The NYC Parks Department isn’t only good at one thing keeping our parks beautiful (aren’t they the best?), but they want to help us to get fit to boot with their Shape Up NYC classes.
Tons of free fitness classes are held throughout all five boroughs. In Manhattan alone, you can take zumba, yoga, kickboxing, cardio sculpt, pilates, body toning and Feldenkrais, to name a few. Feldenkrais? It’s a form of physical therapy that promotes healing from movement. (Who knew? Now you do.)
Our own Washington Square Park hosts a free BYOM* yoga class every Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 through August 13th. So whether you live here or are just visiting, take advantage of this freebie, then stop North Square for a cup of coffee!
There’s a putting green right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. Who’da thunk?
Bryant Park has a five-holed green on the southwest corner that’s open to all from 11 am to 7 pm through September. And it’s free! Free golf balls and clubs are also provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own.
The best putters can participate in the Bryant Park Putting Championships. Weekly lunchtime competitions on August 7, 14 and 21 could earn them a stake in the championship round on August 28th.
There are lots of places to ride in our bicycle-friendly city, but the Manhattan waterfront provides views that are out of this world. There are several bike paths to take along the Hudson, along the west side of the island, or on the opposite side, along the East River.
The Hudson River Greenway is the longest, running along the west side from Dyckman Street all the way down to Battery Park in the south. The trail will take you through Hudson River Park and Riverside park. Be aware that riders have to use city streets in a tiny stretch in Harlem, but there are ample signs to point you in the right direction.
The East River Greenway runs on the opposite side of the island, from East Harlem down to the Battery. Again, there’s a gap of a few miles from 34th to 83rd streets in Midtown, but cyclists can use bike lanes in the street until they are able to get back on the trail.
One more route is the Harlem River Greenway, which, while short, is not interrupted. Ride northward from 155th Street at the north end of Central Harlem to Dyckman Street in Northern Manhattan. A bike lane in Dyckman Street connects across Inwood to Inwood Hill Park and the Hudson River Greenway.
If you can’t ride a bike, don’t be embarrassed! Head to Pier 54, by West 13th street, which is designated as a safe space for kids (and adults) to learn how to ride bikes. You can even take a class through Bike New York.
File this one under Things That This Blogger Will Tell You About But Is Too Damn Scared To Do Herself:
The Trapeze School of New York specializes in multi-level classes in the aerial arts, i.e. flying trapeze, static trapeze (where the bars and ropes don’t sway), trampolines, silks (where students practice acrobatics dangling on a piece of silk), and lyra (in which one performs all the same drops, hangs and movements that a trapeze artist does on a hoop–H-O-O-P).
All fear aside, this looks like a lot of fun–and relatively safe fun–for our non-acrophobic friends. The classes cost between $40 and $70 and last one hour, with a limit of ten students per session. (Buy a block and you’ll get a discount.) During the winter, instruction is indoor but outdoor classes are added in the warmer months.
And yeah, kids can do it, too. The minimum age is only six!
If you love the cold weather and all the outdoor activities that go along with it, head to Central Park tomorrow and take part in the Winter Jam, a free winter sports festival right here in the middle of Manhattan.
There will be sledding and cross country skiing and snowshoeing. (I’ve always wanted to do that. Basically because if you fall, you most likely won’t break anything, right?) There will also be lessons in skiing and snowboarding. You can bring your own equipment if you like, but there will be some available to use at no cost.
Doggie lovers should note that the event is partially sponsored by Iams, so there will be a canine salon and spa, where your pooch can get a free grooming and trim. And a Tail-gate cafe for snacks. (Get it?)
Funny enough, the Parks Dept. was spraying the area with manufactured snow when the storm hit this week–so ultimately we’ve got double the flakes!
The party lasts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enter Central Park at 72nd street and head to the Bandshell area–I’m sure you’ll see it right away.
And if you do go, please try to help those in need and bring a new or gently-used coat to donate to the New York Cares Coat Drive.
When: Sunday, February 2nd. Kick-off is at 6:25 p.m.
Where: MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. An easy train ride from Manhattan.
Who: Dunno the teams yet, but the half-time show will feature the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars.
In addition, there are lots of crazy things happening on a created-just-for-the-event Superbowl Boulevard, along Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets on the week leading up to the competition, including autograph sessions with players, getting your picture taken with the Vince Lombardi trophy, and–oddly enough–a toboggan run.
If you don’t have tickets to the big game and are a football fan, there are hundreds of bars around town that will be broadcasting the event. Special (although generally costly) viewing parties have been set up at some nightlife venues. A cheaper alternative is grabbing a $4 beer at local pub Fiddlesticks or oyster bar and seafood shack Ditch Plains.
But hey–if you aren’t a football fan, come hang in the lounge with us! We promise that It will be warm, there will be no TV blaring and no one with a painted face will be pounding their chest and screaming. (And if I do, you can just politely ask me to cut it out.)