City Walks: Two's Company
So you've bought your concert tickets, and you're heading to the Hamptons for July 4th. But how are you going to spend the other 10 weekends this summer? Here are a few pleasant ways for you and a friend to pass the day in Manhattan heat.
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By Ansley Roche
June 23, 2006
Warm weather in New York is why God gave us outdoor seating, not to mention lawns and free concerts. After months of relentless cold, we are finally rewarded with blooming flowers, high pollen levels, ample sunshine, and opportunities for adventure. Adventures are fun flying solo, but sharing the treasures you find along the way is much more satisfying. So grab a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or the stranger you just passed and explore our treasure-laden city with a few pointers from us.
If you look around the parks of New York, it may seem that the only forms of exercise are running, cycling, rollerblading, and running. But Chelsea Piers houses two climbing walls, one for beginners and one for hardcore climbers. While it may look daunting, getting your feet off the ground can be liberating, and the wall crew at Chelsea Piers has you on a short leash. Go ahead, cheer your climbing buddy to the top.
With over 30 acres of sporting fun spanning four piers, Chelsea Piers is the largest area of New York construction that is built with the open space necessary to house any and every activity you and a friend could want. Strap on some skates and cool down your summer on the Sky Rink (free skate from 1:30-5:20pm most weekdays, 1:00-3:50pm weekends). And while commuters contemplate driving their car into the Hudson, take turns driving some balls toward the Hudson at the full length driving range.
Grab a smoothie at the café, before heading east through the cobbled streets to check out contemporary artists make waves in the galleries of Chelsea. The Gagosian at 555 W. 24th showcases Richard Serra, the mininalist sculptor known for his curving metal walls that create spaces to walk through. The show runs until mid August.
To replenish your tired muscles, go for natural at Gobo (401 Ave. of Americas, between Waverly Place and 8th Street), a vegetarian restaurant that will tempt all five senses and leave you asking “Why did I ever ask, ‘where’s the beef’?”
You did it during the transit strike, and you probably did it when your cousins came into town. And every time you do it, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is really cool. You have your very own walking path, a spectacular view, and a history lesson at the base of each tower. Before starting on the Manhattan side of the bridge, give your stomach a reason to smile with a Bob Marley’s Last Burrito or a Mega Soy Burrito at the nearest Burritoville (20 John Street, between Broadway and Nassau).
The pilgrimage starts across the street from the 4/5/6 Brooklyn Bridge stop on Centre Street. Just over a mile in length, the walk across the bridge will not go unrewarded. If the Brooklyn Bridge is your rainbow, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is your pot of gold at the end. Their hand made ice cream is made with all natural ingredients and the view of the city is stunning, even if you have become jaded by all of the buildings. Depending on your budget and your leg muscles, hop on a water taxi for pier-to-pier service, or grab some water, and conquer for a second time today the East River’s most photogenic bridge.
Cook for Two
With great weather comes great produce. And making the summer squashes, ripe tomatoes, and fresh herbs taste good doesn’t require much work. Together with your cooking partner, pick a simple recipe that features one or many of summer’s vegetables, make a grocery list, and head to the Union Square Farmers Market (open Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat).
Don’t own a cookbook? Let the produce be your guide. If the tomatoes look plump, grab a few along with a handful of basil and a ball of buffalo mozzarella from upstate New York. Slice it all up and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Appetizer done.
Main course woes? Literally grab one of every available vegetable, a head of garlic, a loaf of crusty bread, a bottle of local wine, and head back to your kitchen. Split up the chopping, and cut all of the vegetables into uniform chunks, about 2-by- 1-inch cubes.
Finely chop the garlic, throw it in a large sauté pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, let it cook for about one minute and start adding the vegetables, starchier ones first, such as potatoes and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Let this simmer while you and your sous-chef drink and eat bread and cheese. If the vegetables start to look dry, splash in a little of the wine. Plate the vegetables, garnish with some of the basil, and drink up the remaining minutes of extra daylight, not to mention the remaining drops of wine.