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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Get Fit for Free in NYC

New York City can be expensive, but there are also affordable activities if you know where to look.  And nothing can be more affordable than free.  Here are some summer activities that will get you moving and don't cost a cent. 

Free Kayaking and Canoeing

The Downtown Boathouse is a non-profit organization run by volunteers committed to providing free access to the New York City harbor. On weekends and holidays from mid-May to mid-October, visit one of their 3 locations in Manhattan to take a free 20-minute paddle on the Hudson River: Pier 40 near West Houston Street, Pier 96 near West 57th Street, and Riverside Park at West 72nd Street. They supply kayaks, paddles, life vests and friendly tips. Kayaking experience is not necessary but participants must know how to swim. They also offer three-hour trips (also free) on the Hudson River from mid-June to mid-September for experienced kayakers.

Every weather-permitting Saturday from spring through fall, the New York Outrigger Club offers 3 free novice sessions in outrigger canoeing from Pier 66 near West 26th Street and West Side Highway (just north of Chelsea Piers) on the Hudson River. Open to local residents 14 years and older, the sessions last approximately one hour and 15 minutes, starting at 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

The Long Island Boathouse offers free kayaking in Hallets Cove near Socrates Sculpture Park every Sunday this summer, weather permitting. Reservations are not required and paddles are offered on a fist-come-first-served basis. They also offer longer weekday paddles with views of Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn that do require reservations. Visit their website for details and schedules. 

Free Yoga

Teachers from the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center offer free classes at the 14th Street Park in Chelsea every Wednesday night from 7 to 8 pm though September 29. 

Shape Up NYC

Shape Up NYC offers free classes throughout the 5 boroughs and all ages are eligible: children, adults and seniors. Taught by expert fitness instructors who make exercise fun, choices range from pilates and yoga to aerobics and zumba. Pre-registration is not required but first-time participants are asked to fill out this form and bring it to their first class. 

Free Bike Fridays

Bike and Roll in New York City is offering free one-hour bike rentals at two locations on Governor's Island every Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through October 8th. Free ferries depart hourly from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. Check the current schedule for details and directions.

The New York City Water Taxi offers more frequent Friday service to Governor's Island from the South Street Seaport, DUMBO and Pier 6 in Brooklyn. Tickets cost $2 for a single ride or $3 round trip. 

Be Fit NYC

On the first Monday of every month, recreation centers around New York City offer free classes and use of their facilites. Visit their website to find a center near you.

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