Tue Aug 26 2008
What: New York Manhattan Rugby Club, the oldest rugby club in the country (212-969-8777, newyorkrugby.com)
Where: Pier 40 at Houston St and the West Side Highway
When: Practice takes place every Tuesday and Thursday (around 7pm), and fall matches are every Saturday from September 13 through October 25.
Isn’t rugby, like, really dangerous? Nah. “Despite the intensity of the sport and players’ reliance on little to no padding, there are misconceptions,” says NYRC vice president Ed Brydon, 31, of the Upper East Side. “We invite big guys to play all the time; they balk and say ‘No man, I’d like to keep my teeth.’ After 22 years of playing, I still have all my teeth.”
But what if I’ve never played before? No problem, says Brydon. NYRC welcomes men and women of all skill and experience levels.
So where does the drinking enter the picture? Ruggers drink hard and fast; if you’re looking for a spot to watch the sport (and meet some local players), both Brydon and social chair Cody Eckstein, 27, of the Lower East Side, recommend Baker Street (1152 First Ave at 63rd St, 212-688-9663). Or just wait for the party to come to you. “Last spring we had a game at McCarren Park,” says Eckstein. “I organized a Williamsburg bar crawl for after. It was raining like hell and got pretty sloppy. The hipsters were horrified.”