Cabin Fever


After hibernating for months, you can finally leave the confines of your minuscule overpriced apartment and make the city your personal playground. With so much to do this summer—from sunbathing in the nude to jumping off rooftops—you may never have to go back indoors again!

Looking to get a little fresh air? Exercise? A beating? Perfect. Drop in on the SOCIETY FOR CREATIVE ANACHRONISM‘s fighter practice in Union Square. The SCA is a group of hobbyists (and some deadly serious about it) interested in re-creating the costumes, customs, and clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. And as it’s no fun being a peasant, there are knights aplenty. Fighting with rattan swords and homemade armor and shields, the friendly jousters are easy enough to approach, and even easier to cheer on or just gawk at from the sidelines. Or you can sign up, learn to make your weapons, and have at it! Tuesdays between 7 and 10 p.m., Union Square, Broadway and 17th Street, sca/index.htm#fighter_practice MAMATAS

Our date at CONEY ISLAND is going well. You’ve ridden the Cyclone without throwing up or dying; the evening is warm but not oppressive; you and Datie have on several occasions laughed out loud, and not at each other’s expense. Now you’re settled on a bench on the boardwalk, looking out at the ocean and trying to eat your soft-serve rather than wear it. So far, so good—but you’re just not sure if there are fireworks here. Worry not; that’s where we come in, to tell you that there are: They happen every Friday night at 9:30 (starting June 25), and, assuming you’re seated near Astroland, you’ll have a primo view from your very bench. Help with seduction techniques and/or commitment issues not included. Coney Island Astroland, Surf Avenue and 10th Street, Brooklyn, 718.372.5159, GROSS

For those who’ve been too terrified to pedal down a New York City block, its time to shed those fears and brave the pavement—at least once a month, when cyclists take back the streets in the CRITICAL MASS bike ride. With no destination in mind, hundreds of bike lovers coast alongside skating brethren and become traffic in an effort to show a need for a more biker-friendly and pollution-free city. Drivers get grumpy since dipping around cars is inevitable, but you’ll finally get the chance to let out all the pent-up aggression from years of being deprived of the open road. Every last Friday of the month at 7 p.m., Union Square Park North, 212.802.8222,

If you’ve lived under the misperception that everyone went through a horse phase in second grade, usher in the summer by cantering over a grassy knoll, wind whistling against your ears. South of Prospect Park, KENSINGTON STABLES is a cheap and accessible (on the F) horse stable. Don’t worry, there aren’t any nose-in-the-air, chaps-wearing country clubbers grooming their purebreds. An hour’s ride, at only $25, can accommodate any level, whether you want to daydream at an ambling pace, or cling tight and take off. But leave the holster at home. Open 10 a.m. to sunset, 51 Caton Place, Brooklyn, 718.972.4588, WISLOSKI

If you encounter something like an outtake from The Matrix in the middle of the city—people leaping, running, back-flipping, and swinging all over the place—it might be a PARKOUR jam. Le Parkour, also known as “free running,” is a sport (or discipline, or art, or whatever you want to call it) invented by David Belle and Sebastien Foucan in the late ’80s. Its practitioners, or “traceurs,” treat the city as an obstacle course, moving as fluidly as possible. It’s ridiculous, dangerous, occasionally borderline illegal (“Hey! You’re not supposed to be jumping off my roof!”), and totally fun to watch. has information on Le Parkour and associated events. WOLK

South Brooklyn natives might scare you with tales of floating turds and drowned mobsters, but the formerly fetid Gowanus Canal is making a major comeback. The long-mistreated estuary is now a blossoming ecosystem (home to migrating birds, mating crabs, an assortment of fish, and the occasional raccoon) and a playground for the GOWANUS DREDGERS CANOE CLUB. The club provides free paddling tours and a series of public eco-events throughout the summer. Sign up online for a two-to-four-mile float past oyster gardens, century-old cable bridges, and the ghosts of plugged mafiosi. Through November 1, 126 4th Place, Brooklyn, 718.243.0849, STEINBERG

If you’re a baseball purist, then get out in Central Park with the GOTHAM BASE BALL CLUB OF NEW YORK, the city’s own purveyor of vintage base ball (two words, back in the day). Gotham BBC participates in a revival league that researches and resurrects the rules, uniforms, and even on-field slang of the 19th-century game. In 1864, the year Gotham plays, that meant no gloves, funny hats, a ball caught on one hop was an out, a “turkey merchant” was an asshole, and more. They play on the Great Lawn or a softball field. Central Park, location varies, 718.268.4121, or e-mail KING

Tired of being wrapped tight and staying in their winter shoe caves, NEW YORKERS’ FEET are ready for the sun. Like bird-watching or a horticulturist’s interest in emerging flora, summer also signals the blooming season of colorfully painted toenails. Pastel, electric, and fiery shades, some with jeweled or sparkly touches, offer a sidewalk-level vista. Strap-hangers can now focus their averted gazes down to find cute new options—but be aware that nasty-knuckled, pinched feet in dirty Tevas also share the air. Bless the freed New York foot, each and every toe. MOONEY

Balls roll, limbs flail, and panting runners make their way around the bases every Sunday at McCarren Park, where hipster players and the fans who love them gather for BROOKLYN KICKBALL games. Slow reflexes, ball pegging (a/k/a “Indian Rubber”), and clever trash-talking are officially OK at these fourth-grade-style, five-inning affairs. Anyone is welcome to play: Just show up on time and throw in a buck for the field fee and the regular post-game barbecue. Chuck Taylors and PBR sold separately. Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m., McCarren Park, Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street, Brooklyn, WEINSTEIN

The best club that’s not a club, and the closest New Yorkers will get to the Miami party experience without having to board a plane, the annual P.S.1 WARM UP series features an eclectic roundup of DJs, both local and from afar, set on its urban beach. Past years have featured artists like Doc Martin, Swayzak, and Danny Krivit. Each year the beach installation is designed by a new artist, so every time your feet hit the sand, it feels fresh. Plus, if you get bored you can always go look at some modern art. Saturdays from 3 to 9, P.S.1, 22–25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens, 718.784.2084 ROMANO

If you feel the need for speed this summer, look no further than THE BEAST, Manhattan’s answer to Coney Island’s Cyclone. At 45 miles per hour, the 70-foot longboat with ferocious teeth and twin 2,600-horsepower engines, roars over the waves of New York Harbor while men in muscle shirts lead passengers in games. Set to blaring rock music, the 30-minute ride pauses for a photo op at the Statue of Liberty. It’s so ridiculous—in that extreme-sports kind of way—your friends will actually think it’s cool. Children must be over 40 inches to ride. Daily through September, Pier 83, West 42nd Street and Twelfth Avenue, 212.563.3200, ASHMAN

Bet you didn’t know there’s a group dedicated to walking along the shorelines in and around New York City. But in a city surrounded by water and flooded with millions of variously devoted individuals, why wouldn’t there be one? SHOREWALKERS focus not only on walking along water but on preserving waterfront areas and reclaiming them for general public use. They host events every weekend; upcoming are, for example, treks through Orchard Beach and City Island, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton, and Morningside Heights and Riverside Park. (Their recent “Three Lakes, Three Parks” jaunt in Queens dipped past the Botanical Garden and a Chinese vegetable farm.) Basically, if it’s near a local shoreline, they’re on it, and you can be too. Check them out to learn about the Batt to Bear Trail (Battery Park to Bear Mountain) and lots more you didn’t know you needed to know. GROSS

Most people go to FORT TRYON PARK to visit the Cloisters, but we have all been cloistered enough, so go to the 62-acre park and get lost on its rocky trails. Like the ridge at the northern edge of Central Park, these rock formations are an artifact of the glacial push, some ancient history you can enjoy with your vigorous climbing. You won’t mind retracing your steps up and down either, because the view at the top is the best in the city. Lewis Mumford wrote that it “freezes the heart, rips out the gizzard, and curdles the backbone.” Fort Tryon Park, Broadway and Dyckman Street, 212.333.2552, KING

People won’t dare mess with you when they find out you’ve been running, scrumming, jumping, and tackling with the tough-ass ladies of the nationally ranked NEW YORK RUGBY CLUB out on Randalls Island. There the NYRC women play rugby sevens—a short, fast-paced, high-scoring version of traditional rugby in which there are only seven players on the field instead of 15—from June till August. Aspiring ruggers of all experience levels are welcome to come learn and play. And after practice, go out with the team and put away some pitchers while you compare bruises. Dude, you’re vicious. New York Rugby Club, 212.332.9911, WEINSTEIN

New York City’s big, bad industrial bullies have royally fucked up our surrounding waterways. Yet, amazingly, it is still possible to catch three-foot American eels in the Harlem River, or spot migrating egrets perched in Coney Island Creek. These are two of the hidden estuaries visited each summer by the URBAN DIVERS organization, which runs free eco-tours aboard scientific-monitoring boats in New York Harbor. The nonprofit group, made up of biologists, professors, environmental filmmakers, and the like, takes curious landlubbers on educational pleasure cruises Sundays through September. Register in advance on the Urban Divers website. Various sites along NYC’s waterfront, 718.583.5711, STEINBERG

Do you swing? Would you like to? Gothamites looking for a higher level of warm-weather high jinks might head west to the TRAPEZE SCHOOL NEW YORK. Those athletic and otherwise, six to 60, can sign up for classes in the aerial arts, or perhaps become part of a performance team. (And, yes, safety belts and a reportedly quite soft net are employed at all levels.) The earthbound can amuse themselves with classes in juggling, jestering, and vertical rope. Trapeze School New York, West Street, between piers 34 and 26,, 917.797.1872 SOLOSKI

Hold hands on Saturday afternoons at the outdoor ROLLER RINKS AT CHELSEA PIERS, which combine the thrill of rolling in the open air with the slushies-and-Styx ambience of an indoor rink. The complex also boasts an outdoor skate park with rails, ramps, and other gigantic obstacles for skateboarders, in-line skaters, and BMX riders—and there’s even a miniature skate park “playground” for the kiddies. The rinks offer rentals and skills workshops, and host youth and adult roller-hockey leagues. Roller Rinks at Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, 23rd Street and the Hudson River, 212.336.6200, WEINSTEIN

In Sabrina, “Yale man” Bogie takes the young Audrey Hepburn out for a sail with a picnic lunch and a record player. If you have neither yacht nor yacht club, there are still ways to SAIL IN NEW YORK without capsizing girl or wallet. Try volunteering as a crew on someone else’s boat. Sailors are a friendly sort, and they have needs just like other people: While some seek experienced crew for racing, others seek slipshod sorts to sail to Portugal on a moment’s notice. Some just want to teach you to sail, see the sunset from water on a Sunday, or share a beer. There’s no better way to learn. For a list of area boats, check out FONG

To convince skeptics that our island’s surrounding waters aren’t contaminated (and to encourage further river cleanup), the Hudson River Park Trust and Manhattan Island Foundation host six HUDSON RIVER RACES throughout the summer. Novices need not be alarmed—the swims range from 0.5 to 7.8 miles. However, these races are mere practices for the truly trained, who may want to compete in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim or the New York City Triathlon. Still fearful of our watery environs? Nearby, Chelsea Piers has an extravagant 25-yard swimming pool. Hudson River Park Trust, Pier 40 and West Houston Street, 212.791.2530,; Manhattan Island Foundation, 888.NYC. SWIM, COLE

Historically, crime rates soar in the summertime. Perhaps Chelsea’s Tenth Avenue isn’t now a danger zone, but it’s just the place for breaking and entering. The HIGH LINE is a disused elevated railway stretching one and a half tantalizingly fenced-off miles. It’s fought over by property owners (who want it demolished) and park advocates (who want it turned into an esplanade à la Paris’s Promenade Plantée). Though closed to the public, some ingenuity, a flashlight, and a friendly boost allow a moonlit stroll along its desolate, eerily overgrown length. High Line, Tenth Avenue from 14th to 34th streets, SOLOSKI

The experience from borough to borough may differ, but in many BROOKLYN NEIGHBORHOODS the onset of summer brings about a practice somewhere between the suburban backyard barbeque and an arsonist’s disregard for open-flame laws as hibachis and charcoal are fired up right on front stoops and sidewalks. Although the cacophony of the multiple stereos can be a bad mix, the swirling odors of marinades and meats are a treat for a carnivore’s senses. And an offer of a chicken wing to a neighbor goes a long way for the bonhomie of these often itinerant ‘hoods. MOONEY

When the sun is scorching, you can GRIN AND BARE IT ALL. Daring, overheated exhibitionists don’t have to schlep to Sandy Hook to strip down. At New York’s own Lighthouse Park and Robert Moses State Park, and the eastern section of Jacob Riis Park (a favorite of gay men), you can get naked with fellow nudists and booty watchers. Even Jones Beach (eastern end past field 6) allows topless sunbathing. Laws vary (federal law doesn’t prohibit nudity; state-run parks only OK going topless), so make sure you’re in the nude section. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Lighthouse Park, Fire Island National Seashore, Patchogue, New York, 631.289.4810, for state parks and for federal parks. BUSSEL

A tradition grows in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and you’re welcome to join in. Started by the CONGO SQUARE DRUMMERS over 30 years ago, this informal outdoor jam session of improvised beats and the occasional familiar tune thrown in attracts musicians of all levels, dancers, and even vendors, in a spirited celebration of African culture and joy. So bring a drum and get it on—bang a gong. Every Sunday at 2, the Drummer’s Grove, Prospect Park, East Lake Drive, Parkside Avenue and Ocean Avenue entrance, 718.965.8951 ABER