In 1931, aviation legends such as Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart traversed the hallowed halls of Floyd Bennett Field, New York City's first municipal airport. Today, the same site harbors Aviator Sports and Events Center, which accommodates recreation in all of its forms, equipped with 20,000 square foot indoor field house, which includes newly resurfaced hardwood courts and new turf field, two outdoor synthetic-turf fields, and an outdoor space for events that can seat up to 4,000 people?the same number of people it takes to crack open a life-size Big Bird pi?ata. Twin NHL-regulation rinks host open-skate sessions, a majority of which are held on Rink B, every day of the week, with skates as late as 11 p.m. on weekends. Inside the center is a brand new CrossFit gym, which offers workout classes Monday through Saturday. Only youngsters enjoy summer or after-school camps, but adults and kids alike can take advantage of a roster of sports and leagues, including flag football and rock climbing, ideal for those looking to shorten morning commutes by cutting through the quarry.
City Ice Pavilion's NHL-sized rooftop rink is open to ice-capaders year-round. That's thanks, in part, to the large weatherproof dome that curves over the the interior and gives it a cavernous feel, much like the ancient ice skating rinks found in pyramids. Aspiring skaters can take lessons, then try out their new skills during public skate sessions or adult or youth hockey leagues. Besides classes and open skating times, the Ice Pavilion also hosts a wide range of skating-themed events, including a regular morning coffee club for experienced adult skaters.
Relaxing and working out don't usually go hand-in-hand, but things aren't usual at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. As soon as visitors set foot in the Mind Body Studio, they're set at ease by a modern lounge area, which boasts sleek bamboo floors, exposed brick walls, and sprigs of verdant plants. Inside the workout space, classes such as yoga and the barre method emphasize the mind-body connection. The Nalini Method classes also push students toward inner harmony with a combination of Pilates, aerobics, barre work, and yoga, helping students de-stress while
toning limbs and burning calories without ever tossing any cheesecakes into open flames.
Steeplechase caters to serious skaters and blade bush leaguers alike with a variety of semiprivate lessons. Helmed by instructors belonging to the U.S. Figure Skating Association, classes span an array of styles, including figure skating, dance, freestyle, and hockey. Students will learn how to impress skeptical sidekicks with fundamental skating techniques, specialized ice skills, and the basic moves required for killer reenactments of Citizen Kane on ice. Enrollees are encouraged bring their own skates and gloves (rental is $4.50), and admission to the rink ($8) is not included.
From November until early March, it becomes impossible to walk across Bryant Park. You have to skate across. The grounds' 170'x100' ice rink acts as the swirling hub of the Bank of America Winter Village. There's no admission fee to glide over the ice?though guests do pay for rental skates if they don't bring or grow their own?and entertainment such as skating shows and lessons keep the rink bustling. Between twirls, visitors can glide by the Ice Bites shop for cups of hot chocolate and snacks.
The rink may be the Winter Village's largest attraction, but there's plenty more to the holiday-themed wonderland. More than 125 gift shops line the park's terraces with jewelry, decor, food, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Within sight of the holiday tree and its nests of newly-hatched flying reindeer, the two-story Celsius restaurant serves upscale sandwiches and other warming eats. A variety of other events pack the calendar, including holiday movies on the park's Southwest Porch and gift-wrapping services at a special kiosk.
There's just something magical about the holidays and in North Brooklyn, McCarren Rink seems particularly full of holiday cheer. Ice skaters twirl and glide against the picturesque backdrop of the nearby lighted archway as McCarren Park is transformed into a winter wonderland.
The scenic rink is open through January 4, and McCarren Rink also offers group rates and lessons. When they need a break, skaters can grab snacks and drinks at the concession stand or attempt to sell a nearby snowman a timeshare in their freezer.