Hooky for a Day

If the stagnant air and vapid egos that can turn the office into a claustrophobic den have you reaching for that potion of hemlock, resist. Instead, hie thee to Socrates Sculpture Park: By the East River lie four and a half acres of breeze, sun, water, sand, and artworks that stand tall in (or fall short of) the imagination. Wander in and contemplate these aesthetic signifiers against Manhattan's still-splendid, still-defiant skyline. Unwind as you listen to hints of sensual music. Daydream; engage in a tai chi, yoga, or painting class; or watch a film on an outdoor screen, if it's a Wednesday, or on a tugboat cum floating screen if it's Friday. Broadway at Vernon Boulevard, Queens, 718-956-1819. (Francia)

Throw me a line: go fish at Prospect Park lake.
Photographs by Kate Lacey
Throw me a line: go fish at Prospect Park lake.

Every summer, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center transforms its dusty outdoor courtyard into a sparkling urban oasis. Last year, glistening pools of water and breezy walls of fans cooled the hipster masses that routinely lined the block for the museum's Saturday-afternoon Warm Up DJ series. Never has Queens been home to so many cutting-edge hairdos! This season heralds Playa Urbana/ Urban Beach, architect William E. Massie's billowy shade refuge, as well as West Coast house DJ Doc Martin (July 13) and the breaks of King Size Records' Chicken Lips (August 24). 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens, 718-784-2084, www.ps1.org. (Spartos)

Wu-wei on the MTA? Try this—it actually works: Call in sick, stay home, drink a bottle of bourbon, pop some Valium . . . no, no, just kidding. Let's try this again: Call in sick (make sure it's a beautiful day), go into Manhattan, pick a subway, ride a few stops, don't pay attention to where you're going, randomly get off the train, ideally somewhere you are unfamiliar with. Try to maintain a playful, positive attitude. Now with your open and ludic "anything can happen today, damn it!" magical mantra in tow—wander! Attempting to maintain this state of awareness and frolicking spirit, get on another train and start all over; see what happens—I dare you. (Bosler)

Why let the tourists and commuters have all the fun, when the Staten Island Ferry is so damn free? Grab the N/R to Whitehall Street, hop off, and take a round-trip cruise, sans game-show victory. Time it right and you can watch the sun set over Gotham, glinting off her buildings, fading on her many people. Smaller-scale aquatics are found at Central Park Lake (located mid-park from 71st to 78th streets). The Loeb Boathouse (East 72nd Street and Park Drive, 517-3623), open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., offers a $10 rowboat hour—that's $5 (plus deposit) each for a pair of friends/lovers/co-workers on lunch break, etc., or—as the boats can accommodate up to four enthusiasts—a measly $2.50 contribution per person. And 22 acres of lake for the rowin'! (Peretti)

Ahhh, golf: Trekking over 6000 yards while lugging at least 20 pounds—not including the canned beer—in the sweltering summer sun. This season evade heatstroke and feel like a pro at the pitch-and-putt golf course ($10) in Flushing Meadows Golf Center, where the longest hole is 80 yards, the course is lit until 1 a.m., and all you need is a wedge and a putter. While you wait your turn, enjoy a $6.50 pitcher of Bud or a round of mini-golf ($6.50) in the cool breeze of summer nights. It's no Augusta, but at least here you can reach every green in one. Go Tiger! Club rental and golf balls are $1 each. Flushing Meadows Golf Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, 718-271-8182. (Kim)

Besides being one of the most technically punk, ethnically diverse, and geographically surreal freshwater fishing destinations in North America, Prospect Park Lake is a sporty little joint for bass, crappie, panfish, and even the occasional lunker carp. The 50-acre lake's weedy structure and variegated shoreline can make for especially suspenseful and action-packed largemouth-bass fishing. These fish will often ambush rubber jigs, minnows, and worms with Southern-state fury (despite the flurry of ambulance sirens and UniverSoul Circus hoopla blasting from the p.a. across the lake). 95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718-965-8900. (Zimmerman)

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