Rollerblading in Central Park
Let’s be honest: You have an urge to strap into some rollerblades and try crossing right over left. Of course, it’s been years since you’ve grapevined, and you wouldn’t be caught dead rollerblading somewhere near where you live. Well, there are other people out there just like you. So put on a helmet and wristguards (required) and join one of these free blading tours through Central Park. Afterwards, you can sit down with the group for dinner and drinks. You’ll have to pay for that, but the memories will be priceless.
Thursdays, Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park; 7, Free.
Ah, dodgeball, the gym-class activity that always ended with sitting in the nurse’s office. Now that we’re all grownup and can handle some rubber to the face, it’s time to play with the people at NYC Social Sports Club. They’ve got a league going, but you can also drop in to some of their games. Lace up your sneakers and buy a cup, because the balls are on the line.
Wednesdays, June 23 to Aug. 4, various locations, www.nycssc.com; 8-10, $15 and up.
Inner Tube Water Polo
One of the oldest continuous Olympic sports, water polo is like an aqueous mix of soccer and handball. Adding inner tubes to the game is an extra resistance challenge, an effective form of exercise and a great equalizer: It saves the aqua-impaired from the embarrassment of wearing water wings to the next match. This league’s deadline for individual or team registration is June 26, so butter up your friends or come and make new ones!
Fridays, June 26 through August, Lower East Side locations TBA, www.nycssc.com; 8, $100.
Come kick it like you used to during 5th-grade recess. Stick it to the playground bullies and prove that you don’t need arms to be a great athlete. Plus, players get special deals on drinks after the game (maybe a little different from the elementary school playground, but whatever).
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Lower East Side locations TBA, www.meetup.com/nykickball; 6, $100 for the season.
As the New York Times pointed out in late April, Ultimate is no longer associated with dirty hippies and collegians. Whether or not your response time is limited by smoking the happy lettuce, Ultimate can be an intensely challenging sport—just ask the folks in the internationally recognized competitions. A summer league is open through NYC Social Sports Club, but pickup games can be found all over the city, including Central Park.
Beach Volleyball Competition
Claiming to be the “largest free amateur beach volleyball” competition on the East Coast, 150 teams will compete for free elimination rounds starting in July. The best ballers can win great cash prizes. The NYC Parks Department hosts, and details will be released in June.
Ever since Captain Sully landed a plane in the Hudson, the polluted waterway has been one of the city’s most attractive destinations. Join in on the fun with Downtown Boathouse’s 20-minute long lessons. Wear something you don’t mind getting wet, and hop into a kayak.
Through Oct. 17, Pier 40, Pier 96 and Riverside Park at W. 72nd St., www.downtownboathouse.org; times vary, Free.
A staple of the Summer on the Hudson festival, Let’s Dance! is the best way to take the ballroom out of dancing and get down in a park. With professional lessons from the Piel Canela Dance and Music school, adventurous romantics can spend the night learning salsa, cha-cha or the bachata—a Dominican dance style similar to merengue.
Sundays, June 6 through 27, Pier 1 at Riverside Park, betw. W. 65th & W. 72nd Sts., www.riversideparkfund.org; 6, Free.
Midsummer Night Swing
For those looking to tear up the concrete with a pre-surgery Jennifer Grey look-alike, there is nowhere classier to do it than Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. Offering rockabilly, tango, soul, salsa, swing and more, acts like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra will provide foot-stomping sounds all through July. Dance lessons are offered at 6:30, with live music firing up about an hour later.
Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 29 through July 17, W. 62nd St. betw. Columbus and Amsterdam Aves., www.midsummernightswing.org; 6:30, $17.
Bastille Day Celebrations
Celebrated here on July 11, French Independence Day (which is actually July 14) celebrates the storming of Paris’ infamous political prison. In New York, Bastille Day is an excuse to play pétanque, eat crepes and get drunk in the sun on fancy wine. Although FI:AF hosts an annual Bastille day on E. 60th St. (betw. 5th & Madison Aves., www.bastilledaynyc.com), the real deal is in Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill, where sponsors like Ricard, the sizeable French expat population and Smith Street bistros hold the Gallic-themed street fests.
The quintessential American sport is fantastic outdoor exercise, and the Parks Department offers numerous opportunities to play, from working on your jump shot to finding a drop-in game in over 500 locations all over Manhattan—or you can join a league at Zog Sports.
Saturdays, various locations, www.zogsports.org.
Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest
An important holiday for New Yorkers, July 4 is when we celebrate an important American experience: stuffing our faces with hot dogs until our hearts pump sodium. This annual Independence Day competition has become its own spectator sport, attracting international competitors and some 30,000 people to view the contest—not to mention the million-plus that watch it on ESPN.
July 4, Coney Island Boardwalk, www.coneyisland.com; time TBA, Free.
Beach Fireworks at Coney Island
With the recession squashing developers’ plans faster than mice can make their own, our fears of losing Coney Island nights can go the way of the dodo. Friday night fireworks, which begin at 9:30 starting June 19, are accompanied by karaoke and best viewed from the top of Deno’s Wonderwheel.
Fridays, June 19 through Aug. 14, Coney Island Boardwalk at W. 12th St., www.wonderwheel.com; 9:30, Free.