Boasting some of the USA’s top sports teams, acres of parkland and beaches and state-of-the-art sports complexes, New York is a sports hotbed, offering the very best in spectator sports and a comprehensive array of activities for lovers of the great outdoors. The city’s best indoor participant sports venue is the ultra-modern Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, a 12-hectare (30-acre) facility situated on four beautifully restored early 20th-century piers at 23rd Street at West Side Highway, on the Hudson River. The complex has everything from a rock-climbing wall to an inline skating rink.
Visitors interested in tickets to the top sporting events in the city should book in advance, as seasonal sell-outs are not uncommon. Ticketmaster (tel: (212) 307 7171; website: www.ticketmaster.com) is the best and most recognised way for one to purchase a ticket to a New York sporting event.
With two Major League teams, the baseball season, which runs from April to October, attracts huge crowds to two major stadiums in the area. Shea Stadium, 123–01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens (tel: (718) 507 METS or 6387 or TIXX or 8499 for tickets), is home to the New York Mets (website: www.mets.com). The New York Yankees (website: www.yankees.com), the most successful baseball team in US history, can be found at Yankee Stadium, East 161st Street and River Avenue, in the Bronx (tel: (718) 293 6000).
The local basketball season runs from October to April. MadisonSquareGarden, Seventh Avenue, between 31st Street and 33rd Street, Manhattan (tel: (212) 465 6741; website: www.thegarden.com), is the home of the celebrated New York Knickerbockers, or Knicks (website: www.nba.com/knicks), as well as New York Liberty (website: www.wnba.com/liberty), the popular women’s team.
American football teams from New York include the Giants (tel: (201) 935 8222; website: www.giants.com) and New York Jets (tel: (516) 560 8200; website: www.newyorkjets.com). The American football season kicks off in September. These two leading teams now play in New Jersey, at the Giants Stadium, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website: www.meadowlands.com). Tickets sell out well in advance and there are long waiting lists.
Ice hockey is also hugely popular and the National Hockey League (NHL) teams include the local New York Rangers (website: www.newyorkrangers.com). The team plays at MadisonSquareGarden (see above). Other local teams include New York Islanders (tel: (800) 883 ISLES or (800) 8834 7537; website: www.newyorkislanders.com), whose home ground is the Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale (tel: (516) 794 9300; website: www.nassaucoliseum.com), and New Jersey Devils (website: www.newjerseydevils.com), who play at the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website: www.meadowlands.com).
The Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Queens, hosts the US Open Tennis Championships (website: www.usta.com), which takes place in late August to early September, featuring some of the world’s top seeded players.
Beaches: There are several beaches in New York City, such as Coney Island, BrightonBeach and Manhattan Beach. The best beaches for tanning and swimming, however, are located on Long Island (see Excursions).
Bowling: Bowlmor Lanes, 110 University Place, between 12th Street and 13th Street (tel: (212) 255 8188), is Manhattan’s premier bowling centre with 42 lanes and an atmosphere of 1950s kitsch. The venue, which serves pricey cocktails, becomes a veritable nightclub on some evenings, when it is open until the wee hours, with a DJ and glow-in-dark bowling on offer.
Fitness centres: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6000; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is a 14,000sq-metre (150,000sq-foot) adult sports and fitness club. Facilities include an indoor track and swimming pool, sundecks, basketball courts, an indoor sand volleyball court, boxing ring, rock climbing wall and gym. Day membership passes cost US$50 and allow access to all facilities.
Golf: The Black Course at BethpageState Park, 99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale (tel: (516) 249 0700), was the first public golf course to host the US Open. It is located just east of the city, on Long Island. Play costs approximately US$30, depending upon the course chosen. Clearview Golf Club, 202–12 Willets Point Boulevard (tel: (718) 225 4653), is open to the public for US$22 (weekdays) and US$24 (weekends). The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers, Pier 59, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6400; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is America’s most high-tech super range. There is a 200-yard fairway, all-weather driving range, putting green and a full-service GolfAcademy. A session on the driving range starts at US$20 and prices rise with the number of balls used in session. American Golf (website: www.americangolf.com) allows online booking of tee times.
Horseracing: New Yorkers love the races and the main racetracks include Aqueduct Racetrack, OzonePark, Queens (tel: (718) 641 4700), and Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford (tel: (201) 935 8500).
Running: New York Road Runners Club, 9 East 89th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue (tel: (212) 860 4455; website: www.nyrr.org), are the organisers of the NYC Marathon and promote the sport through races, events and publications.
Sailing: Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers, West 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 5600; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is the city’s largest marina, featuring a sailing school as well as boats for dinner cruising and deep-sea fishing.
Skating/ice skating: The Roller Rinks at Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6200; website: www.chelseapiers.com), has two indoor ice skating rinks, two outdoor in-line/roller skating rinks and a skate park. There are two outdoor ice skating rinks with skate hire in Central Park, 59th Street to 110th Street, and one in the Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, 47th Street to 52nd Street (see Sightseeing).
Tennis: The tennis courts at Central Park, located at 93rd Street (tel: (212) 280 0201), are open to the public during the summer.