When you think of New York City, you probably picture the flashing lights of Times Square, the non-stop activity of the Wall Street trading floor and diners that are open 24/7.
Having been a resident of this fine city for over 15 years, I‘ll let you in on a little secret, no one can keep up this pace without taking advantage of all the healthy and wellness opportunities that allow you to recover in your downtime.
Here are Eight Wellness Things to Do in NYC that will make you feel like a local:
1. View the City from an elevated perch: Iconic landmarks make up the famous New York skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the best places to take in that view. Day or night, you’ll find the pedestrian walkway teeming with bikers, boot camp classes, or people just out for an evening stroll along this 1-mile stretch over the East River. If you’d rather get more of an insiders view of the city, (yes you can see into The Standard Hotel rooms), try the High Line. Two sections of this currently mile long above ground park are open so you can stop and smell the flowers.
2. Bike Governor’s Island (May – September): This 172-acre island was once home to the US Coast Guard. In 2003, the US government sold the island to the city of New York for $1 and since then NYC has committed to offering free events in the summer months. Take your bike or rent one on the island and ride past the former Coast Guard forts, see the various sculpture exhibits on display or amp up the activity and take a trapeze lesson.
3. Shop the farmers market: You’ll find farmers markets year round in NYC. The most famous one is the Greenmarket, which takes place 4 times a week in Union Square. But the cool kids have discovered the newest addition, New Amsterdam Market, which takes place in the old Fulton Fish Market in the South Street Seaport. Every Sunday you can find regional, seasonal ingredients sold from Apiaries to Z Food Farms zucchini. Famous restaurants such as Morris Grilled Cheese and Mas (la grillade) have been known to test their new products here too.
4. Take a Fitness Class: With a yoga studio on every corner, you won’t have a problem finding a class to walk into, but if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, you’ve come to the creative capital of the world. Try an Aerial Fabric class at MMAC, they’ll have you feeling like a cast member of Cirque du Soleil in no time. Or, if dancing is more your speed, head over to Broadway Bodies where actual Broadway dancers teach you the steps that everyone from Beyonce to Michael Jackson have preformed on stage.
5. Dine Organic: New York City is a foodie’s paradise and eating organic doesn’t mean you have to compromise taste. If you’re looking for a sit down dinner at a chic neighborhood spot, don’t miss Sanctuary T in Soho. The food is complimented by the extensive tea and cocktail list. Need a small bite to pack for a picnic lunch? Hit up one of Organic Avenue’s four locations and choose from a variety of organic, vegan goodies.
6. Ice Skate at Rockefeller Center (Oct – April): You’ve seen the tree lighting ceremony on TV, now that you’re in town, head to Rockefeller Center and experience this time honored winter tradition. Skate rental and private lessons are available if you don’t want to take a spin on your own.
7. Cook at the Natural Gourmet Institute: Evening and weekend classes are offered in everything from Basic Knife skills to the Art of Homemade Tofu at this NY Institute. Founded 1977, the center’s known for it’s founding principle that what we eat significantly affects our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. This is one stop shopping for a balanced body!
8. Treat yourself to a spa day: Manhattan might be an island, but I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim in the surroundings waters. Instead, take advantage of the indoor water features NYC has to offer. The water lounge at the Great Jones Spa is like nothing else the city has to offer. Centered around a three-story waterfall, the thermal hot tub, cold plunge pool, rock sauna and chakra steam room are worth the $50/day splurge. If you’re looking for something less glamorous, but just as fun, try the Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village, they’ve been around for over 100 years and offer co-ed hours.
Linden Schaffer makes NYC her home when she’s not traveling the world spreading a message of health and wellness. As founder of Pravassa, a wellness travel company, Linden creates getaways to exotic locals which gives clients the opportunity to expand their minds and open themselves to new experiences through yoga, fitness, food, massage and culture. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.