RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC
THE FIELD: Cruisy G Lounge (225 W 19th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 212-929-1085) and boozy Barracuda (275 W 22nd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 212-645-8613) have easy pickings, though megamarts like Mansion are scoretastic too.
YOUR COMPETITION: Since many Chelsea hot spots are two parts gay and two parts Jersey greaseball, the biggest challenge is differentiating between shaved-chest locals who will kiss you and shaved-chest-phobes who will punch you.
GAME PLAN: Many singles pregame at David Barton Gym (215 W 23rd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 212-414-2022), getting toned from head to toe.
UPPER EAST SIDE
THE FIELD: “Pull my finger” might actually work at Second Avenue haunts like Brother Jimmy’s BBQ (1485 Second Ave between 77th and 78th Sts, 212-288-0999) and Blondies (1770 Second Ave at 92nd St, 212-410-3300).
YOUR COMPETITION: This is an alpha district, where men and women pair up according to height, income and, in case of a tie, age.
GAME PLAN: When body shots come around—and they will—Pilates-obsessed women with belly-button rings edge out their softer sisters. Many of the postcollege guys maintain athletic builds, but faux-zany Seth Rogen types can sometimes do okay too.
LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS
THE FIELD: Bloggers and gossip girls gravitate toward Communitea (47-02 Vernon Blvd at 47th Ave, 718-729-7708), regular folks who work in nearby midtown prefer Domaine Bar a Vins (50-04 Vernon Blvd at 50th Ave, 718-784-2350), the natives love Harry’s at Water Taxi Beach (2-03 Borden Ave at 2nd St, no phone), and scenesters ride the classic-cocktail bandwagon at (32-05 Crescent St between Broadway and 33rd Ave, 718-606-9705).
YOUR COMPETITION: This bunch is practical; i.e., they save money by not being in Manhattan, but they appreciate a nice view. Your main rival is the man or woman who likes to go out but doesn’t need scenes.
GAME PLAN: With all the good food here and in nearby Astoria, a little padding is expected. Eat those gyros while you’re walking—and do some crunches at home, for crissakes.
THE FIELD: Forget the newer high-end cocktail lounges: The rockers at Daddy’s (437 Graham Ave at Frost St, 718-609-6388) and clubbers at Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, 718-486-5400) are cheap dates and NSA.
YOUR COMPETITION: Imagine yourself without a day job—unshaven, in a thrift-store-reject wardrobe, with the ability to stay out until 5am.
GAME PLAN: Just try finding a gym in these parts. But you’ll still need to fit into those skinny jeans. Options? Starvation, caffeine and cocaine—or forgoing the dreadful L train in favor of walking to and from Manhattan.
PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN
THE FIELD: The Manhattan and Park Slope lesbian scenes collide convivially at friendly Cattyshack (249 Fourth Ave between Carroll and President Sts, 718-230-5740). But bad girls opt for the hard-core Lucky 13 Saloon (273 13th St at Fifth Ave, 718-499-7553) for a spanking. Or two.
YOUR COMPETITION: Cockiness can be a turnoff in this somewhat tight-knit community, but confidence is generally welcomed. Befriend those in your league, then compete passive-aggressively.
GAME PLAN: With Prospect Park just around the corner, the Park Slope crowd skews recreationally athletic. Biking or joining a softball team or running club may open up extended social networks.
GREAT KILLS, Staten Island
THE FIELD: The gelled-and-shaved contingent opts for Illusions Nightclub (3995 Amboy Rd between Giffords Ln and Nelson Ave, 718-948-1015)—when they don’t feel like driving to the Meatpacking District.
YOUR COMPETITION: Men don’t exactly measure their private parts here, but they sure do adjust them a lot. The females are fierce, showing a lot of skin, primping their hair and aiming to attract the strongest male in the herd.
GAME PLAN: Everyone here is a card-carrying member of Club Muscle: Men are all upper body, barely even using their legs to dance. Women are advised to do heavy aerobics—the outfits that go over well in these parts leave very little to the imagination.