoga. The classes are primarily drop-in, geared to all levels of experience and ability, and are open to ages 13 and older.
Enjoy a refined pastime in the middle of busy Chelsea at the Midtown Tennis Club (341 Eighth Ave., 212.989.8572). Play a match or take a lesson. The venerable club, which turns 50 next year, has eight Har-Tru courts, rents rackets and employs a team of highly accomplished pros. On weekdays, same-day reservations are easy to come by, and the club offers a special deal on same-day bookings between noon and 4 p.m.: a one-hour private lesson for $99 or two-hour indoor court rental for $90. All this great city dining tightening your pants? No worries: You have plenty of options for exercise!