The Hunger Games Guide to NYC
From archery to facial ink, get a taste of Panem right here in Gotham.
Series heroine Katniss Everdeen is a self-taught master of the bow and arrow, but you can learn the technique faster if you take one of the archery classes offered by the Urban Park Rangers. There’s an official archery field at Willowbrook Park (Eaton Pl at Richmond Ave, Staten Island; 718-967-3524, nycgovparks.org/parks/willowbrookpark; Apr 15, May 6 at 11am; free), and the rangers also set up courses in green spaces around the five boroughs, including Inwood Hill Park (W 218th St and Indian Rd, 212-304-2365; Apr 14 at 2pm; free). All equipment is provided, and the classes are family-friendly—you’re aiming for a wooden-post target, after all, not wild game. “Don’t expect to be shooting to hunt,” reiterates Richard Simon, the deputy director of the Urban Park Rangers. May the odds of hitting the bull’s-eye be ever in your favor. Visit nyc.gov/parks/rangers for a complete list of archery programs.
New York Sports Club trainer Eric Salvador is something of a Gamemaker: The former Marine created the gym’s Train Like a Tribute class (151 E 86th St at Lexington Ave; 212-860-8630, mysportsclubs.com; Tue noon; free; Mar 24–Apr 24), which combines intense cardio with weight-lifting exercises and doubles as a contest between participants. The session is created as a circuit, not unlike the punishing program devised for the tributes in the arena. While the latter involved hallucinogenic stings from tracker jackers—that our own Mockingjay used to win the Games with Peeta—Salvador’s idea of random disasters are only taxing on your muscles: He’s devised moved like “Peeta Presses” (working your biceps and back with dumbbells) and “Foxface Quick Feet” (dropping quickly into a push-up).
Some of District 12’s residents are able to fend off starvation by shopping at the Hob, a former coal warehouse turned black market where Katniss and her friend Gale sell their fresh kills to Greasy Sae. Your own palette might be a bit more elegant than that of a kid from the Seam—who wouldn’t turn his nose up at a stew of mouse and squirrel—so stop by Essex Street Market (120 Essex St at Delancy St; 212-388-0449, essexstreetmarket.com; Mon–Sat 8am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm) to sample tasty items from more than 20 independent merchants, including Shopsin’s General Store (shopsins.com) and Essex Farm Fruits & Vegetables (212-533-5609).
When they were children, Peeta stole bread from his family’s bakery and gave it to Katniss to bring home to her starving mother and sister; it was the first of many occasions when he would step in to save her life. At Almondine Bakery (442 9th St at Seventh Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-832-4607 • 85 Water St between Dock and Main Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-797-5026, almondinebakery.com), however, chef Hervé Poussot whips up gorgeous pâtisserie good enough to serve at one of the swank tribute dinners held in the Capitol. Savor the bakery’s namesake treat ($4.50), a flourless cake with chocolate mousse and praline crème, or grab a plain French baguette ($2.75) to eat on the run, Katniss-style. (It would probably go great with lamb stew with plums.)
Ask Corvette Hunt, the co-owner of motorcycle shop turned hair salon-tattoo parlor Graceland (677 Lorimer St between Frost and Meeker St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-384-7677), to twist your hair into an intricate braid (similar to the plaits that Katniss’s mother created before the reaping). You can also book a consultation with one of Graceland’s five skilled tattoo artists; prices vary depending on the size and time required for your ink, but it’s a minimum of $200 per hour. Venia, the aqua-haired member of Katniss’s prep team, would probably ask for a touch-up on her gold facial ink—but we’ll let you mull over the extremity of your request.
You may not want to seek out plastic surgery to implant gemstones under your skin, or dye your body a shade of pea-green, but you can still mimic the style-obsessed, aristocratic citizens of the Capitol at Make Up For Ever (8 E 12th St between University Pl and Fifth Ave; 212-941-9337, makeupforever.com). The shop offers a number of makeup classes on weekends—seminars include everything from how to create a smoky eye to body painting and applying fantasy makeup (times vary; $95–$120 ; visit makeupforeverpro.com for more info). Store artists can also give you a makeover by appointment, free with a $60 product purchase, but if you’d rather start off slowly, just stop by to test out the Aqua Cream waterproof eye shadow ($22) or the Wet Make-Up ($28), a color cake activated with water that can be applied to the face or body. You’ll be channeling the sensitive, artistic vibes of master stylistCinna in no time.
Katniss and Gale fashioned a safe haven for themselves in the woods just beyond the fences of District 12. At the New York Botanical Garden (Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, the Bronx; 718-817-8700, nybg.org; Tue–Sun 10am–6pm; $20, seniors and students $18, children 2–12 $8, children under 2 free), you can enjoy the sylvan glories of the Forest, a 50-acre remnant of the woodlands that once covered most of New York City. Explore the area on a docent-led tour through the grounds, or attend one of the Bird Walks (Saturdays at 11am, Sep–Jun; meet at the Reflecting Pool)—though you won’t see any mockingjays, you may spot great horned owls and blue jays.
He may not be an actual winged animal, but moody multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has a voice—and an impressive whistling ability—that the musically-inclined tribute Rue would surely appreciate. Bird performs at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway at 74th St; 212-465-6500, beacontheatre.com; May 4, 5 at 8pm; $40–$45) next month; but if you can’t catch him live, pick up a copy of his latest full-length, Break It Yourself. The album will break your heart in all the right places, especially after you reread the scene where Katniss does Rue’s district proud by honoring the young girl’s death.
Since it goes without saying that you’ve read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay several times over, expand your literary horizons with more books about brutal teenage violence set in totalitarian states. Look for a copy of Koushun Takami’s Japanese novel Battle Royale ($17) at Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton St at South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-246-0200, greenlightbookstore.com). In the story, junior high students fight to the death on a deserted island. (A film adaptation was also produced in 2000). Some Takami diehards scoff at all the Katniss fuss, considering this novel was published nearly ten years before Suzanne Collins’ best-selling series, but let’s keep it real: William Golding’s award-winning novel, Lord of the Flies, was got there first in 1954. Refresh yourself and give that classic another read, too.