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Index of Listings by Category

See our pages on specific Physical Activities and also check out Summer Phys. Ed.

Don't neglect the beaches: Rockaway, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, are accessible by subway. Orchard Beach, a perfect crescent, can be reached by taking the #6 to its final stop in the Bronx, and changing to a local bus.

As schools eliminate their arts programs and minimize their phys. ed. programs, children become more lethargic and bored and less creative. It is the creative pursuits, the spirit of play, the practice of fine arts and performing arts, that keep us sharp for the more boring pen and paper tasks, and keep our minds awake and eager to do more.

Instead of banishing the arts and minimizing play while maximizing academics and test preparation, the ratio should be reversed. If the arts and physical activities took up the major portion of every day, and academic pursuits were relegated to less than a third of a child’s day, I believe children would perform better in all areas.
– Laurie Block Spigel, from Education Uncensored

Jogging in Central Park

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Phys. Ed.

Note that because of budget cuts, some City swimming pools, historic sites, etc. may be closed or have shorter hours. Be sure to check before planning your visit.

City Parks Foundation offers a wide array of programs throughout the five boroughs








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Phys. Ed.: NYS

Be Active New York State (NYS)

Be Active NYS works to increase physical activity, and to inspire citizens of New York State to be physically active in their daily lives.

Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (NYS)

The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for the youth of Eastern New York between the ages of 5 and 19.

Phys. Ed.: NYC


First Tee is an organization committed to:

Scholarships and opportunities to volunteer at major games available. Locations include Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and Moshulu Park in the Bronx.

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Ice Skating (NYC)

Grab your skates and head to one of the City's six ice skating rinks listed below:

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Walking (NYC)

See also Big Onion Walking Tours, Battery Park City Walking Tours, Union Square Walking Tour , Gargoyle Walking Tours, Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club

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Cycling (NYC / Year-round)

The new Citibike Program is availablae to over-16-year-olds. While not free, it offers a way to try out cycling.

There are "greenways" and bike paths throughout the five boroughs.

Safe Bicycling in New York City (pdf format). Contains a summary listing of the rules and regulations governing cycling.

NY Parks Afterschool Programs (NYC / September - June)

There is a free afterschool program in the NYC parks weekdays from 3-6, September - June, with a program combining athletics, art, and academics. Go to NY Parks Afterschool Program Information to find a recreation center in your borough or call (212) 360-3300.

Teens at Parks (NYC / Year-round)

A free citywide program of teen activities (sports, arts, academics) weekdays from 6-9 p.m. Check it out at Teens at Parks or contact the Director of Teens at Parks at (212) 360-3312 for more information.

Baseball - (NYC / May - June)

In NYC Parks, for ages 8-13, baseball is offered free on Saturdays May through June, Call 311 or go to Sports Clinics. For a page of sports leagues and little leagues go to Youth Sports Leagues.

Swimming (NYC / Year-round)

Free swimming lessons for toddlers ages 3 - 5, children ages 6 - 14, and adults, year-round. Registration is held at city pools two Saturday mornings in October, and again in January, from 9:30 - 12:30. Lines can be long, so go early. To find the pool nearest you, go to NYC Parks - Pools or call Parks Citywide Aquatics at (718) 699-4219. There is also a swim team with competitions for boys and girls 6-18. To join a Parks swim team you must be able to swim 25 yards or more in reasonably good form. Call 311 or Parks Citywide Aquatics for more info.

Don't neglect the beaches: Rockaway, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, are accessible by subway. Orchard Beach, a perfect crescent, can be reached by taking the #6 to its final stop in the Bronx, and changing to a local bus.

See also:

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Fencing (NYC) new

There are some free fencing classes in the parks, or that you can qualify for at certain schools. Here is a list. There is no shortage of fencing classes in NYC!

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Football (NYC / September - November)

The Parks Department's flag football leagues (in all five boroughs) allow children to play football in an organized setting from September through November, with a citywide championship in November. Call (212) 360-3300 for more information.

Soccer (NYC / September - October)

Free soccer in the NYC Parks, from Sept. - Oct., is open to boys and girls ages 6 - 12. You can register on-site 30 minutes before each weekly clinic. Locations are:

Soccer League (NYC / February - April)

For eight weeks, the (free) City Council Indoor Soccer League, held in early spring, demands up to two hours of weekly practice and 4-hour games on Saturdays, with a shot at the league championships. See NYC Parks - Athletic Leagues and Tournaments or call (212) 360-3300 for more info.

New York Junior Tennis League (NYC)

NYJTL is the largest tennis and education-themed community organization in the United States and offers comprehensive school and community based programs throughout New York City’s five boroughs reaching more than 100,000 youth from ages 6-18. They offer free winter workshops, from November - March, in the early mornings, from 6 - 8 am on weekend days. See program locations and times, or contact York Chu at or 347-417-8156. Three locations are in Queens, one in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx, and in Manhattan at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club on 43rd Street. Register for your location, or just show up at the time of the program and join in. Rackets and balls provided at no charge.

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Rowing (NYC)

The New York Rowing Association has links to all its member clubs in the area. These include:

Basketball (NYC / January - February)

Learn to Play Basketball free on Saturdays in January and February, open to boys & girls ages 5 -10. Go to or call (212) 360-3300 for more information. Register on-site 30 minutes prior to the start. Check for updated times and locations:

Parks in NYC (NYC / Year-round)

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreations website offers a number of programs and activities for all ages.

Phys. Ed.: MN

Bike Around Downtown (MN)

Free bike rental program from Downtown Alliance. Register online, then pick up your bike, helmet, etc.

Big Onion Walking Tours (MN and BK / Year-round)

They are famous from appearances on PBS and have been called the best walking tours in the city. Their tour hotline is (212) 439-1090 and their schedule is listed at They charge $15 per person, but that is discounted to $10 if you are a member of the New-York Historical Society. There is a $4 extra charge for tours that include "noshing" ethnic foods. I have heard that there are some free drop-in tours run by Big Onion, but I did not see any listed on their website. All of the other tours highly recommend Big Onion, so I have included them here.

Monster Walks – Gargoyle Walking Tours (MN and BK / Year-round)

Monster Walks – find fantastic animals and other monstrous creatures adorning the cathedrals and buildings of Manhattan. This is a great walking trip for any age, in any season (weather permitting). Bring your camera or a sketch pad!

Battery Park City Walking Tours (MN / May - October)

Free walking tours at noon some Sundays, from May through October, of Battery Park City and lower Manhattan, meet at Robert F. Wagner Park. Includes tours of gardens and artists. Call (212) 267-9700 for schedule or visit

New American Youth Ballet (MN)

The New American Youth Ballet at 98 Battery Place was started by a mother and daughter team for homeschoolers. This is a place where any child can enjoy dancing ballet, and was designed to be free from the pressure of professional schools. For more info, call Elizabeth or Bonnie Fernandez at 212-945-2926. One parent's review: The price is by donation, (the suggested donation is 85/month). We are students, so she said whatever we could do is fine, she was very sweet and had tons of fun energy for the kids. I would recommend this to all.

Union Square Walking Tour (MN)

Every Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Tour meets at Lincoln Statue near the Pavilion Building in Union Square Park. A free, 90-minute, guided walking tour that delves into Union Square's rich history and explores its transformation into Manhattan's favorite neighborhood. Did you know that Vaudeville first began in the opera houses along 14th Street? Or that Ladies Mile, which included the original Macy's, Tiffany's and Lord and Taylor, prospered in the Union Square area in the late nineteenth century? Hosted by charismatic historian and devout New Yorker, Karl Michael Emyrs, our tour offers the real stories of Union Square - the ones left out of the history books.

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The Fencing Club (MN / Year-round)

Fencing is available at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, The Fencing Club, at 119 W. 25th St., fifth floor, between 6th & 7th aves., in a fully equipped gym. Boys and girls, ages 10 - 18, are taught by Olympic coaches and Olympians every Saturday 9:00 a.m. to noon. Equipment is free. Your sole cost is a $25.00 annual class fee per student. Show up, register and take a class the same day. Academic tutoring, essay contests, educational field trips, are all offered to their students free. Those who qualify for the Olympic squad become eligible for college scholarships. Every Saturday at 10:30 there is an open house including a 15 minute tour and discussion. Call (212) 459-4538 or check out their website at

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Free Ice Skating at Bryant Park (MN, winter)

There is free ice skating on The Pond at Bryant Park, Sun-Thurs 8am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8am-midnight.

School of American Ballet (MN / Year-round)

The famous School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center offers up to five years of ballet and gymnastic training free for boys, with continued scholarship opportunities. Parents of girls, however, must pay tuition fees that add up to thousands. Accepted by audition only, call (212) 769-6600 for September and May dates for 8- and 9-year-olds. From personal experience, I can tell you that taking this road is not an easy ride, although it is a privilege to study in the marble halls of Lincoln Center and be a member of this incredible school. Children are often cast in the lavish production of the Nutcracker in their first year, sometimes their first week, of study. Yet only a year or two later the child may be asked to leave because they do not show enough talent or lack the "right body type" to stay on the professional track. This is a school designed for the budding professional, and not just a dance school for a child who loves ballet!

Sports in Central Park

Central Park has something for lovers of any sport – see their sports page.

Rock Climbing (MN / Year-round)

Youth Indoor Wall Climbing (Ages 8 to 17) Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Central Park North Meadow Recreation Center (mid-Park at 97th Street). The wall includes a small roof, steep angles, and an arete. With I.D. card participants receive all equipment and free climbing. Youth who have successfully completed the climbing courses at North Meadow will be able to use the indoor climbing wall during youth open climbing hours. AGES 8 to 17. Fee $5. No registration required. Call (212) 348-4867 ext. 10 for information. Climb-On! A four session rock climbing course for $75 is offered Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00am to 11:30am.

Riverbank State Park (MN / Year-round)

Riverbank State Park, at Riverside Drive and 145th St., is open every day, even Thanksgiving, with all the facilities in action: swimming, roller-skating (summer), ice skating (winter), bring your own or rent skates, etc. (212) 694 3600 for details.

NY Rugby Tournament (MN / November)

The NY Rugby Tournament is free to spectators, at Randall's Island and hosts nearly 100 International Rugby clubs. For information, contact the New York Sevens.

GrooveWithMe (MN)

GrooveWithMe is a youth development organization using free dance classes and performance opportunities as a tool to instill in young women the leadership, pride, spirit of cooperation, creativity, joy and discipline needed to confront the adversity in their daily lives and throughout their future development. The studio is at 186 E. 123rd Street, 2nd Floor, (between Lexington & 3rd Avenues) New York, NY 10035. Phone: 212-987-5910.

NY Unicycle Club (MN)

The New York Unicycle Club meets the first Sunday and second Saturday of every month at Grant's Tomb, 1:30 - 4:30. It's not a class, but it's friendly and free, and there are usually more cycles than cyclists, so it's a great place to try it out.

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Phys. Ed.: BK

Brooklyn Flea new

The Brooklyn Flea is at 180 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope, PS 321, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3pm. Free educational activities for kids including: mini-book-writing workshops by 826NYC, dance lessons by Mark Morris Dance Center, physics experiments by Carmelo the Science Fellow, recitals by Brooklyn Conservatory of Music students, and filmmaking by Reel Works. See the full schedule.

Studio Creative Play

Studio Creative Play in Park Slope, Brooklyn is a creative enrichment studio that offers a Holistic Process Approach to art and creativity-based learning, for children 3 to 5. At the end of every August they offer full and partial scholarships to children 3, 4, and 5 years of age. For more information, call 917-202-0574 or e-mail khahtee@ new

Walks in Brooklyn

Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club (BK)

Gowanus and Red Hook waterfront tours (reservations necessary), are available from the club. See their schedule at or call (718) 243-0894.

See also Big Onion Walking Tours and Gargoyle Walking Tours.

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Phys. Ed.: QN

Track Cycling (Star Track) (QN / September - November)

Learn the principles of bicycle riding and racing in Star Track, a free eight-week track cycling program in Queens, September - November, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday mornings 9 -11:30 a.m. Open to children ages 9-13 who are at least 53 inches tall. You can download the permission slip and the brochure from the Star Track website, but in order to register you will have to call the Queens Recreation office at (718) 520-5918.

Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (QN)

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, offers Teen Spot, a free after-school program in dance. The class combines different styles of dances including Modern, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Dunham, and African.Learn how to dance and gain an understanding of the origins of the moves and how they can be blended and choreographed. (Wed and Thurs 4 - 6 p.m.).

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Phys. Ed.: BX

New York Yankees (BX)

The New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium, 161st St. and River Avenue) have a special Kid's Club page that includes participatory events and activities.

Rocking the Boat - boatbuilding, rowing (BX - year-round)

Rocking the Boat gives kids hands-on experience in boat-building, starting with forestry management and seeing the whole process from tree to boat. The program is free for high school-age kids, who do not need to be in a school to join. Some paid apprenticeships are available.

Bronx River On-Water Program (BX - year-round)

The Bronx River On-Water Program is a daily after school and summer program that works with 16 high school students and five student Apprentices per semester, giving them the skills to become some of the primary caretakers of the River.

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Phys. Ed.: SI

Irish Dance Lessons (SI)

The Irish Cultural Center holds bi-monthly Irish Dance Lessons at the Alba House 2187 Victory Blvd. $5. Refreshments are provided courtesy of the Center. For additional information, please call (718) 667-8842.

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