Staycations from A (adventure) to S (sex)
21 classic in-town getaways for every mood.
Mon May 31 2010
Trapeze School New York
If your inner Indiana Jones is hankering to bust out of the cubicle, now's your chance to grab this city by the horns. No caper would be complete without a jaunt on a Jet Ski, so book a private guided tour with Jetty Jumpers (917-734-9919, jettyjumpers.com; $275 per Jet Ski plus $125 for an additional passenger). The four-hour trip begins at a Coney Island marina and speeds under the Verrazano and Brooklyn bridges, coasts alongside the Belt Parkway, zips past the South Street Seaport and pulls up close to the Statue of Liberty. If you're not a seafarer, the west side of Manhattan harbors enough thrilling pursuits to give your adrenal gland a staycation to remember. Get pumped up with a free hour-long private trial boxing lesson (must be scheduled between 11am-5pm) at Boxing 4 Geeks (25 W 26th St between Broadway and Avenue of the Americas; 646-372-6891, boxing4geeks.com; gym pass $10), or learn the ropes—literally—of aerial silks at Trapeze School New York (518 W 30th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 212-242-8769, newyork.trapezeschool.com; $35 plus onetime registration fee of $22). The one-hour lesson will teach you how to climb, dangle and move into poses along hanging pieces of fabric, la Cirque du Soleil. If you're not into the circus aesthetic, flex your muscles on the over 50-foot indoor rock-climbing wall at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers (Pier 60, 23rd St at the Hudson River; 212-336-6000, chelseapiers.com; day pass $50). New climbers must take a one-hour lesson ($50, minimum two people, book at least a few days in advance by calling 212-336-6000), where you'll learn to belay with the best of them. If your idea of a gun show has less to do with bulging arms and more to do with artillery, fire a few rounds at the West Side Rifle and Pistol Range (20 W 20th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-929-7287, westsidepistolrange.com). You'll need to reserve at least five days in advance to allow for a background check; once you're cleared, pay $65 for a quick lesson and 50 rounds of ammo. Then leave tranquil kayaks to nervous Nellies and learn how to maneuver tippy outrigger canoes (which originated in French Polynesia) with a free novice session from New York Outrigger (Pier 66, W 26th St at West Side Hwy; newyorkoutrigger.org; Sat 10:30, 11:15am, noon; reservations required). You may be an urbanite, but we know you would wrestle a crocodile if you had to—and that's what counts.
RECOMMENDED: Our most recent Staycation Guide
Start your whirlwind tour at the epicenter of the contemporary art scene on West Chelsea's so-called "miracle mile" (24th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves). See works by artistic bigwigs at the cavernous Gagosian Gallery (555 W 24th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 212-741-1111, gagosian.com), then duck into nearby Gladstone Gallery (515 W 24th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 212-206-9300, gladstonegallery.com) for exhibitions by international contemporary hotshots. Contemplate your future investments over light Italian fare at Bottino (246 Tenth Ave between 24th and 25th Sts; 212-206-6766, bottinonyc.com), where you can eavesdrop on the gallerists and collectors who frequent the place. No artistic tour is complete without a spin through MoMA (11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-708-9400, moma.org; $20), to see some of the most impressive works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including masterpieces by Rothko, Warhol, Pollock and Monet. Once you've scoped out the Rodin and Calder pieces in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, treat yourself to a swanky lunch at The Modern (212-333-1220, themodernnyc.com), or opt for a sandwich at the less-expensive Bar Room. If you don't yet have art-induced vertigo, visit UES stalwarts the Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Ave at 75th St; 212-570-3600, whitney.org; $18) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org; suggested donation $20), which stays open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. For outerborough art adventures, hit the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org; $10 suggested donation) or romp around the courtyard at the ever-eclectic P.S.1 (22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-2084, ps1.org; $5 suggested donation).
Biking the boroughs
Renounce the subway and rely on your wheels—you'll cover more ground and get some exercise, and you'll be much less likely to get groped by a random dude. Roll up your pant legs and pedal to Trader Joe's (142 E 14th St between Third and Fourth Aves; 212-529-4612, traderjoes.com) for charcoal and grillables. Second stop: Metro Bicycles (332 E 14th St between First and Second Aves; 212-228-4344, metrobicycles.com); pick up a free NYC cycling map before the store closes at 6:30pm. Take 10th Street all the way east, across the FDR and onto the path in East River Park (nycgovpark.org). Beware the man-size potholes as you bike south to the picnic tables and rudimentary grills just north of the track, then dine as the lights start twinkling in Queens. Take the Delancey Street bridge back and grab a window seat at The Magician (118 Rivington St at Essex St; 212-673-7851), so you can keep an eye on your wheels while you down a few drinks. If you crave altitude, skip Manhattan and head for the hilly Bronx. Set out from Van Cortlandt Park (nycgovparks.org), taking Broadway north, then make a left on Moshulu Avenue, a right on Tyndall Avenue and a left on 261st Street. Coast down Palisade Avenue to 254th Street and walk your bike to Independence Avenue. Follow that south to 249th Street, where you'll find the entrance to Wave Hill (Independence Ave at 249th St, Bronx; 718-549-3200, wavehill.org), an idyllic 28-acre garden. If you're there by noon on Saturday, admission is free (otherwise, it's $8 for adults). Wend your way (you're going to need that map) to the Riverdale City Grille (3541 Riverdale Ave at 236th St; 718-543-5720, riverdalecitygrill.com), where you can refuel on a turkey club or a range of other affordable options.
City Island escape
A small-town vibe pervades City Island (population: fewer than 5,000), the slightly gritty backdrop for films such as Margot at the Wedding and A Bronx Tale. But you won't have to sacrifice big-city tastes for an evening in the quasiburbs—and the trolley takes you everywhere you need to go. If you're hankering for French fare, tuck into the prix fixe (brunch $25, lunch $45, dinner $50) at Victorian auberge Le Refuge Inn (586 City Island Ave; 718-885-2478, lerefugeinn.com), located in a former oysterman's home. Thrifty folks can choose from a variety of heaping surf-and-turf plates at Sammy's Fish Box (41 City Island Ave; 718-885-0920, sammysfishbox.com). After filling your belly, feast your eyes on photos, sculptures and paintings by local artists at Focal Point Gallery (321 City Island Ave; 718-885-1403, focalpointgallery.com), which holds free openings on the first Friday of every month from 7-10pm. Mosey down City Island Avenue for artful decor like richly patterned Moroccan bowls at quirky imports shop Exotiqa (280 City Island Ave; 718-885-3090, themagicofgifts.com) before going Celtic at Irish pub The Snug (302 City Island Ave; 718-885-9559). Had a pint too many to face the long trip back home? Bunk at Le Refuge, but don't miss the eerie midnight views of nearby Hart Island. The former site of an insane asylum, a missile base and a narcotics rehab center, Hart is also home to NYC's public cemetery, where you can sometimes spot Rikers Island inmates burying the unnamed dead. How's that for a fish tale?