NYC's Wild World of Sports
by Elizabeth Kennedy, 08/21/2009
Get out and experience the wild (and wonderful) world of NYC sports. From bocce and rock climbing in Brooklyn to mini-golf on Randalls Island and water polo and table tennis in Manhattan, the City's packed with sports. Hone your skills—or pick up a new one—starting this weekend.
You don't have to be at the beach to enjoy this sport—in fact, you don't have to go outside at all. Lately, bocce has become all the rage, and Brooklyn boasts two of the best spots to play. Round up old friends—or make new ones at the bar—and hit the court with your team at Floyd, NY or Union Hall. Bocce offers bargoers another gaming option besides darts, pool and, of course, quarters. Come to these spots for a post-work libation and stay a little later for a free game.
Brooklyn Boulders offers the adventuresome a peak experience right in Kings County. This newly opened, 18,000-square-foot space, located just a few blocks from the Gowanus Canal, features rock climbing and bouldering. Everyone is welcome to stop by, and whether you're a newcomer or a veteran looking for a challenge, the experts on staff can hook you up with equipment, lessons and tips. Day passes run from $16 to $20 for kids and adults, and equipment rental is $9. (Save yourself the fee by bringing your own gear, if you've got it.)
Looking for a fun place to take the kids this weekend? Take a swing at some local mini-golf courses—there's one at Safari Amusement Park in Staten Island and two at Randall's Island Golf Center on Randalls Island. Staten Island's 16-hole course has a whimsical feel with its safari theme, while Randalls Island's 36-hole facility (there's an 18-hole course for adults and another for children) celebrates the beauty of its natural surroundings. All courses take you through hills, banks, streams and waterfalls as you practice your putting skills on their quirky greens. Staten Island's course is $6.75 per person while Randalls Island's is $7 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. And for a special twist on mini-golf (think roller coasters and Venus flytraps), try Governors Island. Each of the 18 holes on its free course was designed and built by a different artist.
Team New York Aquatics, a gay and lesbian swim and water polo team, offers people of every sexual orientation and skill level a chance to hone their chops in the pool. This group, made up of Masters-level athletes, has been competing in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics water polo championships since 1992 and holds regular weekly practices on Sundays from 5 to 6:30pm at Asphalt Green. Monthly passes there are $25, while drop-ins will pay $10 per practice.
Test your hand-eye coordination this weekend with an Olympic favorite: table tennis. The New York Table Tennis Federation opens its facilities to beginners and intermediates on Saturday and Sunday mornings for group workshops that will help you improve your skills (or teach you the basics). At $30 per session, the classes, held at the American Asian Cultural Center of Tribeca, are limited to six people, so you're sure to get some valuable one-on-one time with your coach.