One of the city’s biggest—and most successful—private urban-development projects is the 30-acre Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. Jutting out into the Hudson River on four huge piers between 17th and 23rd streets, it’s a terrific multifunctional recreational facility.
The Sports Center (tel. 212/336-6000), a three-football-fields-long megafacility, does health clubs one better. It offers not only the usual cardiovascular training, weights, and aerobics, but also a four-lane quarter-mile indoor running track, a boxing ring, basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, a gorgeous 25-yard indoor pool with a whirlpool and sun deck, the world’s most challenging rock-climbing wall plus a bouldering wall, and the Spa at Chelsea Piers, which offers massage, reflexology, facials, and the like. Day passes to the Sports Center are $50 for nonmembers; spa treatments are extra, of course.
The Golf Club (tel. 212/336-6400) has 52 all-weather fully automated hitting stalls on four levels and a 200-yard, net-enclosed, artificial-turf fairway jutting out over the water, making it the best place in the city to hit a few. Instead of carrying buckets of balls, the facility has an automatic ball teeing system; cards for that start at $30. Golf club rentals are available.
The Sky Rink (tel. 212/336-6100) has twin indoor rinks for recreational skating and pickup hockey games with Hudson River views. General skating is $12, $6 for skate rental and $5 for helmet rental. Due to organized skating activities, general skating is limited, so call ahead to find out schedules of availability.
The Field House (tel. 212/336-6500) is mainly for team sports, but rock climbers will enjoy the 30-foot indoor climbing wall, designed for kids as well as grown-ups. Open climbs for adults 17 and older are $25; same-day climb reservations start at 9am. Youth open rock climbing lessons (are available. Batting cages are $3 per 10 pitches. There are also Parkour sessions for the very daring ($35 per session).
Feeling like a little 10-pin tonight? State-of-the-art Bowlmor Chelsea Piers Lanes (tel. 212/835-BOWL [835-2695]; www.bowlmor.com) offers 40 lanes of fun. Games are $8.25 to $15 per person, and shoe rental is $8 plus tax.
Beyond its athletics, the complex is a destination in and of itself. The 1 1/4-mile esplanade has benches and picnic tables with terrific river views; they serve as the perfect vantage point for watching a cruise ship head out to sea, or the Navy and Coast Guard ships sailing in for Fleet Week each May.