Manhattan: An Oasis of Outdoor Activity

ManhattanKayakPhoto.jpgBeing a suburban boy, born and raised in Westchester, I was once accustomed to large front and back yards, lots of sports, spending afternoons outside on the grass, working around the house, and outdoor BBQs. But, after 7 years of city-bound existence (4 in Boston, last 3 in Manhattan), needless to say, I have become used to cement as far as the eye could see. I have often been heard complaining about how there is nothing outdoorsy to do. But, over the last month or two, I have come to realize that Gotham offers a wide range of outdoor activities besides just The Big Park that are, if not within it’s borders, easily accessible via public transportation!

One of the gems in which I recently began visiting is the East River Park, along the FDR, between 7th street and Houston. In addition to great views, this water’s edge patch of green has a soccer/football field, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, open utility pitches, and a track. I go with buddies there at least once a week for the past month. We usually play soccer, but we also sometimes play football. And you don’t need a massive group to play. You can go solo and join one of the many pick-up games!


I was also recently made aware of kayaking, right here in Manhattan! Operated by Downtown Boathouse organization, you just walk up and get a boat. THIS IS A FREE PROGRAM! As long as you can swim and are willing to brave the Hudson, you are ready to go.

If you are all about personal endurance, individual challenge, and strength-building, Manhattan’s City Climber’s Club is a really cool gym devoted to rock climbing. Not an expert? That’s fine! CCC caters to all levels, and is well respected for their friendly, knowledgeable staff and day trips to the mountains. It is not cheap, but a really cool activity none the less, and it is pretty accessible in “Upper Midtown West.”

If you are looking for more of an organized team activity, there are a number of different organizations that promote competitive sports and other outdoor/athletic pursuits. One of the most notable is Zog Sports. This company not only encourages activity, but also really pushes the social aspect of their leagues. Their teams tend to be a lot of fun, and great exercise. You can set up whole teams (for your companies, for instance) or just join as a single. In addition to a company softball team that I am running, I also will be joining their touch football league. Their teams are open to both men and women. Zog is now branching out from their traditional business model, and they now offer a number of one-off activities outside NYC. For instance, they offer a White Water Rafting trip (I am signed up, will let you know how it is) in the Poconos, and Wine Tasting events in NY State vineyards.

If you are like me and HATE to exercise but love competition, I have just the tip for you! Crunch Gym offers organized dodgeball. It is a pick-up game program, so there are no regular teams. As long as you are a member, just drop in and join in! They play the game at two locations (Wednesday at the SoHo location, Thursday at the Kips Bay location). I try to play both, time permitting. It is a ton of fun, and really great exercise. And it is co-ed. There are usually at least 25% girls participating, if not more

If hiking is your bag, Metro-North’s Harlem Line offers service to Appalachian Trail. About 70 miles north of the city, the station offers accessibility to all sorts of hiking trails within a short train ride from Manhattan.

This is just a snippet of a few possibilities, but the opportunities are fairly endless. The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation has lots more info, so be sure to browse around their page.

Does anyone else have cool ideas for outdoor activity in the city?

[photo courtesy]

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.