New York Athletic Club
NYAC is not your average gym. Founded in 1868 by William F. Curtis, one of the first proponents of amateur athletics in the United States, this place is a combination old school gentlemen's club and elite gym. You won't find the modern machinery that's standard at most gyms. The athletic floor features a nearly Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball courts and a boxing room, and world-class spaces for high society games like judo, squash and snooker. NYAC also hosts the annual Mercury Cup, the country's premier fencing tournament, and as a cool historical footnote, was the site where Gary Kasparov battled the computer chess machine X3D Fritz. The upstairs of the club holds an opulent restaurant and bar requiring men to wear a suit and slacks.
8 minutes
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 WEST 55TH ST, AT 9TH
Modern dance paradigm-shifter Alvin Ailey's company not only continues to put on some of the most exciting shows in New York and around the world, but also offers instruction by the best in the business, for anyone who wants to move. For the seriously talented, the Ailey school offers BFA and MFA programs run by preeminent figures in the field. Of course, you'll have to try out for those. For everyone else there are classes and workshops at the Ailey Extension in the same building, where aspiring to expert-level dancers can hone their movements. Even at the beginner level, classes are taught by pros.
New York Health & Racquet Club
110 W 56th St, between 6th/7th
Since it opened in 1973, NYHRC has expanded to 9 locations (a membership gets you access to all of them) but is still family owned and managed. The club remains one of the most popular venues for racquetball, squash and wallball games and lessons, but it's much more than that. All of the facilities include swimming pools, whirlpools and saunas, bouldering, massage, boxing lessons and opportunities to charter NYHRC's 75-foot yacht.
Chelsea Piers Golf Club
59 Chelsea Piers
A full driving range in Manhattan?! Well, you'll tee up on Manhattan, on a four-tier range on the edge of the Hudson River, but your ball flies out onto a 200-yard artificial turf fairway atop one of the floating piers. No need to worry about dealing with a bucket of balls. All of the greens are equipped with ingeniously designed automatic tee systems. The club is open to the public, but a membership gets you reservation privileges and access to a private locker room.
Exhale Spa
The concept around this all-in-one health and beauty retreat on the park is a mishmash of Asian influences. Vinyasa yoga classes are held in a large mahogany room adjacent to the spa, contrasting with Exhale's glowing white everything. Sip Elemental tea while testing out the 15 different treatment rooms, where you can browse from a menu of acupuncture skin lifts, state-of-the-art tweezing, massage and meditative reiki.
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