By Jamie Menaker
As #Classpasspocolypse winds down, and fitness-goers fall where they may (read our posts for both pro & con), we have one thing to say: it’s finally summer, let’s all stop thinking about ClassPass for one minute, and refocus on all the things that we can do outside here in NYC to get active. We know, it's the city, there’s nothing like that here, you say? We bet there are more off-the-beaten-path finds than you think. Read on to find out.
1) Riding Bikes up the West Side Highway (and into the Palisades)
If you haven’t ridden a bike (outside of the spin studio) since you were a kid, it’s time. The breeze in your face, people-watching, getting your legs moving in a way that actually gets you somewhere — all incredible feelings. There are a couple ways to approach this: If you already have a bike, you're set in that department; if not, Waterfront Bicycle Shop is a great place to stop for a first-time rental right at the start of the route, or Danny’s Cycles Hudson Square rents true road bikes, for cyclists looking to try a more strenuous ride. You can either take it slow and tackle a leisurely 10-15 miles on the West Side Highway bike path, stopping at The 79th Street Boat Basin for lunch/ drinks with waterfront views — or you can get serious about your ride and up your mileage to 30-40 by crossing the George Washington Bridge bike path into Palisades Park in New Jersey. It’s beautiful and super bike friendly, with plenty of hills to play around on.
2) Hiking Inwood Hill Park
This is one of the best hidden secrets in NYC. If you go all the way to the top of Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park feels like nothing else in the city. The paved paths through dense foliage are closer to a hike through a forested area in upstate NY than anything in Manhattan. Take the subway up to the 200s and Dyckman Street, and hike all the way through the park until you get to sweeping views of the Hudson River, and further ahead the Bronx on the other side of the water. Reward yourself post-hike with plenty of organic and craft beers at Indian Road Café.
3) Kayaking the Hudson River
Quite a few places along the Hudson offer options for kayaking, but we like Hudson River Park for the multiple locations you can launch into and out of the water. Free walk-up kayaking, kayak trips on the harbor, and evening classes are all options to get water-borne, capture some peace of mind, get your arms working, and enjoy the view of NYC from afar.
4) Trapeze at Chelsea Piers
Okay, we’ve all seen It when we are on our way out of town for the weekend, but have you ever tried the massive flying trapeze that’s set up along Chelsea Piers at Pier 40? Imagine the arm strength & strength in both mind and body that it takes to jump from one bar to another that high up in the air. The New York Trapeze School offers classes for all levels, every day of the week — so you really have no reason NOT to try this one.