Kayaking and Rowing
Downtown Boat House
Pier 26, near Canal St. at the Hudson River
Pier 66A, 27th St. at the Hudson River
Riverside Park, at 72nd St.
This all-volunteer program provides free kayaking on the Hudson
to anyone who can swim. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
between May 15 and October 15; for weekday and evening hours,
call the status line. There is also a youth sailing program
in the summer. Parents must accompany all kids under 16.
Pier 63, 23rd St. at the Hudson River
If you want to be out on the Hudson but can’t deal with
the tourists on the Circle Line, why not float out in a kayak?
After one four-hour Paddle Basics class ($160), which the
whole family must attend, everyone’s ready to make a
90-minute north-south river journey. For the more experienced,
there are longer tours to the Statue of Liberty. Guides always
kayak with families; groups can kayak in single- or double-seaters.
Generally, no kids under the age of 10.
Harlem Karate Institute
2234 Third Ave., near 121st St.
For almost 30 years, East Harlem parents have been trusting
their offspring to Dr. Ernest Hyman, a tenth-degree red belt
(as high as belts go) in Japanese Goju. His nonprofit studio
teaches close-combat street-defense fighting ($45 a month
for up to sixteen three-hour lessons); sparring takes place
with or without protective gear. Students 6 and up must bring
in report cards, and can lose belt status if their grades
|Getting some air at Manhattan Tae Kwon
Do. (Photo Credit: Kristine Larsen).
Manhattan Tae Kwon Do
215 W. 76th St.
1127 Second Ave., at 60th St.
These studios are dedicated to the most sporty of martial
arts. The staff are all black belts accredited by the World
Tae Kwon Do Federation in Korea. Classes (about $130 per month)
are age-appropriate (starting at 3), and are always limited
to eighteen students. Weapons training and breaking boards
are all part of the fun.
City Climbers Club
533 W. 59th St.
This haven for serious climbers has a large wall with more
than 30 routes and a “cave” for bouldering. Since
anyone under 14 must come with a guardian (you must be 16
to belay), it’s best if parents of kids 6 and older
take an intro class demonstrating basic techniques ($25),
so they can belay their child. Bonus: This is the only gym
in the city that teaches older kids how to set their own routes
($10 or free for members).
|Scaling the heights at Extra Vertical
Climbing Center. (Photo Credit: Kristine Larsen).
ExtraVertical Climbing Center
61 W. 62nd St.
This public climbing gym is home to the city’s tallest
rock wall (50 feet). Any child over 4 can take a $9 “challenge”
climb—a one-off in sneakers with a staff member holding
the rope ($5 for each additional climb)—or join a kids’
program with four weeks of lessons ($99). A parent-child lesson
is $130 and includes equipment and two unlimited-climbing
Manhattan Plaza Health Club
482 W. 43rd St.
This gorgeous, atriumlike gym, with 5,000 square feet of climbing
space, is the closest it gets in this city to climbing outdoors.
Children under 14 can come in with their parents during designated
hours. For those who have never climbed, an orientation class
is $40. There’s also a two-hour technique class ($15,
or free for members), and the hourlong parent-child lesson
is $40 and includes a day pass and equipment.
Skating (Figure, Hockey, In-line,
Central Park Conservancy
Lasker Rink, Lenox Ave. and 110th St.
Wollman Rink, Fifth Ave. and 62nd St.
Beginner ice-skating lessons are available at Central Park’s
two outdoor rinks from October through April. Both rinks offer
parent-tot classes for ages 3 and 4. There are also hockey
lessons and team play available. Skates can be rented at both
rinks. Call for prices.
Pier 61 and 62, 23rd St. at Hudson River
For skateboarders, the six-foot mini-ramp and eleven-foot
vertical ramp at the 21,000-square-foot Extreme Park (212-336-6200)
is considered the most challenging in the tri-state area.
One-hour private lessons are $60; two-person semi-private
sessions are $65. At the Sky Rink (212-336-6100), kids can
take group skating lessons (ten weeks, $198 for 3- and 4-year-olds;
$225 for 5 and up) before joining hockey teams, or private
Figure Skating in Harlem
Open to girls 6 to 16 who live in Harlem, this nonprofit requires
its participants to maintain a B average in school. From October
to April, a typical day includes an hour of homework help,
a half-hour of theory, group talks with a social worker, dance
instruction, and 90 minutes of ice time at Riverbank State
Park’s covered outdoor rink (equipment provided), supervised
by former competitive skaters and professional instructors.
$350 per session (tuition assistance and scholarships available).
Ice Hockey in Harlem
This completely free after-school program operates out of
several Harlem schools, offering ice time at Lasker Rink in
Central Park. Children usually attend one or two sessions
a week: 4-to-8-year-olds work on skating and stick skills,
while older kids split time among skating lessons, scrimmages,
and math, reading, and geography classes. Participants may
qualify for one of two teams, which skate at Chelsea Piers
and Riverbank State Park.
Millennium Skate Park
Owl’s Head Park, Colonial Rd. near 68th St., Bay Ridge,
Call 311 for information.
Although there’s no formal instruction here, it’s
the city’s best spot for off-street skateboarding. Featuring
various ramps and concrete bowls, this Parks Department–run
facility welcomes skaters, bladers, and bikers, and strives
to simulate a natural skateboarding environment. The park
is staffed, and kids under 18 require their parents’
permission. Protective gear is required; admission is free.