Bask in the Morning Gloryville
If the city never sleeps, it’s only because it got up early to dance its tuchus off. When busy New Yorkers need to fit in work, exercise, party, and a little consciousness elevation, they don’t choose, they combine it all at Morning Gloryville. It’s a rave minus drugs, but plus a physical regimen. Net result: clean high! You’ll bang out your workout with bangin’ beats (including live instruments), all while making friends, since you’re at a party. Why wait for the nightlife when the dawn life will jumpstart you right now? Don’t worry, it’s hippie enough that you’ll be relaxed the rest of the day... just don’t start mangling the definitions of “light” and “consciousness” into some metaphysical pap, and you’ll be alright.
Go fish at Sushi on Jones
Sushi for breakfast? No better way to refresh your perspective than with some light and lean protein. Chef David Bouhadana opens early for his streetside omakase experience. Although he’s one of the city’s more in-demand sushi chefs, you won’t have any competition for his showmanship this early at the open-air conclave where the Bowery starts to Jones. At an affordable price and the closest thing to a street sushi experience in NYC (and frankly... probably as close as that food should come to one), you’ll never believe such a lifelong commitment to a single food can come out of one tiny kiosk.
Take the Putnam Trail to Tibbetts Brook
Kingsbridge to Yonkers
Hop on a bike and escape NYC via the secret train path: follow an overgrown track in the Bronx’s Van Cortland Park for the trains that used to be, past stones that competed to form the basis of Grand Central Station. The whole span has the eerie feel of passing into a hidden world, or traveling to a century after humans have vanished. When you finally emerge in a side trail behind an industrial lot, you’re not even in the city anymore... and Yonkers’ arboreal glory (don’t laugh) unfolds before you in Tibbetts Brook, one of the nation’s most beautiful city parks.
Find the secret of life at The Louis Armstrong House Museum
Day dating is the best, and if you want a date to walk away smiling, head for Corona. Louis Armstrong was that rare thing: a successful guy who knew what he wanted from life. He used his wealth to get a few great things that make a man happy, then spent the rest of his time and money making his neighborhood a better place, educating the youth about music (local kids still lead the house tours), befriending a young Tony Bennett, defying racism by simply going where he wanted, and making it a wonderful world. Before you’re even inside, hear the story about next door, where a woman woke up to find her famous neighbor fixing her steps with his bricklaying skills, unasked and for free. That’s the kind of human heart you’re touring here!
Burn it all down with Metal Yoga Bones at The Cobra Club
Bushwick / Greenpoint
Shift your notions of what yoga is from “heavy stretching” to apocalyptic visions of head-banging bliss taught by Saskia Thode (that name’s metal), a German-born (so metal) second-generation metalhead (metal!) who is an experienced Vinyasa teacher. Thode’s class puts the “of Ragnarok” into “Warrior [of Ragnarok] pose,” so let down thy man-bun to head bang! This class lets you rock out with your chakra out in a bar, so you can conclude your workout with booze. Now that’s metal. (Or coffee. That’s grunge.)
Get pickled at Jacob’s Pickles
Forget your ideas of little round biscuits and pickled cucumbers (but those too): Jacob’s Pickles is a brunch favorite because it will dip any dang vegetable it can in salt and vinegar brine, coupled with ginormous wedge-shaped biscuits that make for some good and filling southern comfort. Even their classic kosher dills contain a crunchy kick of horseradish. Do you like bacon, bourbon, and butter? Because that’s what you’re in for here.
Take off for the day at Liberty Helicopter
YEAH! You’re in a helicopter in New York City! This is just like Grand Theft Auto V but with infinitely fewer 12-year-olds swearing at you. See the city from a completely new perspective and marvel at your pilot’s yaw control. Bonus: you can scope out places you’d like to visit once you land.
Flip for Barstarzz
It's free! It's insane! These Instagram-famous acrobats will have you doing a human flag in no time, and you’ll realize you never need a gym again, just a couple of bars. Gathering at Fort Tryon Park every Saturday for an intense group workout, this supportive group hangs out afterward to motivate and educate during a freestyle session. Watch athletes launch themselves in flips and loops around the park equipment, pursuing new limits to their physical ability, and maybe become one of them? Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Or at least, that’s what you’ll say once you bask in their decidedly un-NYC positivity. Go now and say you were at The Muscle Beach of the East in its early days. And also there’s no beach. But there’s a river, and that’s nice too!
Get fired up at Frying Pan
All that working out made you thirsty, and all that workout near the river made you naval. Only solution is to sip cocktails on a boat. The city’s magnificent Hudson River Greenway spans before you, and the cocktails are excellent yet light enough to leave you with a full head of steam for the rest of the day. Consider this a recharge and a revision of the city: behold it from the open sea.*
See Manhattan in the 18th century at the Morris-Jumel Mansion
Perched atop Coogan’s Bluff, the Morris-Jumel Mansion overlooks a long swath of the Harlem River. Its cobblestone street and splendid gardens make it easy to imagine in its original state, when Washington headquartered here (as did the Redcoats. Boooo!). Given how relentlessly New York the surrounding neighborhood is, take this moment to enjoy the island as something other than a cluster of pharmacies and double-parked cars. Bonus: running perpendicular to Manhattan’s oldest standing house is Sylvan Terrace, a gorgeously quaint rack of homes in the seat of the Harlem Renaissance.
Kick it up at Throwback Fitness
Most people hate going to the gym because it’s a chore. “Ugh, cardio,” they groan, as they curl dumbbells which they also hate (that’s right, they’re not even doing cardio yet, just dreading it). Boo, life’s too short to do boring stuff. Get cut the fun way! Dodgeball, capture the flag, and more games bring back the recess to your progress. If you can’t have fun smacking your best friend in the face with a kickball, kid, you can’t have fun.
Whiskey, you’re the devil, you’re leading us to Kings County Distillery
What are all these aged barrels of whiskey doing in the middle of our 21st-century city? Taking on delicious terpenes and making good use of all that Brooklyn Navy Yard just sitting there, that’s what. Tour the facilities and learn about the beautiful art of small-batch distillation with a distinctly Kings County bent. Brooklyn is the home of DIY and epicurean delights, and this brewery is both of those things. And now they have a garden where you can sip freshly-aged (is that a real thing?) cocktails. You just might be inspired to go home and make a batch of artisanal pickles.
Smile at Crocodile Lounge
What in this world is more uplifting than free pizza? Only pizza that comes free with every beer. The positive feedback loop of this “Hey, that’s not bad!” personal pan with a pilsner is that your thirst begets hunger, which begets thirst, which begets PILZOR, ancient Mediterranean god of wheat, summoned by your sacrifices to his bounty.
Rub a dub or two in Le Bain at The Standard Highline
“Le Bain” is French for “tub, but in French” and the eponymous hot tub gets all the press on the 18th floor of this ultra-chic Meatpacking dance destination. The tub and its surroundings get exclusive at night, when entry becomes challenging and pricey, but right now? It’s all yours. Is there a better way to take in the city skyline than drinking in a hot tub at midday? Yes: while eating a crêpe, which they thoughtfully provide.
Horse around at Lynne’s Riding Center
Carriage rides are for tourists. Real New Yorkers grab the reins. Yes indeed, you can ride a steed without ever leaving NYC. Lynne’s Riding Center in Flushing will put you atop one of our equestrian friends to gallop through Forest Park. It’s a study in contrasts, as you’re ducking branches even as the trail cuts under the highway. You’ve never seen New York till you’ve seen it on a forest trail, cantering at 1/2 a horsepower. Also, count how many parts of the trail you recognize from shows like The Americans, Fringe, and anything about cops or lawyers.
Watch the sun set over the city... from a jet ski
The whole damn city
Sure, a rooftop is a great way to take in the city at dusk, but why obstruct your views when you can do a full loop around the island as the buildings turn cherry-red from the west? By the time the rush wears off, you’ll probably be explaining to your new friends you just met at the bar how you went looking for the true heart of New York, but instead you, like, found yourself, man. Whoa. That’s deep. Much like the waters that you lanced through, screaming “Wahoooooooo!” for two gorgeous hours.
Agree to Let Me Break You Up
Chelsea / Williamsburg
Comedian Carly Ann Filbin’s anti-dating show tests numerous couples, and then formally declares the pair with the fewest points at the end of the night a lost cause. Presumably everyone has a good laugh and then the “losers” work doubly hard to win next week. So in a way this is couples therapy? It’s for sure a fresh way to look at your relationship and value what you have. Available in both Brooklyn & Manhattan formats.
Bring balance to your force with the New York Jedi
Technically, it's sword-fighting lessons with some backflips. Practically, it's that cool hum you do anytime you pick up a broom. But hey, you’ll be one of the few survivors in the clone apocalypse. Sadly, they can’t help you build up your ESP or telekinesis, which is a shame, because difficult to see the future is, and it would really have helped to get a new perspective on it.
Enjoy a private dance party in a public park
What the Float is a headphone-led pied piper party that starts downtown, then dances to slamming beats live-curated by DJs as you groove your way uptown. It’s like that Uptown Funk video come to life and it actually crawls uptown. Let others on the street stare. They’re weird, not you! You’re dancing and celebrating life while they hurry to jobs they hate so they can afford apartments they loathe so they can live near those same jobs. It’s a self-perpetuating scam, buddy, and the only way out is to dance for your life.
Raise your drink as high as you can at Bar 54
The highest vantage point from which you can legally drink in NYC. You may raise an elegant, effervescent cocktail to this city. Dress nicely, make a reservation, and get out of there after one slowly sipped cocktail. While you’re taking in the twilight vista, don’t forget to people watch.
Deprive your senses, indulge your soul at Lift / Next Level Floats
It’s been a long day and you’ve hauled your happy self all over the city. Rest those feet and everything else with a visit to the sensory deprivation tank. Nothing like total isolation to shift your perspective! Float for an hour, then hit the city for the last lap, completely refreshed and revved up.
Strike oil at Houston Hall
Fusion too often just means using American cheese on a dish that never asked for it. Never again, now that you eat at this gigantic former stable where items like Reuben spring rolls and Buffalo chicken wontons pair east and west -- or chicken tikka masala wontons fry edible gold via east and more east. And that’s before you order a gourmet grilled cheese which makes that not a scoffable term. The surroundings themselves feel like some kind of movie scene.
Say yes to House of Yes
If Cirque du Soleil also produced plays, dance parties, and... brunch? It would be this multimedia sanctum sanctorum that tries to tilt every experience into new territory. For example, talking is forbidden at their “Body Language Dance Party.” You want to flirt, you’d better let your hips do the talking, ‘cause they don’t lie.
Gaze into Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
Is it possible to perform 30 plays in an hour? The NY Neo-Futurists seem to think so. Despite everything you thought you knew about theater, you can undergo a dramatic journey in just two minutes... thirty times.
Go for one last Spin
You’ll rethink everything a club/lounge can be, as the chic and gorgeous crowd here (which frequently hosts owner Susan Sarandon’s celebrity friends) is impossibly chill. There’s no posturing or meat-market aggression, just a love of ping-pong, some intense Fight Club vibes from the pro players, and the always nifty literal floor show of barbacks scoop-sweeping up ping-pong balls nonstop.