Great walks: Olympics

The London 2012 Olympic Games won’t be the only things revving up your adrenaline after this sporty walk.

  • Nike Sportswear 21 Mercer

  • Photograph: Courtesy

    Downtown Boathouse

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Hudson R

    Hudson River Park

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Chelsea Piers history wall

  • Photograph: James Higgins


Nike Sportswear 21 Mercer

Even if you’re not going to the 2012 Olympic Games, you can get in medalworthy shape. Practice running, rowing and kayaking along the Hudson River, and treat yourself to a healthy snack to keep up your energy.

RECOMMENDED: See all Great Walks

Start: 21 Mercer St between Canal and Grand Sts
End: 215 W 28th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves
Time: 4.5 hours
Distance: 4.6 miles

Nike Sportswear 21 Mercer

New York may have lost its 2012 Olympics bid to London, but that doesn’t mean you have to cross the pond to test your athletic prowess. First, look the part: Cobble together a stylish workout ensemble at Nike Sportswear 21 Mercer (21 Mercer St between Canal and Grand Sts; 212-226-5433,, where you can snag the brand’s swoosh-emblazoned tees, track pants and jackets. Toward the end of the month, the store will stock podium-ready Team USA gear, too.

Downtown Boathouse

Show off your skills—or pick up a few new ones—at Pier 40 (West St at W Houston St; The recreational complex hosts dozens of community baseball and soccer teams, but if you’d rather bring your own crew, you can play a round on the tennis and basketball courts. The pier also serves as home base for kayaking programs run by the Downtown Boathouse (, which offers free walk-up rentals and lessons (times vary), and free community rowing sessions hosted by the Village Community Boathouse ( on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons (times vary).


After taking a break to enjoy the view of Lady Liberty, power-walk (or run) up the breezy waterside stretch of Hudson River Park (Battery Park City to 59th St at the West Side Hwy; The paths are usually teeming with hot bodies exercising while sunbathers laze on the adjacent lawns. Replenish with nutrient-enhanced smoothies, juices and snacks at Elixir Juice Bar inside the Chelsea Equinox (100 Tenth Ave at 17th St; 212-706-4310,

Chelsea Piers history wall

Continue your training session at the sprawling rec center at Chelsea Piers (Hudson River between 17th and 23rd Sts; 212-336-6666, For a little inspiration, inspect the History Wall between Piers 60 and 61; photomurals depict the 1936 USA Olympic team sailing to the Berlin Games from Chelsea Piers, as well as track-and-field star Jesse Owens’s return with four gold medals. Many of the Summer Olympic sports can be found at this athletic haven, including beach volleyball, sailing, swimming and gymnastics. Check the website for prices and schedules for your activity of choice; dabblers looking to sample a bit of everything can purchase a day pass for $60.


Congrats, champ—you’ve earned the right to carbo-load. End your journey at Smithfield (215 W 28th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-564-2172,, a three-floor pub that will show nonstop Olympic coverage from networks around the world. Cheer on your home country while satisfying your appetite with protein-packed menu items such as the surf-and-turf burger, a juicy Black Angus beef patty topped with Maine lobster ($14), and a medalworthy selection of American microbrews and international suds.

Also check out

Ping-Pong has been an Olympic sport since 1988, but donation-based community center PIPS (158 Roebling St between Grand St and Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-674-7706, goes beyond the usual smattering of table-tennis classes and tournaments with monthly exhibitions from emerging artists. (And hey, the pay-what-you-wish beers may even improve your game—or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.) Hone your paddle-wielding technique during open-play hours (daily 1pm–midnight) or sign up to spank the competition at one of the monthly tourneys (July 19 at 7pm; $10).

Originally built for the 1964 Olympic trials, the Kissena Velodrome (Kissena Park, Booth Memorial Ave and Parsons Blvd, East Flushing, Queens; continues to host high-speed bike races and club cycling. Take advantage of the classes and public track times when races are not in session; you’re also free to BYO bike.