Staycations from A (adventure) to S (sex)
21 classic in-town getaways for every mood.
Mon May 31 2010
Nowadays, Tiger Woods might not be your role model, but his swing is still something worth emulating. Start after work by warming up at Chelsea Piers (Pier 59, W 23rd St at the Hudson River; 212-336-6400, chelseapiers.com), whose range stays open until midnight. You can hit balls ($25 for 90) onto the pier from one of the self-teeing stalls—four tiers' worth, so the wait is rarely more than an hour—or get in a practice round on one of 51 full-swing simulated championship courses. When you're ready for the real deal, hop the Staten Island Ferry and head for LaTourette Park and Golf Course (1001 Richmond Hill Rd, Staten Island; 718-351-1889, nycgovparks.org; take S108 or S105 to S108), and spend the day at its three facilities. First, hit up the Nike Golf Learning Center for an hour-long private lesson ($90). Then take a pit stop at the LaTourette Grill Room (718-351-1889, ext 4) for typical bar food in a not-so-typical setting—the clubhouse is three stories tall and 170 years old. When it's tee time (see nycgovparks.org for info; visit nycteetimes.com for booking), head to LaTourette's course, which hosts the New York City Amateur Championship and stretches for more than 6,700 yards, with wide-open fairways but small, fast-moving greens that require accurate strokes. Squeeze in another round ($44 on weekends) at Van Cortlandt Golf Course (Van Cortlandt Ave South at Bailey Ave, Bronx; 718-543-3114, nycgovparks.org), the nation's first municipal links. It's crowded on weekends, so start early. Among the attributes here: two of the city's longest par-fives, gorgeous historic locker rooms, a cameo in Oliver Stone's Wall Street, and alumni such as Babe Ruth and the Three Stooges. Top off your weekend with a hearty meal at St. Andrew's (140 W 46th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-840-8413, standrewsnyc.com), named for Scotland's "home of golf." Wash down your haggis ($10.95) with a Belhaven Scottish Ale ($7) at the oversize oak bar, and then head home to dream of sprawling fairways and holes-in-one.
Uptown, opportunities abound for eating, strolling and getting down; head to Harlem and you'll see a side of NYC that most tourists never experience. Set the tone of the weekend with fried chicken and red velvet cake at Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too (547 Lenox Ave between 137th and 138th Sts; 212-690-3100, spoonbreadinc.com), a favorite with Harlem Hospital's doctors. Work off your midday meal with a turn through the visual arts gallery at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Lenox Ave at 135th St, 212-491-2200, nypl.org), one of the country's premier centers for research in African-American culture. To see how the locals live, pass the afternoon with Harlem Is Home Tours (212-658-9160, harlemonestop.com), whose guides will speed you around to various architectural neighborhoods including Strivers Row, with its wrought-iron appointed facades. Slip over to speakeasy 67 Orange Street (2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave] at 113th St; 212-662-2030, 67orangestreet.com), for old-fashioned cocktails, and then head to neighborhood institution Melba's (300 W 114th St at Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave]; 212-864-7777, melbasrestaurant.com) for soul food under antique chandeliers. Follow dinner with jazz and cheap drinks on "Sugar Hill" at St. Nick's Pub (773 St. Nicholas Ave between 149th and 150th Sts, 212-283-9728). If you refuse to go home, rest your head at The Harlem Landmark Guest House (437 W 147th St between Convent and St. Nicholas Aves; 646-261-5397, harlemlandmarkguesthouse.com; from $125), an inn that offers beautifully appointed rooms and a complimentary breakfast.
Get your digestive tract off to a good start with a meal at macrobiotic Souen (28 E 13th St between Fifth Ave and University Pl; 212-627-7150, souen.net), where you'll find whole grains and vegan-friendly fare. Walk off the food with a turn through the Union Square Greenmarket (16th to 17th St between Union Square East and West; 212-788-7476, grownyc.org) and browse farm-fresh ingredients among some of the city's top chefs. Then walk west to Laughing Lotus Yoga Center (59 W 19th St at Sixth Ave, third floor; 212-414-2903, laughinglotus.com), where Midnight Yoga takes place from 10pm to midnight every Friday ($16). If you're on a tight budget, try one of the vinyasa classes at Yoga to the People (12 St. Marks Pl between Second and Third Aves; 917-573-9642, yogatothepeople.com) where classes are pay-as-you-wish (Sat & Sun, 10am, noon, 2pm, 5pm, 7pm; 8:30pm candle-lit class on Sun). Now that your body's set, feed your pscyhe at East West Living (78 Fifth Ave between 13th and 14th Sts; 212-243-5994, eastwestnyc.com), which stocks over 30,000 books on spirituality, health and philosophy. Continue to furnish your new healthy lifestyle with raw foods, all-natural beauty products and organic cotton tees from Organic Avenue (116 Suffolk St between Rivington and Delancey Sts; 212-334-4593, organicavenue.com). In place of your usual Saturday hangover nap, take a break at Ayurveda's Beauty Care (99 University Pl between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-529-3300, ayurvedasbeautycare.com). We defy you to stay awake during the supremely relaxing 90-minute vedic facial ($130), which uses fruit and herbs in made-on-the-spot poultices. You never know: Your health-themed staycation may inspire an all-out lifestyle shift—or it may just make your next order of fries taste that much better.
Writing about Times Square, G.K. Chesterton proclaimed, "What a glorious garden of wonders this would be, to any who was lucky enough to be unable to read." Literate New Yorkers head elsewhere. In the afternoon, pretend you're lounging in the Tuileries at the shade-dappled outdoor Bryant Park Reading Room (42nd St side of park -between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org; May-September 11am-7pm). Then follow Library Walk, 96 bronze sidewalk plaques with quotes (41st St between Fifth and Park Aves), to the deluxe Library Hotel (299 Madison Ave at 41st St; 212-983-4500, libraryhotel.com), which has book-themed rooms organized according to the Dewey decimal system. Head to the rooftop Bookmarks Lounge to ponder the literary greats while you sip cocktails like the Truman Capote and the Great Gatsby. Take the 2 or 3 train to the NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Blvd [Lenox Ave], enter at 103 W 135th St; 212-491-2200, nypl.org), which has more than 10 million books, manuscripts and photos. Then drop by Harlem literary haunt the Hue-Man Bookstore and Caf (2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd [Eighth Ave] between 124th and 125th Sts; 212-665-7400, huemanbookstore.com). Members of the downtown literati convene over lattes at Housing Works Bookstore Caf (126 Crosby St between Houston and Prince Sts; 212-334-3324, housingworks.org), which hosts great events—and benefits homeless New Yorkers living with HIV. Low-lit KGB Bar (85 E 4th St between Bowery and Second Ave; 212-505-3360, kgbbar.com) attracts the whisky-swilling literary crowd and hosts regular readings and workshops. The nearby Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery between Bleecker and Houston Sts; 212-614-0505, bowerypoetry.com), is also a good bet for readings by touring authors and local up-and-comers. Finally, stop into White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson St at 11th St; 212-989-3956), where Dylan Thomas allegedly pounded 18 whiskeys before kicking the bucket. With that in mind, you might want to cut yourself off at 17.
Long Island bike trek
Pack your bags and prepare for a doozy of a ride: You're biking 100 miles to Greenport, at Long Island's eastern end. If you really go for it, you can do it in a day; for a lower-impact adventure, catch the LIRR (off-peak $16.75, plus $5 for bicycle permit, which you get by filling out a short form at Grand Central). Your arrival will also be your departure, as you'll catch a ten-minute ferry ($3, northferry.com) to secluded Shelter island. Check into the peaceful, turn-of-the-20th-century House on Chase Creek (3 Locust Ave at Meadow Pl; 631-749-4379, chasecreek.com) or the historic 1872 Chequit Inn (23 Grand Ave between Waverly Pl and Chase Ave; 631-749-0018, shelterislandinns.com/chequit/), where a cottage room costs less than $125 a night. Once settled, nab a map and, in lieu of a set ride, leisurely explore the bike-friendly, mostly flat 8,000-acre expanse. Pedal past Shelter Island Heights' Victorian homes, the marshy Mashomack Preserve (lock up before entering and hiking the bird sanctuary) and Crescent Beach, where you'll sip chilled local wine ($8--$14 a glass) at Andr Balazs's Sunset Beach restaurant (35 Shore Rd near Steams Point Rd; 631-749-2001, sunsetbeachli.com). As for grub, try the ocean-fresh lobster roll (market price, around $21) and hand-rolled pizza ($6) at Reddings Market (184 N Ferry Rd; 631-749-0003, reddingsmarket.com), or savor crispy duck confit and briny oysters at charming bistro Vine Street Caf (41 S Ferry Rd; 631-749-3210, vinestreetcafe.com). Treat yourself to the spot's daily special: You'll bike off the calories tomorrow.