Wednesday, May 10, 2006

When You Need to Know: The Sporting Life Links

Being a city dweller doesn't negate an interest in the sporting life. New Yorkers are an active bunch, and Manhattan provides a number of opportunities for athletic pursuits and both indoor and outdoor recreational activities.

Turn here to find sports, fitness and recreation resources to indulge your physical side. I’ll update this as I come across new resources – and if you have any good local sports and recreation sites to recommend, please send them along!

For links to your favorite local pro teams, check out When You Need to Know: NY’s Professional Sports Teams.

New York’s Parks
NYC Parks Facilities: Where to Play, Practice & Watch
The New York City Parks system provides public facilities for a vast array of sports and recreation, from bocce courts to volleyball courts. Find the public places to play, practice or watch the sport or game of your choice with this searchable Parks Department guide.

Manhattan's Backyard: Sports Facilities in Central Park
Did you know that Central Park has indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls? Or that it has two croquet lawns and yoga classes? Get information here on all of the public sports facilities Manhattan's backyard has to offer.

League Sports
A League of Your Own: Applying for Athletic Permits
If you're organizing a league of your own, you'll need to obtain an athletic permit to use the public parks facilities. Apply for a permit online, download applications for permits (Adobe Acrobat Reader required), and check out the usage guidelines for the public courts and fields at this Parks Department Web site.

Out of Bounds
Get a listing of New York's LGBT sports leagues and recreational groups, such as the NYC Gay Hockey Association, NY Pride Rowing Association, Fast & Fabulous Cycling Club and a host of others. All are endorsed by Out of Bounds, a non-profit organization that “advocates and actively works for the acceptance, visibility, and active participation of members of the GLBT community in professional, amateur, and recreational programs without regard to race, gender, age, or sexual orientation..” OOB’s Web site also features news, a calendar of LGBT sports and more.

Inline Skating
NYC SK8: The New York City Inline Skating Guide
This all-purpose overview of inline skating in the New York Metro area started out in 1994 as a mere FAQ and has grown into a useful guide to local inline skating. It features information on where to buy inline skates, a guide to local laws regulating the sport, a safety primer and more. My favorite feature is a handy neighborhood guide to the city’s best places for inline skating, which is thoughtfully written for the novice as well as experienced skater.

The Empire Skate Club
This non-profit membership-based association is “dedicated to having fun and improving the skating environment in New York.” It sponsors a variety of regular skating events, such as the Tuesday Night Skate, for advanced skaters; the more relaxed Thursday Night Roll, a social skate for beginner-to-intermediate skaters; and out-of-town skate trips. An annual membership is $25. Get all the details at the club’s Web site.

The Central Park Skate Patrol
This group is a godsend for beginning skaters. I would never have learned to feel confident on hills without the patience and persistence of the Skate Patrol volunteer who taught me how to brake at the West 72nd Street entrance to the Central Park Loop; volunteers are available every weekend, April-October, 12:30-5:30 p.m.. The local chapter of the International Inline Skating Association's (IISA) National Skate Patrol, the Central Park Skate Patrol also runs a very reasonably priced Skate School, with certified instructors, on the second and fourth weekends of each month. Check the Web site for more information.

TennisNYC League
The official Web site of the city’s self-proclaimed “#1 Tennis League” is a confusing mess in terms of design but, if you’re willing to scroll through its very long main page, you’re apt to find out everything you wanted to know about amateur tennis in New York.

Central Park Tennis Center
Get the lowdown on group classes, private lessons and tennis camps offered at the Har-Tru and hard courts located near the reservoir in Central Park.

Riverside Clay Tennis Association
This citizen’s group saved the clay courts at 97th St., alongside the Hudson River in Riverside Park, from being paved over in the early 1980s and now, in conjunction with the Parks Department, maintains 10 world-class courts, runs tournaments and tennis ladders, and hosts a summer sunset concert series. The organization also pays the salary of an on-site tennis pro who offers private and group lessons.

119th St. Tennis Association
This home-grown site representing the hard courts at 119th St. in Riverside Park features tournament schedules, news and, most notably, a listing of “Play Pals” – names and contact information of local enthusiasts who are seeking tennis partners.

Friends of Harlem Tennis Center
Support tennis north of 96th St. by checking in here for an update on the Harlem Tennis Center at the 369th Regiment Armory. The center has been closed, awaiting funding for a renovation. Check out the “HTC Crisis” link for news on what’s been going on, the “About HTC” link for a history of the center – notables such as Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe played and taught here – and the “Local Tennis Groups” link for a listing of various leagues and associations elsewhere in the city.

Horseback Riding
Riding in NYC’s Parks
Each of the five boroughs offers public horseback riding trails in the city’s parks. While Central Park is Manhattan’s backyard, you’ll only get to ride here if you’re pretty experienced. Venture out to one of the other boroughs, however, and you can get reasonably priced lessons as well as guided trail rides. This Parks Department guide includes information on hours, services available and rates, as well as links to the individual stables in each park.

Urban Cowboy: NYC Horseback Riding
If you want a glimpse into what riding in the city is really like before you venture out and try it for yourself, check out this article at, the Web site affiliated with Outside magazine. A first-person account by an experienced rider of various stables and trails in each of the five boroughs, it offers both a glimpse into the reality of riding in the metropolis and practical information on the stables. NOTE: You must complete the free site registration to access the entire article.’s Guide to Horseback Riding in NYC
Get an overview of the stables and rates available around the city, plus kid-centric mini-reviews of each, as well as links to the stables’ Web sites.

Recommended All-Purpose Guide to Sports and Recreation in NYC
NY Sports Online
I’ll add more sports and recreation links to over time, but as much as I’d like to, it would be next to impossible for me to provide a comprehensive listing of sports and recreation opportunities in the city. And why should I, when New York Sports Online has done a fabulous job already? This site offers local sports and recreation news as well as localized guides and links to just about any athletic pursuit you can think of, from arm wrestling to volleyball.

1 comment:

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