The guides from Wilderness Rocks help urban dwellers escape to nature with five- to six-hour day trips through the Catskills and beyond. Groups of up to 14 get scooped up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and whisked away from the concrete jungle's hectic routine of hailing taxis and dodging falling coconuts under the Panamanian Consulate. Departing throughout the year, hike options range from the Catskills snowshoe trip on February 11—a 6-mile trek through the snowy sanctum of the Catskill Mountains—to the Pound Mountain trip on April 7, which involves moderate rock climbing and spelunking. Rather than sprinting ahead to nab the freshest, most coveted pinecones, guides make several stops along the way, allowing everyone to catch their breath and take in the serenity of their surroundings. Once hikers have finished each trail, Wilderness Rocks transports the group back to the 86th Street rendezvous point with nothing but their gear, memories, and carefully rehearsed alibis. Before departure, check each trip's page for departure times, clothing requirements, and what equipment to bring.
The nonprofit Asphalt Green keeps children, teens, and adults in shape with an array of fitness, swim, and sports activities and programs. Members enjoy full access to a 15,000-square-foot duplex fitness center lined with Precor and Technogym equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals with built-in TV screens. In the gym's weightlifting area, patrons can take a breather between reps as they gaze at picturesque views from the gym’s adjoining roof deck. Swimmers of all abilities glide through the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, once home to Olympic bronze medalist Lia Neal and currently the home of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Those opting for fitness classes can choose from 80 different sessions weekly—from Zumba and Pilates to martial arts to swimming. The gym also offers training programs and seminars for triathletes, a variety of community outreach programs including adaptive swim for veterans, and kid-focused summer and sport camps to keep young ones from making bad decisions, such as using chewing gum to plug up holes in dams. Patrons can also take advantage of the center’s babysitting services, which are open to children ages 6 months to 6 years.
Nocturnal chowhounds can sink their canines into the hunger helpers on Prohibition Room's dinner menu, available every night until 1 a.m. Before indulging in the full-size foodstuff, ready your meal sack with mussels and sausage ($10), a land-meets-sea medley of Prince Edward Island mussels, Thai sausage, and roasted red peppers swimming in a spicy beer broth with artisan bread. Evade ornate epithets with the big sandwich ($15), a protein packer piled with turkey, corned beef, roast beef, pepperoni, provolone, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion, with horseradish aioli on toasted focaccia bread. Veggie adventurists can frolic in the jungles of the grilled-vegetable sandwich ($10), a surfeit of zucchini, roasted peppers, tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzarella, and homemade pesto aioli on a hoagie roll, and carnivores can devour the meaty glory of the Kobe meatloaf ($16). Prohibition Room also offers a sprinkling of soups ($3–$5), salads ($3–$10), and pastas, ($12–$14), as well as a lunch menu with similar stomach stuffers for just a few pence less.
Studded with old-fashioned marquis bulbs, an unassuming sign beckons bar hoppers to Off the Rails' newly renovated interior graced with vivid graffiti, wall-spanning chalkboards, and rustic wood décor. Lambent light and convivial conversation spill out from elegant french windows at the Upper East Side watering hole, where 20 on-tap beers from the likes of Harpoon and Goose Island flow beneath shelves of premium liquors and trick wine bottles filled with spring-loaded corks. Homemade meatballs and barbecue-chicken sliders headline a menu of upscale pub grub with vegetarian options, as well as bottomless brunch fare including brioche french toast and daily pasta specials.