1. Arcade Games
388 Union Ave., nr. Ainslie St., Williamsburg; 718-302-6464
Nowhere else but here can you play Reagan-era games (Galaga, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros.—you name it) at the same prices you paid in the eighties. Cost: 25¢ per game
- Sunnyside Center Cinemas
42-17 Queens Blvd., at 43rd St., Sunnyside; 718-361-6869
The Queens theater may suffer from sticky-floor syndrome, but with before–5 p.m. matinee prices on first-run movies, who cares? On Tuesdays, most shows are just $5 all day and night. Cost: $5
25 Third Ave., nr. 9th St.; 212-529-6924
A five-shots-for-$10 deal ensures lots of NYU drop-ins. But even the regular top-shelf stuff is coed-friendly; nothing runs more than $7. Cost: $10 for five shots.
- Leisure Time Bowl
625 Eighth Ave., nr. 40th St.; 212-268-6909
The after–9 p.m. special at the Port Authority’s in-house alley comes with the massive, game-annihilating Tower of Beer (equal to eleven pints). Cost: $29 per person (minimum of four bowlers) for two hours of play, shoe rentals, and beer.
- Break Bar and Billiards
32-04 Broadway, nr. 32nd St., Astoria; 718-777-5400
The friendly little Astoria pool hall has surprisingly well-kept tables and free play before 9 p.m. when you buy a drink. Cost: Free before nine, then $10 to $12 per hour.
6. Burger and a Beer
- Ruby's Cafe
219 Mulberry St., nr. Spring St.; 212-925-5755
The Nolita spot’s weekday happy-hour (3 to 7 p.m.) tacks $1 PBRs onto any burger order. Go for the slightly spicy Bronte. Cost: $12
7. Burlesque Show
- The Slipper Room
167 Orchard St., at Stanton St.; 212-253-7246
A favorite location for bachelor/bachelorette partyers looking for a low-budget, raunchy outing sans stripper poles. Cost: $5
- Bob Bar
235 Eldridge St., nr. Houston St.; 212-529-1807
A revolving roster of D.J.’s spin non-cheesy eighties and nineties R&B, hip-hop, and reggae for a frequently packed house. Cost: Free before 10 p.m., $5 cover after on Thurs.–Sat.
9. Batting Cages
- Astoria Sports Complex
3438 38th St., nr. 34th Ave., Astoria; 718-729-7163
The self-titled “Madison Square Garden of Queens” has meticulously maintained, totally automatic (no balls to pick up or machines to feed), and excellently priced batting cages. Cost: $3 for twenty balls or $35 an hour.
10. Driving Range
- Randalls Island Golf Center
1 Randalls Island; 212-427-5689
The city-golfer’s hideaway offers dirt-cheap practice times. With 80 stalls, the chances that you’ll have to wait to play are pretty slim. Cost: $9 for 85 balls, $13 for 150. (By comparison, you can pay as much as $30 for 113 balls at Chelsea Piers).
First-rate recreational activities, from 25 cents to $29.
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).