Best Of Sports & Recreation
Best Bowling Lanes
Tourists and newbies might be dazzled by the Disney-fied charms of the neighboring Brooklyn Bowl, but locals know that The Gutter is the place to bowl in Williamsburg. Brought to you by the masterminds behind the Barcade franchise, the Gutter offers a massive main bar area with a Plexiglas window...
Best Miniature Golf
Putt Putt Park
When the Hudson Hotel launched Putt Putt Park, a pop-up mini-golf course atop its courtyard, this past spring, the only complaint was why it wasn't a permanent installation. The nine-hole course, which included the obligatory windmill and loop-the-loop, was open all April, priced at $10 a round, plus golf-themed snacks...
Best Public Tennis Courts
Riverside Clay Tennis Association
It's a schlep from the train, you generally have to wait for a court, and the only bathroom is a porta-potty. But the ten public courts in Riverside Park, painstakingly maintained by the nonprofit Riverside Clay Tennis Association, are worth the hassle. They sit on a glorious patch overlooking the...
Best Place to Run
Pelham Bay Park
Pelham Bay Park feels nothing like most of New York City — and it almost isn't. The vast green space, three times the size of Central Park, inhabits the far northeast corner of the Bronx. For runners coming from other boroughs, the journey is rewarded with a stunning variety of...
Best Place to Bike
Shore Parkway Greenway
We're lucky to roll deep in bike paths and parks in New York City, but extended rides along uncongested greenways can be hard to come by. Your best bet is to head out to the Shore Park Greenway, a two-segment, twelve-mile span of south Brooklyn that offers views of the...
Best Urban Bike Ride
Second Avenue Bike Lane
Thanks to scads of bike lanes and urban greenways, cycling may be the best way to get around New York City — it's often faster than both public transportation and the traffic-jammed streets. It's also a good strategy for getting oriented in our metropolis. The possibilities for urban bike rides...
Best Place to Walk
Given how prominent a role it has in many a New Yorker's travel schedule, the Williamsburg Bridge may seem like a pedantic answer to the question, "Where's the best place to walk in New York City?" But enjoy the experience on a nice night with light traffic, and you'll be...
Best Ice Rink
A giant concrete pit carved into the bedrock of extreme-north Central Park, Lasker Rink is one big pool in summer and two separate mini-rinks come winter, typically with one side reserved for hockey: pickup, stick-time, the occasional four-on-four beer-league showdown. The sub-NHL-regulation size encourages a sort of cheerful laxity among...
Best Place to Play Bocce
There's something about Governors Island that lends itself to lawn sports. Maybe it's the remote location and the historic buildings, but more likely it's the beautiful, oak-lined swards. Governors Island has a long history of stickball and croquet, and when the 172-acre land mass was opened to tourists in 2003...
Best Yoga Class
Metal Yoga Bones
In this yoga class, we don't hold poses, we "feel their hellish fire creeping into our bones." We don't rest in Savasana, we rest in peace in Corpse Pose. At Saskia Thode's Metal Yoga Bones, you're more likely to see jeans than spandex, leather than Lululemon. The generously inked German...
In an era of big-box gyms and boutique fitness studios, Ludlow Fitness is the gym you wish you had in your neighborhood — or, if you live on the Lower East Side, the gym you're pleased to support. Watch the pedestrian traffic on Delancey from a treadmill next to the...
Best Sporting Goods Store
Tent and Trails
There are several options for big sporting-goods stores in the city, and if you're looking for a baseball glove or a set of resistance bands, we don't have to tell you how to find the nearest supply. You'd never mistake Tent and Trails in Tribeca for a Dick's, Modell's, or...
Best Skateboard Shop
As skateboarding has become more and more mainstream, it's encouraging to know that an element of the underground still exists in the sport. The skate shop keeping that subversive aura alive in New York City cannot be easily found at a storefront in Lower Manhattan, or a warehouse in Brooklyn,...
Best Sports Bar (Manhattan)
Yeah, $20 might be a bit much for barbecued brisket, but come on a Thursday and you can get it for $10. Prefer the fish tacos? They're less than $9 on a Wednesday. Duke's generous specials — a different entrée is half off every day of the week, and happy...
Best Sports Bar (Not in Manhattan)
Keg & Lantern Brewing Company
With its cavernous space, reserved atmosphere, lambent lighting, and smooth wooden tables, Keg & Lantern is just about the furthest thing from a frat-style sports bar. The clientele — a mix of Polish speakers, Greenpoint residents, and young professionals hopping between boroughs — is unique and congenial; intent, play-by-play sports...
Best Soccer Bar
Over the past few years, the insides of many New York bars on weekend mornings have come to resemble all the other bars on a Friday night. Then you look closer. Two out of every three people are wearing jerseys. Most of them are dudes. People break out into song...
Best Sports Bargain
There is a genuine fear that sports tickets, like so much else in America, have become luxury items reserved for the corporate class. Nonetheless, most nights it's possible to enter Yankee Stadium — the mother ship of avaricious athletic juggernauts — for less than $25. Even with this year's team...
Best City Park (Large)
Brooklyn Bridge Park
A great city park provides a place to relax and unwind, yet maintains the excitement, industrial charm, and topnotch people-watching of the actual city. Brooklyn Bridge Park possesses these qualities in near-perfect measure. The DUMBO oasis offers one of the world's best skyline views, which can be enjoyed all along...
Best City Park (Small)
The narrow strip of green that makes up Riverside Park may follow the grid, but it feels worlds away. Its picturesque, lamp-lined walkways are the ideal site for a long stroll or leisurely bench read, especially in the fall when the foliage is ripe. Like Central Park if 97 percent...
Best Dog Park
Madison Square Park Dog Run
Like you, we never pass up enrichment opportunities for our pups. So there's no better place for Fido to frolic than in the Madison Square Park Dog Run, where hounds catch a rotating selection of top-drawer art installations while chasing the squirrels (who, themselves quite sophisticated, gravitate to fenced-in areas)...
Best Picnic Spot
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A picnic is just taking food from one place to a different place. Central Park, Prospect Park, the High Line — all of these are great places to picnic, and fairly obvious. Heck, you can have a picnic every morning on the subway. (Many people do.) But if you want...
Best Day Trip
Donald Trump declared the place dead, and that may be almost true. Atlantic City has seen better days. But there's nothing like AC for sheer gritty weirdness and shabby, faded glory. A Voice writer recently witnessed, in the space of little more than an hour, a casino security guard fighting...
Best Place to Hike
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
New York City isn't the best place to live if you're keen on hiking. There are schlep-up-a-mountain-and-check-out-the-view day trips, but they tend to be crowded; if you've had the idea on a nice Sunday morning, then approximately 1 million other New Yorkers have, too. The Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, a...
Best Place to Pretend You're Not in New York City
It was once a Mafia dumping ground, then a kind of Wild West of the East — the kind of place where a guy in cowboy garb might ride by. On a horse. In Brooklyn. The Hole, a five-block expanse between Linden and Conduit boulevards, on the border of Brooklyn...
Best Place to Get Lost in the Woods
Highbridge Park made the news in June 2015 when it reopened the long-shuttered pedestrian/bike bridge that arcs across the Harlem River to the Bronx. But what's often overlooked about one of the city's oddest parks — stretched out, as it is, in a long thread along the river — is...
The most peaceful of all of New York City's beaches is located in its largest park, which makes the place feel as though it isn't in the city at all. The long journey on public transit is worth it. Orchard Beach is on the far side of Pelham Bay Park,...
Best Weekend Getaway
Three hours on Interstate 87 will land you in Saratoga Springs, a town especially famous for its racetrack, which even has a cameo in the iconic Carly Simon single "You're So Vain." Simon's suave ex-lover's horse naturally won, of course, but even if you don't bet, visiting the track during...
Best Place to Bird-Watch
Great Kills Park
Great Kills Park requires a bit of a time commitment — it's located on the southern shore of Staten Island — but if it's birds you seek, the trip to this marshy, 580-acre preserve will be well worth your while. "Great Kills Park is a unique example of urban reclamation,"...
Best Major League Sports Venue
Does it bug you that the Shake Shack at Citi Field doesn't offer the full menu? Us too. Then again it really shouldn't: If you're there, you're only a few steps from Blue Smoke BBQ — the best grub you can find at any New York City sporting venue —...
Best Sports Broadcast Personality
Walt "Clyde" Frazier
After Walt "Clyde" Frazier retired from basketball, the Hall of Famer found a second career in the broadcast booth, first with TBS in his hometown of Atlanta and later here in New York with the franchise he'd helped lead to its only two NBA championships. Amid the Knicks' dismal showings...
Best Mets Player
Noah Syndergaard might throw the hardest, and Matt Harvey is still the biggest name, but Jacob deGrom is the New York Mets' ace. Called up to the bullpen in mid-May last year then pressed into starting due to an injury-depleted staff, deGrom emerged as the National League Rookie of the...
Best Yankees Player
In retrospect, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that a player who had an extra season's worth of time to get in shape, heal his bones, and relax his muscles is playing better than he has in years. Perhaps more important than the extra time, Alex Rodriguez has always had incredible...
Best Giants Player
Odell Beckham Jr.
To call OBJ (don't call him ODB) the best player on the New York Giants is a vast understatement. Odell Beckham Jr. is the most electric athlete to represent the five boroughs in a generation. He captured national attention (and an ESPY award) with his acrobatic, one-handed grab against the...
Best Jets Player
It takes a special kind of player to sign a fat contract with an awful team, but Darrelle Revis is experienced in that area. In 2013 the elite NFL cornerback signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team he'd played his entire career for...
Best Rangers Player
He doesn't have the rare inborn talent of a Rick Nash. He isn't possessed of Henrik Lundqvist's Scandinavian sangfroid. He's not defensive anchor and captain Ryan McDonagh. No, what sets Chris Kreider apart is what the old-timers call grit. Because all he has done since coming up to the Show...
Best Islanders Player
Call it the "Best Islanders Player Whose Name Is Not John Tavares." Or maybe the "Not Necessarily Quote-Unquote Best Islander But Possibly Quietly the Most Important One." There's nothing sexy about this choice, particularly when you consider the context for it: This is the year the Isles decamp to Brooklyn,...
Best Devils Player
What do you think of when you think of the New Jersey Devils? Nothing flattering, probably. Recent history has offered troubling issues regarding financial solvency, to say nothing of on-ice performance: The team hasn't reached the postseason since 2012, and has since looked more like a retirement home for Eastern...
Best Liberty Player
There was no better player on the New York Liberty roster this year than Tina Charles, a fact coach Bill Laimbeer recognized early on. After the team finished a disappointing 15–19 and missed the playoffs last season, Laimbeer built the Liberty around the team's most valuable player — and the...
Best Nets Player
It was an up-and-down first half of the season for Brook Lopez last year, when the Brooklyn Nets center battled a foot injury and lost his starting spot. But the undeterred Lopez turned it around in late February to become the best player on the Nets' playoff-bound squad. After averaging...
Best Knicks Player
Being called the best player on a crappy team is something of a backhanded compliment. But after trading J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland last season and parting ways with the aging Amar'e Stoudemire back in February, the New York Knicks have made it clear: Carmelo Anthony is not...
Best Red Bulls Player
Our favorite Red Bulls soccer star to watch changes a few times each season, but our eyes remain glued to the magic feet of Long Island native Mike Grella. During a game in May, Grella danced around two befuddled Philadelphia Union defenders, advancing from the corner and into the box...
Best NYC FC Player
Time isn't on the side of NYC FC, the star-studded MLS expansion team that plays at Yankee Stadium. Andrea Pirlo, the Italian maestro who's a dead ringer for the Most Interesting Man in the World, is 36. Frank Lampard, the former Premier League midfielder, is 37. David Villa, who at...
New York Mets acquire Yoenis Céspedes
A week before the July 31 trading deadline, the New York Mets were hovering around .500, losing ground almost daily to the National League East–leading Washington Nationals. They had the senior circuit's worst offense, averaging just over three runs a game. One night they started John Mayberry Jr. and Eric...
Best Athlete's Name
When Sir'Dominic Pointer played his final basketball game at St. John's University's Carnesecca Arena this year, the Red Storm lost perhaps their greatest name since the Artest Formerly Known as Ron. Fear not. Like Artest, Pointer was more than just a catchy cognomen. (In his senior year, in fact, he...
Best Athlete's Butt
How do you say "nice ass" in French? Fans of NYC's losingest basketball team will know from beau cul come fall, when French Guiana–born power forward Kevin Séraphin dons his orange-and-blue No. 1 jersey in his debut with Melo's squad. Late of the Washington Wizards, the 25-year-old Séraphin gave that...