Best Fitness Club
92NY MAY CENTER FOR HEALTH, FITNESS & SPORT
1395 Lexington Ave.
Located inside 140-year old community center the 92nd Street Y, the May Center has a wide variety of fitness options, from a 25-yard ozone purified pool to a spin studio. It also features a new golf simulator, which can be rented for a half hour at a time. If you check into the May Center 92 times between your birthdays, you can also win a free month of membership via their Fit Club promotion.
YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK
5 West 63rd Street
Athletes of all ages and abilities can enjoy the gym at this YMCA location, which boasts a pool, basketball court, squash and racquetball courts, and more, plus a variety of workout classes for kids and adults.
CHELSEA PIERS FITNESS
Chelsea Piers Fitness’ 150,000-square-foot space is nothing short of magnificent, with facilities for pretty much every athletic activity one could imagine. With a climbing wall, boxing ring, 75-foot indoor pool, and everything else Pier Sixty has to oﬀer, Chelsea Piers Fitness isn’t cheap, but it aﬀords you a sublime array of workout opportunities. The gym also oﬀers personal trainers, over 150 diﬀerent fitness classes, and a sauna.
Best Boutique Gym
BARRY’S EAST 64th
1216 Second Ave
The 64th Street location of Barry’s Bootcamp is housed in what used to be a movie theater, and promises a HIIT (high intensity interval training) experience like no other. The combination of cardio and strength training in the gym chain’s unique classes is designed to burn the maximum number of calories and get you sweating.
MODERN MARTIAL ARTS
103 West 73rd Street
This MMA studio specializes in Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga as well as traditional MMA fighting. It features an array of classes for everyone from trained fighters to casual enthusiasts to curious first-timers. The owner, Mario Guerrero, is also known for his work with at-risk kids, to whom he teaches MMA as a way to build coordination, confidence and teamwork skills.
CENTRAL ROCK GYM
21 West End Ave.
A haven for rock climbers in Manhattan, Central Rock has it all: auto-belay, top rope, lead, and bouldering. The atmosphere is supportive and positive; first time climbers are encouraged to try out the equipment with a day pass, but the gym also oﬀers technique classes to help newbies hone their skills more quickly. Central Rock hosts Beginner Boulderer Meetups on the first and third Fridays of every month to help build community among those new to the art of bouldering.
Best Mindfulness Destination
PURE YOGA EAST
203 East 86th St.
Pure Yoga East oﬀers yoga and meditation classes of all types, including hot yoga, advertised to those interested in sweating it out in a heated room. With classes targeted towards restoring injuries and calming the nervous system as well as more intense ones focused on upper body strength or increasing endurance, there is something for everyone. They also oﬀer private lessons.
WORLD YOGA CENTER
265 West 72nd St
One of the city’s oldest yoga centers, World Yoga Center oﬀers a wide array of courses in person, as well as a few that are hybrid or online-only. Meditation and yoga courses are organized by levels of experience, ranging from level 1 (beginner) to 3 (established). For those wanting to check it out before committing, they also host a complimentary daily guided remote meditation (a Zoom link can be found on their website under Classes).
5 East 3rd St
At Three Jewels, meditation and yoga are taught based on the pedagogy of Tibetan Buddhism. Many of the staﬀ are volunteers; the yoga studio began as a bookstore where people often gathered to discuss Buddhist tradition, and blossomed into a larger community. The studio oﬀers courses like “Yoga: Inner Guide” and “Meditation: Purify,” priced at aﬀordable rates and held both in-person and remotely.
Best Spa & Massage
605 Fifth Ave.
Splurge a bit on the Nuansa experience — it’s worth it. The spa is an oasis of peace and calm, just a short elevator ride up from the chaos of East Midtown. The list of treatments is extensive and intriguing, with nine diﬀerent types of facials alone; indulge in a Hawaiian hot stone massage or a Thai poultice.
This modest spa packs a lot into its space, including an attached nail salon. The signature massage can be done with aromatherapy oil or CBD oil; they also oﬀer foot reflexology, body work, and combinations of the above.
AIRE ANCIENT BATHS
88 Franklin St.
A European spa experience right in the middle of NYC, the dimly lit and calming Aire is modeled after ancient Greek and Roman bathhouses. Customers are forbidden to use phones inside, adding to the sensation of being disconnected from the outside world. Beyond just massage, the spa features salt water pools, a steam room, a bubbling whirlpool and baths at diﬀerent temperatures.
Best Men’s Grooming
LEVEL TWO BARBER SHOP
1388 Second Ave.
Tried-and-true neighborhood staple Level Two has as its slogan “Handsome made simple.” Its high quality and reasonable prices inspire loyalty, with customers traveling from other neighborhoods and boroughs to get their hair cut by owner Boris and his employees.
BARBER SHOP 72
49 West 72nd St.
Barber Shop 72 provides solid, no-frills service at good prices. The atmosphere inside is congenial and friendly, and the staﬀ work quickly and eﬃciently. They also do children and toddlers’ haircuts.
ASTOR PLACE HAIR
2 Astor Place
An iconic unisex barbershop with a place in NYC counterculture history, a sign at Astor Hair’s front desk proclaims: “We speak Italian, Russian, Uzbek, Farsi, Romanian — and a little English.” The place prides itself on giving great haircuts and shaves to New Yorkers from all walks of life, from big names like Andy Warhol and Robert De Niro to NYU students and average Joes. Stop by for a trim and a shave, then take a stroll through nearby St. Mark’s Place.
EAST RIVER PROMENADE
There’s something deeply calming about walking or jogging beside a body of water. Set high above the turbulent East River, the two-mile-long promenade between 60th and 120th Streets also oﬀers a lovely view of Queens. Hum the “59th Street Bridge Song” to yourself as you pass it and head north — you’ll have an uninterrupted pathway all the way to 120th. Entrances are at 63rd, 70th, 78th, 81st & 82nd Streets and above. (Alternatively, there’s a southerly segment of the promenade that runs between Battery Park and 37th St., where it runs into the United Nations.)
Riverside Park, across from Riverside Church
Visit this northerly stretch of Riverside Park and walk down the stairs until you pass a sign reading “Forever Wild” for a walk that takes you briefly out of the chaos of the city. Very few people even on the Upper West Side realize that Riverside Park contains 60 acres of forest; just a few steps into this semi-secluded location, you’ll almost forget that the park borders the West Side Highway. One of the city’s many “Forever Wild” preserves which exist as part of an eﬀort to protect the “most ecologically valuable lands left in NYC,” this wooded area is frequented by birdwatchers and is notable for a bald eagle sighting a few years back.
34th St. and Tenth Ave.
One of NYC’s most popular parks, the High Line can’t be left out of a list like this. Once an elevated freight rail line running from Gansevoort to 30th St., today the High Line is an ideal date spot (in nice weather) and the perfect mid-distance walk to clear your head. Seasonal food vendors and art installations give the walk a diﬀerent character at diﬀerent times of year.