FITNESS & OUTDOORS
Manhattan may be a concrete jungle, but it hasn't stopped its residents from being among the fittest, leanest and meanest in the U.S. Apart from marathon walking required of every New Yorker, you'll see rollerbladers, joggers, street hockey players, cyclists -- just about every urban athlete you can imagine. Gay sport groups reflect the magnitude and diversity of the gay community here too.
BEST 4: GYMS
Your body is a temple to be molded and shaped at Clay (25 W. 14th St., btwn Fifth & Sixth Aves.; 212-206-9200), so posh (e.g., a fireplace lounge and overnight laundry service) that you'll feel more like you're at a top resort than the gym.
If you can't find it at the behemoth Sports Center at Chelsea Piers (Pier 60, 23rd St. & Hudson River; 212-336-6000), it's simply not sporty. A 25-yard pool, a 10,000 square foot rock-climbing wall, and 40 bowling lanes are just a taste of what's here.
With 14 Manhattan branches and more on the way, upscale Equinox is a fantastic and convenient gym choice, especially for those from the L.A., San Francisco, Chicago or Miami areas who're already members of the growing chain.
A whopping 38 Manhattan locations renders New York Sports Club even more convenient -- again, especially for chain members from other cities, in this case Boston, Philadelphia or Washington.
BEST 4: PARKS
Massive Central Park (59th St. to 110th St., Fifth Avenue to Central Park West) is, of course, the city's and the country's most famous (and infamous at times). Fantastic recreational and cultural opportunities abound.
The far(thest) West Side's Hudson River Park (Battery Place to 59th St.) is a long and beautifully renovated verdant stretch, home to a skate park, batting cages, outdoor movie festivals, a trapeze school and the super queer-popular Christopher Street Pier.
Set quaintly between West and East at the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park (between W. 4th St./Washington Square S. & Waverly Pl./ Washington Square N., at the foot of Fifth Ave.) has a colorful counter-culture history, offering respite through the eras to beatniks, hippies, breakdancers, skatepunks and the ever-present NYUers.
Bryant Park (40th to 42nd Sts., Fifth to Sixth Aves.) is Midtown's nicest oasis, with well-tended lawns and trees. The park hosts summer film festival, an is also home to New York's infamous Fashion Week.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
New York City: Introduction
New York City: Where to Stay
New York City: Where to Eat
New York City: Where to Meet/Play
New York City: Where to Shop
New York City: Neighborhoods
New York City: Resources