Keep fit and active while seeing the sights of New York City

Credit to Author: Dave Pottinger| Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2020 20:13:06 +0000

The best way to see New York City is from the Hudson River aboard a sunset cruise with champagne in hand. I’ve seen it from  the from the observatory deck of the classic wood-trimmed Yacht Manhattan as the cityscape lights up.

The 1920s-style motored yacht took us around the island of Manhattan past the Financial District, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, and under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges all in less than 2 hours.

I didn’t have a lot of time in “the city that never sleeps” and at times I was tempted not to sleep, for fear of missing out. I was in New York with a plan– see the city, but keep up my fitness resolution – wellness by day, glamour by night.

Hence the glass of champagne, compliments of Classic Harbor Line which operates the Yacht Manhattan from Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. As the sun went down and evening turned into night, we approached “The Lady” – as the city began to light up.

The next morning I was up in time to catch the sunrise and get in some yoga. A small group gathered for the 90-minute Sunrise Yoga Walk hosted by Fit Tours NYC. The company caters to active tourists by offering exercise plans for all fitness levels. Our walk included stretching and light yoga (no mats needed), along the waterfront and from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Fit Tours NYC offers guided fitness tours in New York City. Fit Tours NYC

Later to get a street-level tour of Brooklyn we met up with Tony Mantione, the owner of Brooklyn Bike Tours.

Tony’s been living in Brooklyn for more than 50 years and knows its history and present day development like the back of his hand. You won’t find a more enthusiastic and passionate ambassador for Brooklyn, and its’ residents. And if you want to find New York’s best pizza place – Tony’s also your guy.

The company advertises four Brooklyn tours to choose from; pizza trending at sunset, a desserts tour, a tasting tour and a brownstone tour, but Tony knows Brooklyn so well he customizes and blends the tour depending on the group going out.

I have a sweet tooth and I figured the pedalling would work off the calories so Tony to lead us to the best pizza joints and dessert places.

The best way to see Brooklyn is by bike. Brooklyn Bike Tours

The unhurried five-hour tour included a lot of stops for stories, sightseeing and of course, eating. Two of my favourite stops were Roberta’s for authentic wood-fired Italian pizza, and the vintage Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain – the shop is housed in a 1920s building and has real red twirling stools.

I didn’t once have to reach into my purse as Tony picks up the tab, including drinks, everywhere we stopped.

We worked off the calories by peddling through the cobblestone streets to Domino Park, Brooklyn Navy to see distilleries and studios, Brooklyn Heights with its terracotta street signs highlighting historic districts and “Dumbo” – Down Under The Manhattan Bridge. My favourite neighbourhood was Williamsburg for it’s view of the waterfront and the numerous murals and artistic graffiti that brighten the blocks.

Williamsburg, is known for its street art.

To see the major attractions of New York, get the CityPASS. It’s good for nine consecutive days, and allowed us to skip the lineups at some venues and was almost half the cost of what we would have paid for separate admission at each place.

The pass allows admission to: The Empire State Building, The American Museum of National History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Ferry Access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. (You can swap out some of these for other attractions if you want.)

Access to Top of the Rock, is included in the CityPASS. op of the Rock

First stop for us The Empire State Building. From the 86th floor observation deck we enjoyed spine-tingling 360-degree views of the city. I couldn’t get enough of the views and so I went back for a return trip that night to see the glamour at night. (CityPASS allows one entry during the day and another the same night.)

We explored the Met Cloisters at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Upper Manhattan and the Rubin Museum of Art in Midtown Manhattan. I got to the Rubin in time to join in on a 45-minute meditation class with a 100 others.

And then it was time for some pampering at Saks Fifth Avenue. On the second floor is FaceGym billed as the “world’s first gym for your face.” An inspirational quote one of the walls announces “It’s not a facial, it’s a workout” but if so, it was the easiest and most enjoyable workout I’ve ever had.

A trainer, or was it a masseuse, massaged and manipulated face muscles I never knew I had. The experience left me feeling younger and with a smile on my face.

And that’s how I left New York – with a smile on my face, and not an inch more on my waistline.

Getting There:

Cathay Pacific flies direct from Vancouver to New York. A business class ticket allows you free access to the fully-catered lounge at JFK and the lounge at YVR. Vancouver International Airport’s Cathay Pacific lounge was designed by Studioilse, the London-based design firm led by Ilse Crawford. The lounge features warm, natural materials like wood and stone. The lounge is open to First and Business Class passengers travelling on Cathay Pacific and members of the Marco Polo Club with Silver Card status or above and members of all tiers who earn lounge passes and/or their friends and family, including oneworld members with Sapphire status or above.

Where to stay:

The lobby at 1 Hotel Central Park. 1 Hotel Central Park

1 Hotel New York
There are two beautiful eco-friendly 5-star 1 Hotels in New York. A natural sanctuary in the middle of Manhattan, one block south of Central Park; and another in Brooklyn, with a rooftop pool with views of the Manhattan skyline.
Each time I walked into 1 Hotel Central Park it gave a sense of freshness with its nature inspired themes. Along from its visual appeal, the hotel has a sense of euphoria with its signature scent which is a combination of musk, earthy tree moss, eucalyptus, cedar wood and oak wood. The waterfront 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge was named one of the 10 best hotels in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Harriet’s rooftop patio at 1 Hotel Brooklyn. 1 Hotel Brooklyn