555 E. 90th St.
Known for its pool, this five-and-a-half-acre nonprofit also
has karate classes, a recreational basketball league for ages
5 to 14, and group dribbling and shooting sessions. There
are also recreational soccer clinics for ages 5 to 14 and
a gymnastics team. Everything costs between $300 and $350.
Chelsea Piers Field House
Pier 62, 23rd St. at the Hudson River
This gargantuan 80,000-square-foot facility offers clinics
on two soccer fields (ages 3 and up, starting at $285), two
basketball courts (kindergarten and up, starting at $280 for
seventeen weeks), and four batting cages supervised by former
pro Neil Jeter (no, he’s not Derek’s brother;
6 and up, starting at $260 for fourteen weeks). There are
also rock-climbing clinics (age 4 and up, starting at $390
for seventeen weeks); gymnastics clinics run by former Olympian
Peter Kormann (starting at $390 for seventeen weeks); and
boys’ and girls’ traveling gymnastics teams. Ice
skating, extreme sports, and golf are also offered.
Children’s Athletic Training School
C.A.T.S. Park Avenue; 109 E. 50th St.
C.A.T.S. 49th Street; 235 E. 49th St.
C.A.T.S. West Side; 131 W. 86th St.
All three C.A.T.S. locations focus on building hand-eye coordination
on basic apparatus from the age of 1 until children are able
to compete in real games. Training is based on real sports,
just with modified equipment (a toddler will play tennis with
a foam paddle and a balloon). Younger kids rotate through
six sports each session ($530–$610 for 18 to 21 weeks),
while older kids focus on one sport (basketball, soccer, roller
hockey, or dance). Martial arts ($25 per class) and swimming
are taught separately.
The JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave., at 76th St.
The new Samuel Priest Rose Building has two gorgeous pools
and a full-court gym, which is home to gymnastics classes
(6 months to 12 years, $450 and up for members, $650 and up
for non-members), basketball-skills courses, and eight-week
boys’ and girls’ basketball programs ($175 for
members, $250 for nonmembers). Eight-week noncompetitive soccer
and baseball leagues run out of Central Park ($175 for members,
$250 for non-members); and any kid 4 to 10 can come in to
sample basketball, soccer, tennis, football, and floor hockey
($275 for members, $500 for non-members, for thirteen to seventeen
||Double Dutch Resource
||Lauren Walker at
the National Double Dutch League
Does your daughter long to become a back-flipping
street phenom? The National Double Dutch League—which
runs the Apollo’s prestigious Double Dutch
Holiday Classic—arranges team presentations ($1,500
and up), group training (negotiable) and individual
coaching ($75 per hour).
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
The Y offers noncompetitive options for kids who don’t
think of themselves as jocks, such as Powerblast exercise
(ages 9 to 12), Magic Gym fantasy, storytelling and fitness
(ages 3 to 5) and Kids Yoga (ages 8 to 12). There’s
also a host of trendy workouts for teens like Pilates, kickboxing,
and cardio jam, as well as traditional swim lessons. Everything
falls within the $300 to $400 range for sixteen to seventeen
sessions, except for the highly competitive gymnastics program
NY Kids Club
265 W. 87th St.
This activity spot for kids 6 months to 12 years offers classes
in gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, dancing, and cooking; there’s
even a twenty-foot wall for rock climbing. Gymnastic-themed
birthday parties can be scheduled for groups. Rates vary widely
according to schedule; seventeen classes to a semester.
NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
City-service hotline: 311
The Parks Department offers free beginners’ swimming
lessons to kids 3 to 14 at most indoor public pools, as well
as a recreational swim team for kids 6 to 18. Out of doors,
kids can join the Learn to Play Soccer program; the flag football
league, which offers instruction and then entry into the citywide
flag football tournament; or Urban Park Rangers, which offers
hiking, orienteering, birding, and fishing as part of regular
parks patrol. The Millennium Winter Basketball League for
boys and girls 8 to 16 is extremely popular. Everything is
YMCA of Greater New York
Established in 1852, this community-service organization encompasses
twenty branches in all five boroughs. The Virtual Y program
(for elementary school kids) and Teen Action NYC (for junior
high and high school) are affiliated with schools throughout
the city and offer sports, arts, and case management (all
free). There are early-childhood programs for infants to 5-year-olds,
and classes in fitness, aquatics, and martial arts. Prices
vary by branch.
Yorkville Youth Athletic Association
323 E. 91st St.
Seeking to fill voids in the city’s athletic offerings,
this enormous volunteer program offers extensive baseball
(see “Baseball”) and basketball programs, as well
as flag football in the winter (grades three to nine, $130)
and tennis (grades two to five, October to November and December
to March, $200 a year). There’s also a popular roller-hockey
program in the spring and fall (grades two to six, $150 plus