Sports & Recreation

  • Best place to get your hands dirty

    Greenwich House Pottery

    After work, slap on an apron and connect with your inner child, the one that used to dig holes in the backyard and cook up a mud pie. Greenwich House Pottery has garbage cans full of the stuff, only there they call it clay. The pottery studio has been an institution in the West Village since 1909, offering sculpture and… More >>
  • Best free yoga

    Yoga to the People

    It's a small studio in the heart of the East Village, cozy in every way—the brick and dark wood décor, the collective heat built up by 50 moving bodies. Yoga to the People (YTTP) brings back the principles that yoga started with before it became a big craze, costing on average per hour as much as a three-star meal. YTTP… More >>
  • Best way to get over your fear of heights

    Trapeze School

    Climb up a 23-foot-tall ladder and step onto a platform, grab the monkey bar, look down at the porous net that's supposed to catch you, feel your knees get weak as you imagine falling through, hold tight and jump despite the shortness of breath. Swing through the air like a chimpanzee and let that humid Hudson air roll over your… More >>
  • Best Yankee

    A-Rod

    After a shaky 2006, at least by his lofty standards, A-Rod has emerged once again as not only the best player in town, but probably in the sport and maybe of all time. And all it took was for him to finally be himself. In other words, an asshole. First he confessed that, alas, it's true, he and Yankee heartthrob… More >>
  • Best public tennis court

    Crotona Park

    The obvious choice here might seem to be Riverside Park with its 10 well-maintained red clay courts; it's generally considered caviar to dirty water dogs when it comes to city courts. But the crowds and one-hour limit can be as annoying as playing at John J. Carty Playground in Bay Ridge, perhaps the city's worst. (Not only do you have… More >>
  • Best place to ensure your date can't escape

    Central Park Lake

    Ah, there's nothing more romantic than taking your sweetie rowing on the lake in Central Park. Picture it: the swans, the sparkling blue-green water (OK, mostly green), and your lovely date, listening to your every word so attentively because, well, there's nowhere else he can go. Offer to take the oars and row out to the middle with all the… More >>
  • City's best boxing hope

    Danny Jacobs

    It's been a while since the city has seen a homegrown, all-world-caliber boxer on the order of a Mike Tyson or Riddick Bowe. Though the sport is rumored to be dying a slow death, there is one last hope: Danny Jacobs, 20, won his fourth straight city Golden Gloves title this past April and is looking to represent the United… More >>
  • Best place for Trees 101

    Native Flora Garden

    The skyward persimmon tree looks to be made from thousands of tiny blocks stacked together, the sprawling black cherry like something that came off the ark way before Evan Almighty. If you're aiming to learn your New York trees, those two are easy pickings at the Native Flora Garden, an obscure loop on the western edge of the Brooklyn Botanic… More >>
  • Best place to do the right thing

    Fort Greene Park

    Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed it, but real estate prices made Fort Greene Park the proving ground it is today. Here, you'll find families of every ethnic stripe gutting out the neighborhood's transition from middle-class black enclave to a more mixed slice of brownstone Brooklyn. Parents choose between eyeing one another suspiciously and making friends as their tots… More >>
  • Best bike route still to come

    Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway

    There's a reason that outfits like Corcoran, Thor Equities, and Prudential Douglas Elliman open their wallets for the proposed Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. For them, 14 miles of car-free bike path along the East River could deliver a crush of renters and condo-buyers to neighborhoods otherwise hard to reach. The rest of us proles will still be able to enjoy the… More >>
  • Best reason to take up gardening

    Trees Not Trash

    Bushwick was originally named Boswijick, or "town in the woods," by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. Sadly, it seems the only vegetation thriving in the industrial neighborhood these days are the thick weeds growing around the area's several abandoned lots. The kindly green thumbs of Trees Not Trash, a local beautification project, are changing that. Since the organization started… More >>
  • Best baseball-fan argument

    Jose Reyes

    Watching Jose Reyes turn a bloop single into a death-defying, speed-limit-violating, inside-the-park home run on a lazy July Sunday afternoon at Shea, the enthralled crowd drowning out the jet engines roaring overhead, it's easy to conclude that the balance of power has permanently shifted. A new shortstop sheriff in town, etc. Jose is younger, faster, smilier. His team has fared… More >>
  • Best leisurely summertime walk

    Hudson River Park

    When all your friends are trekking three hours to their overpriced summertime shares in the Hamptons, and it's 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity here, cool off by walking near the water off the Hudson River. Starting at either West 14th Street or West Fourth Street, the West Side Highway path (officially known as the Hudson River Park), which stretches… More >>
  • Best place to stalk other people's puppies

    Dog Run in Tompkins Square Park

    The Dog Run in Tompkins Square Park has something for everyone: itty, bitty baby Chihuahaus who can barely stand on their widdle paws; big, rowdy pit bulls and German shepherds who roughhouse for hours; and lumbering, heavy-breathing bulldogs who just want some lovin'. The Tompkins Square run was the very first dog run opened in New York and so is… More >>
  • Best place to pretend you're in Mother Russia

    Sandoony USA

    If you're looking to re-create that special Moscow experience (and by that I mean drinking vodka in the sweltering heat just after getting a beatdown from a large, hairy Russian man), try Sandoony USA, a Russian bathhouse underneath the F train in Midwood. After handing over your valuables to a large man at the front desk, proceed to the changing… More >>
  • Best bridge for lawless cyclists

    Triborough

    For hardcore cyclists who are bored with the tried-and-true beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Triborough can provide all sorts of new challenges. Although the signs tell cyclists to walk their bikes over the bridges (there are actually three), it's probably safer to ride. On a bike, after all, it's easier to get away from the crackheads and heroin addicts… More >>
  • Best steam room

    QT Hotel

    The worst part about sitting in a steam room is seeing unsightly, naked bodies splayed out before you. It's hard enough to breath without having to deal with the ghastly view compliments of your reclining neighbor. That's why QT Hotel's 24-hour, red-tiled steam room is the place to be. What it lacks in size (it's only about the width of… More >>
  • Best dance studio without the attitude

    Embora Wellness and Movement Studio - CLOSED

    It's rare to find a dance studio that doesn't make most people (even some seasoned performers) want to cringe from the competitive "So you think you can dance" vibe that abounds. That's why Embora Wellness and Movement Studio is so special: Every visit feels like you're going to spend time with family. Perhaps it's because they focus on healing and… More >>
  • Best public place to feel up your girlfriend

    Christopher Street Pier

    Everyone likes to make out in public now and again, but for lesbians, just holding hands garners sleazy stares that makes any small act of affection seem more like a preview for a soft-porn flick on Cinemax. The always gay Christopher Street Pier in Hudson River Park provides queer teens (and adults who don't mind their noisy antics) with… More >>
  • Best sun deck at a gym

    New York Health and Racket

    The average gym can be so depressing: It smells all sweaty, it's noisy and dim—you're lucky if you can find a few meager rays of sunlight. New York Health and Racket in Chelsea has a rooftop sun deck that's not only big enough for you and a number of friends to hang out and tan au naturel; it's also… More >>
  • Best bike lane (if only it were longer)

    Bike Lane on Lower Eighth Avenue

    Behold, cyclists of New York, a vision of your new green city. With five feet of travel space shielded by a five-foot buffer zone, the bike lane on lower Eighth Avenue offers plenty of room for everyone—you, the messenger who just zipped past, the lunatic pedaling against traffic, the dad with the stroller trying to hail a cab, and the… More >>
  • Best hubris

    Jose Reyes

    For most of this season, the Mets' bubbly Jose Reyes was the team's most aggressive celebrant—ask outfielder Shawn Green who led the pummeling at home plate after Green hit a mid-season game winner. But it was in the dugout where Reyes starred as the team's showiest of show-business men. Watching him with slugger Carlos Delgado after a sweet play, and… More >>
  • Best worst national park

    Gateway National Recreation Area

    This past spring, the Gateway National Recreation Area was rated the country's worst national park of 28 rated by the National Parks Conservation Association. It's a bad rap—I mean, whaddaya want from a park that abuts Brooklyn, Queens, and JFK? Gateway's 26,000 acres include Jamaica Bay, Jacob Riis Park, and Fort Tilden on the Rockaways, three little spots on Staten… More >>
  • Best basketball team in Brooklyn

    Abraham Lincoln High

    Abraham Lincoln High, smack dab on Ocean Parkway, finished last spring as the third-best high-school team in New York and New Jersey and the highest-ranking New York City school. That's nothing new. The school boast such alums as Stephon Marbury and his cousin Sebastian Telfair, not to mention the best basketball announcer, Marv Albert.… More >>
  • Best basketball team almost in Brooklyn

    New Jersey Nets

    If the brilliant, but aging, Jason Kidd can just last until the tip-off of the NBA's 2009-10 season, the team still known as the New Jersey Nets will not become the Brooklyn Bums. They'll be the first major-league franchise in Brooklyn since the sad year of 1957, when the Dodgers fled west. Pro-sports franchises aren't the saviors of cities, and… More >>
  • Best excuse for a basketball team

    New York Knicks

    Under Larry Brown, the New York Knicks were bad, and they looked bad. They were still bad last season, and the acquisition of troubled forward Zach Randolph may not lift them in the standings. But at least the Knicks are an energetic team. Last season's draft selection of Renaldo Balkman brought out the boo birds, but the guy hustles, and… More >>
  • Best pickup soccer game

    near Tavern on the Green

    Well, it may not be the best in terms of skill, but the never-ending game near Tavern on the Green in Central Park is probably the most entertaining of diversions in a city where soccer has increasingly become the game of the masses. Witness the hilarious sight of shirtless, grunting, semi-fit men sliding on the concrete-hard dirt, shooting up great… More >>
  • Best spot for pickup basketball for kids

    The North Meadow Recreation Center

    The North Meadow Recreation Center is a little-known spot tucked into a small rise about halfway into Central Park nearest to 97th Street. Next to a small brick building once used as stables are three kid-sized courts, perfect for any aspiring McGradys, Yaos, and Steve Nashes to hone their hoop skills without having to run the full 90 feet of… More >>
  • Best free outing

    Staten Island Ferry

    Sure, it's old, obvious, slow by cigar-boat standards, stodgy, and very, very orange—but seriously, can you name a free ride that's as much fun as the Staten Island Ferry? You get sweeping views of New York Harbor, a postcard-worthy perspective on the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, encounters with container ships from far-off locales, and even… More >>
  • Best sails event

    Classic Harbor Line

    Herman Melville's Moby-Dick opens (more or less) with the following pronouncement: "Some years ago­—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little. . . . It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation." Now… More >>
  • Best taxi ride

    New York Water Taxi

    Imagine a taxi ride free of drivers' cell-phone conversations and Arabic pop music, a ride without the need to question the route or glance at the escalating numbers on the meter, a ride where you never had to contend with any traffic or decrepit shock absorbers or broken seat belts. And the salt spray—well, that's simply a bonus. For a… More >>
  • Best clubbing

    Breezy Point Pitch and Putt

    Mark Twain famously pronounced golf "a good walk spoiled." But the customers at the Breezy Point Pitch and Putt have found a fine way to enjoy their 18-hole stroll, a way even Mark Twain might have approved of. The off-duty cops who favor the course ignore pastel shades, argyle sweaters, and silly hats. They accessorize instead with wheeled coolers, which… More >>
  • Best place to ogle pregnant women and not feel bad about yourself

    Expecting Models

    In 2000, Liza Elliott-Ramirez was determined not to let pregnancy stop her modeling career (even doing a shoot on her due date) and decided to give the same opportunity to her sistren, opening Expecting Models later that year. Since then, she's opened a second office in L.A., corralled clients like the Gap, Bloomingdale's, and Target, and maintains a group of… More >>
  • Best place to creep out retail employees by shopping for do-it-yourself bondage

    Home Depot

    Chains, locks, electrical tape . . . No, it's not a BDSM store; it's the Chelsea Home Depot. Getting tied up can be a wonderful thing, but it shouldn't have to be expensive. So why spend sex-shop prices for your basic bondage needs ($30 dollars for a piece of nylon rope? $45 dollars for two feet of chain with… More >>
  • Best anatomically correct lollipops

    Pink Pussycat Boutique

    You know how it is: Some days you crave sugar. Some days you crave cock. And some days your cravings join forces and you just have to have a giant lollipop shaped like a veiny, engorged penis. For days like those, the only place to be is Pink Pussycat Boutique. Stationed between head shops, bong dealers, and wide-mouthed blow-up dolls,… More >>
  • Best revamped sex toy for masturbating à la Sarah Jessica Parker

    Rabbit

    In the land of sex toys shaped like adorable animals, the Rabbit is king. Made famous by Sex and the City, this toy combines the best of all worlds—or at least three of them. It's got a mini-vibrator up front for clitoral stimulation (that's the little bunny), a dildo, and a band of rotating beads aimed directly at the elusive… More >>
  • Best place to hear about Scrabble fetishes

    Sex Workers Art Show

    Sex workers don't usually get a ton of respect, let alone their own art show. But that's all changing these days, thanks to Ms. Annie Oakley and the other (current and ex-) sex workers who make up this heady, hilarious, and downright hot night of burlesque. Now in its fifth year, the Sex Workers Art Show gives voice to sex-industry… More >>
  • Best store for sexifying your bathtub

    Lush

    Lush is the candy store of the toiletry world. The smell of floral soaps and fruity lotions wafts out onto the sidewalk. Inside, the tables are piled high with brightly colored disks and bars and gels. It's a sensory overload that makes you pity the poor cheerful employees, who must not be able to smell a thing by the end… More >>
  • Best all-you-can-eat aphrodisiac

    M & R Bar - CLOSED

    According to experts, Americans consume over 3,000 tons of mussels a year. Judging by the appetites of hungry New Yorkers, at least a couple thousand pounds of those must get eaten at the M & R Bar. Every Tuesday night, it's $12 all-you-can-eat mussels and fries—a very European combination—at this Italian restaurant; get there before 8 p.m. and all… More >>
  • Best sex-toy shop for sniffing leather

    Purple Passion

    What would S&M be without the sweet smell of tanned cowhide? Well, it would probably still be S&M—but nowhere is sadomasochism a more aromatic experience than at Purple Passion. Unassuming from the street (that is, if you ignore the two male mannequins chilling in the window, tastefully decked out in studded restraints), inside Purple Passion is a den of dark,… More >>
  • Best retired baseball player

    Mo Vaughn

    Yes, the beefy ex–Red Sox slugger ended his career a few years ago with a desultory tour as a Met with aching knees. But if Mo Vaughn stunk up Queens, he's doing wonders in Brooklyn as a clean-up man. A savvy businessman now, Vaughn is helping revitalize such places as Brownsville by buying crumbling buildings and renovating them so that… More >>
  • Best imitation tuna

    Eric Mangini

    Don't look for the Jets to set the NFL afire this year, especially with No. 1 QB Chad Pennington out. Pennington or no Pennington, it won't matter, because Eric Mangini is the coach. A protégé of all-seeing Patriot coach Bill Belichick, Mangini is more like a new version of former Giant and Jet coach Bill "Tuna" Parcells. Unlike Parcells, Mangini… More >>
  • Best New York pro-football player

    Peyton Manning's little brother

    Easy pick here: Tiki Barber. He's so slick and fast, and his fumbles are really down. . . . What? He retired? OK, next-best player is certain Hall of Famer Curtis Martin. Oh, he's gone too? Well, that leaves, hmmm—is Frank Gifford still playing? 2007 will be remembered as the year that two of the best players ever to don… More >>
  • Best non-contact sport

    Bocce-ball empire at Floyd, NY

    Foosball is for frat boys, darts for sociopaths, pool for budding criminals. For a far preferable, (slightly) physical, and decidedly coed-friendly bar distraction, avail yourself of the bocce-ball empire at Floyd, NY, a stylish Atlantic Avenue haunt in Brooklyn Heights that offers both live, televised English Premiership football and live, in-house bocce ball, care of a lovingly crafted clay court… More >>
  • Best ass-kickin' roller-derby girl

    Kandy Kake

    Among the subculture of roller-derby girls, Kandy Kake (a/k/a Adrienne Donato), is about as tough and sassy as they get. Only five-foot-one, she's co-captain of the Bronx Gridlock and has made a name for herself as a mean blocker, keeping her opponents at bay with some angry elbowing and body-checking. She's a favorite off the rink, too, perhaps because of… More >>
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