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Sports: Fencing, Golf, Gymnastics & Acrobatics, Horseback Riding
Archery | Baseball | Basketball | Fencing | Golf | Gymnastics & Acrobatics | Horseback Riding | Kayaking & Rowing | Martial Arts | Rock Climbing | Skating | Soccer | Swimming | Tennis | Track & Field | Yoga | Mulitsport Facilities


Fencers Club
119 W. 25th St., fifth fl.
Founded in 1883, this is the biggest fencing club in the country. Your kids (ages 8 and up) will joust with the best (the U.S. Olympic team trained here). Private ($30–$50 per twenty minutes) and group ($20–$50 for one to three hours) lessons are taught by national and Olympic team coaches; memberships are required ($500 for students).

Metropolis Fencing
114 W. 26th St.
This 75-year-old school holds monthly competitions using regulation electronic scoring equipment. Annual memberships are $350 for individuals, $500 for families, but kids needn’t join in order to parry and feint on their floors: Youngsters 5 to 12 can just sign up for private ($30–$35 an hour) or group ($15 an hour) lessons from former Olympians and national champions.


The First Tee Metropolitan New York
Mosholu Golf Course; 3700 Jerome Ave., at Bainbridge Ave., the Bronx
Aspiring Tigers, from the ages of 7 to 17, start at a mandatory six-week program taught by PGA professionals (free of charge). After that, youngsters may become members of this nine-hole course established in 1928, paying $5 a day, whenever there’s no snow, to play with volunteer instructors when available.

The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers
Pier 59, 18th St. at the Hudson River
Outfitted with rainproof coverings and heating, this outdoor driving range is open year-round and offers an after-school program that covers basic swing technique and the fundamentals of the sport ($220 for seven weeks). There’s also a family clinic for kids 4 to 11 ($275 for four weeks), and the Junior Golf Team (ages 7 to 16 by invitation only) is open to highly skilled kids who have already participated in at least one of the programs.

Randalls Island Golf School
Randalls Island’s new two-tiered, 70-station driving range, which can be covered and heated for winter play, offers private lessons ($60–$70 per half-hour) taught by PGA members. Children 5 and up are invited to work on any aspect of their game, from swinging to putting and chipping; equipment provided.

Gymnastics & Acrobatics

Circus Minimus
Former Big Apple Circus instructor Kevin O’Keefe runs programs at various schools, nonprofits, and churches. Four-hour workshops ($50) include Circus Yoga (a combination of Hatha yoga, clowning, and partner acrobatics—kids balancing on their parents). During two-week Circus Kids Create sessions ($325), kids put on an entire circus.

Trapeze School New York
Hudson River Park, south of Canal St.
Daredevils 6 and up can take flying-trapeze classes off a 23-foot platform in Hudson River Park. Taught by former circus stars, classes start with knee-hanging and move into basic swings and getting caught by instructors ($47–$65 for two hours).

Horseback Riding

Claremont Riding Academy
175 W. 89th St.
The oldest continuously operated stable in the country has staff members who have ridden competitively and calm, cosmopolitan horses. Starting at the age of 6, children learn to approach horses, then progress toward jumping and dressage in a ring in the academy’s building. Semesters are nine to twelve weeks, and range from $545 for a set of weekly one-hour group lessons to $655 for weekly half-hour private lessons.

D&D Stables
88-11 70th Rd., near Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills
This small stable has no ring, so English and Western lessons ($55 for private, $45 for semi-private and $38 for four or more) focus on various gaits rather than jumping. While kids 8 and up can take guided trail rides ($25), younger ones can take pony rides ($5).

Jamaica Bay Riding Academy
Gateway National Recreation Area, 7000 Belt Pkwy., Mill Basin, Brooklyn
This gorgeous 300-acre preserve offers an Olympic-size indoor ring, a large outdoor arena with 50 cross-country fences, and three miles of beachfront riding. Kids 8 and older can start off with pony rides ($10 for fifteen minutes) and graduate to guided trail rides after 11 ($27 for 45 minutes in a group, or $45 per person for a two-person private ride). All jumping and dressage lessons are private ($60 per hour).

Kensington Stables
51 Caton Pl., near Coney Island Ave., Kensington, Brooklyn
Dating back to the nineteenth century, Prospect Park’s only stable offers two barns, an indoor riding ring, plus the park’s outdoor riding rings and bridle paths. Kids over 6 start with private lessons ($25 per half-hour, $45 per hour) in either English or Western style and move into three-to-five-person group lessons ($35 per hour) depending on ability.

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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide