Staycations from A (adventure) to S (sex)
21 classic in-town getaways for every mood.
Mon May 31 2010
Even die-hard New Yorkers need to shake off their cosmopolitan confines for a few short hours. Allow an instructor from the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy (7000 Shore Pkwy between Flatbush Ave and Rockaway Pkwy, Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn; 718-531-8949, horsebackride.com; trail ride $37, private trail ride $53, lesson $47, reservations recommended) to guide you through the Gateway National Recreation Area on horseback. You'll go through the woods and end up on the beach for a five-mile stretch of oceanfront riding. Or experience the lagoon by kayak: Park rangers are available to take you on a free half-hour ride leaving from the Canarsie Pier (Belt Pkwy at Rockaway Pkwy; 718-338-3799, nyharborparks.org; Sat & Sun, 10am-2pm). We're willing to bet you an overpriced unlimited MetroCard that you'll forget the allure of New York City's gritty glamour the moment you step inside Wave Hill (Independence Ave at 249th St, Bronx; 718-549-3200, wavehill.org; $8; Sat free until noon), a 28-acre public garden that was once a private estate. Hike through the Herbert and Hyonja Abrons Woodland, which wraps around the edge of the property, then cool down in the Aquatic Garden or grab a snack at the caf in the Wave Hill House. For more flora and fauna, journey to the Staten Island Botanical Gardens in Snug Harbor (1000 Richmond Terr; 718-448-2500, snug-harbor.org; $6, children under 12 $3) and stroll the Zen-like Chinese Scholar's Garden before hitting the Butterfly Garden, where you'll be surrounded by winged creatures. At Lemon Creek Park (Hylan Blvd at Bayview Ave) you can spot swans and ducks cavorting, and if you're good with a rod and tackle box, try your hand at fishing at the Sharrott Avenue pier. If you don't manage to catch your lunch, just pick up a Jamaican jerk pork wrap ($9) at the Cargo Caf (120 Bay St at Central Ave; 718-876-0539) on your way back to the ferry.
If you can't hop the pond this summer, don't fret. There are plenty of Euro-inspired adventures to be had right here in New York. Start out with a frothy cappuccino at Italian paninoteca Via Quadronno (25 E 73rd St at Madison Ave; 212-650-9880, viaquadronno.com), where super-stylish UES Euros gather to schmooze. Once you're caffeinated, amble over to the Met to gawk at the Hellenic nudes in the revamped Greek and Roman Galleries (1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org; $20 suggested donation). Then fast-forward to 20th-century German and Austrian art at the intimate Neue Galerie (1048 Fifth Ave at 86th St; 212-628-6200, neuegalerie.org; $15). When afternoon fatigue sets in, treat yourself to a proper tea service at Tea & Sympathy (108 Greenwich Ave between 12th and 13th Sts; 212-989-9735, teaandsympathynewyork.com) where you can sip Earl Grey and nosh on English fare such as shepherd's pie and bangers and mash. If your tastes lean more Francophile than Anglophile, head to The Cloisters (Fort Tyron Park, 99 Margaret Corbin Dr; 212-923-3700. $20 suggested donation), whose wings house tapestries and stained-glass windows culled from five Gallic monasteries. Brooklyn-bound folk should head to Colson Patisserie (374 9th St at Sixth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-965-6400, colsonpastries.com), the Brooklyn outpost of the original Belgian bakery, for flaky croissants and fluffy quiche. Stick around the neighborhood for a round of Bocce at local watering hole Union Hall (702 Union St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-638-4400, unionhallnyc.com), or head north to Radegast Hall & Biergarten (113 North 3rd St at Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-963-3973, radegasthall.com) to feast on Bavarian fare and Austrian, Belgian and German draft beers. If you've still got energy to burn, groove to the pumping techno soundtrack at discotheque Club Europa (98 Meserole Ave between Lorimer St and Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-383-5723, europaclub.com), whose neon-lit dance floor is often crowded with Polish locals—that's how you know you're in the right place.
Exotic Staten Island
Your tour of the stepchild borough begins with a free walk guided by naturalist at Blue Heron Park (222 Poillon Ave between Amboy Rd and Hylan Blvd, Annadale; 718-967-3542, preserve2.org/blueheron/; Sat and Sun, 1-3pm; call in advance to confirm availability of naturalist). Then hit the counter at Nunzio's (2155 Hylan Blvd at Midland Ave; 718-667-9647) for a slice of pizza. If you want a whole pie, call in advance and they'll adjust the thickness of the crust to your liking. Once your sated, stake out a spot on South Beach (Father Capodanno Blvd at Sand Ln; 718-816-6804; take the S51 bus), and be grateful that the FDR boardwalk, the world's fourth largest, isn't as packed as Coney Island's. When you're on a staycation, cocktail hour starts whenever you want it to. Mosey over to the South Fin Grill (300 Father Capodanno Blvd; 718-447-7679, southfingrill.com) for drinks on the Ocean View deck, or nestle into a couch under the palm trees on the restaurant's back terrace, Deck Blue. Once you're tipsy, walk up the bench-lined path at Arthur von Briesen Park (Bay St and School Rd; nycgovparks.org; take S51 bus) for the breath-taking view of the Verrazano Bridge and Fort Wadsworth. Dinner is a tasty, no-frills affair at the New Asha Sri Lankan Restaurant (322 Victory Blvd at Cebra Ave; 718-420-0649, newasharestaurant.com). Place your order up front and you'll get paper plates heaped with cheap vegetable roti and chunks of chicken curry. To wind down, grab a drink and sink into a well-worn couch for some live music at The Cup (388 Van Duzer St at Beach St; 718-818-8100, muddycup.com), before heading back to reality via the ferry.
You can't call yourself a foodie in this town until you've crammed the staples under your belt—or down your gullet. A food tour will help you navigate: Cut the line at Grimaldi's and sample L&B Spumoni Gardens' Sicilian pie on the four-and-a-half-hour A Slice of Brooklyn bus tour (Fri--Mon 11am, $75; asliceofbrooklyn.com). Or eat like a turn-of-the-20th-century immigrant in Chinatown, Little Italy and the LES on Big Onion's Original Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour (Sun, 1pm, $20; bigonion.com), where you'll nosh on kosher sour pickles at the Pickle Guys and mozzarella from Di Palo's. On a Chinatown walking tour with Foods of New York (Mon noon, $65; foodsofny.com), you'll sample Hong Kong--style dumplings at Dim Sum Go Go and Peking duck with all the fixings at Peking Duck House. If you savor reality-TV food porn, reserve a spot on City Food Tours' tour of Top Chef (Fri & Sat 11am, $46.95; cityfoodtours.com) to sharpen your knife skills at Broadway Panhandler, nibble at host Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft and swing by Capitale, where the show's semifinals were held. Explore the American-Italian tradition by heading up to the Bronx's Arthur Avenue, where you can try the Mussolini sandwich (capocollo, fontinella cheese and anchovies; $7.25) from Mike's Deli (2344 Arthur Ave between Crescent Ave and 186th St; 718-295-5033), and sample one of eight types of mozzarella—try the dried Mantega stuffed with fresh butter. Stock up on gourmet groceries like fresh ravioli, cavatelle and egg noodles at Borgatti's (632 E 187th St between Belmont and Hughes Aves; 718-367-3799, borgattis.com), but leave room for a crisp, thin-crust slice ($3) from Full Moon Pizzeria (600 E 187th St at Arthur Ave; 718-584-3451). End your tour with a beer-themed tutorial at the Institute of Culinary Education (50 W 23rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-847-0700, iceculinary.com). You can learn the ins-and-outs of craft beer brewing at Beer 101 (Jul 9 & Aug 6, 2-9pm; $70) or take Hot Food, Cold Beer (Jun 19, 6-10:30pm; $110) and whip up spicy dishes like chipotle mashed potatoes and seared scallops with green curry and coconut milk. Wash it all down with an assortment of food-friendly beers, and then go home and sleep it off. The sooner you get to bed, the sooner you can wake up and start eating again.