Free+Outside=Happy

Going into the month of July, I started doing a lot of research on the free, weekly events around New York. Turns out there are a lot of them, especially outdoor movies and fitness classes.

The summer Bryant Park series started a few weeks ago, and it’s located a mere six blocks from where I live. The movies start at dusk and show on a huge screen. Only problem is the lawn is almost full by 5 p.m. So we go and sit for hours in the heat and then watch the movie. It’s been a really neat experience to sit in a park in the middle of the city with a big crowd of people watching things such as Goldfinger and The French Connection. And it’s fun to relax outside with friends and  magazines after everyone’s day at work. Not to mention Crumbs is just across the street, and those are by far my favorite of the NYC cupcakes I’ve tried.

Hudson River Park also shows hit movies from last summer every Wednesday. This week was The Hangover, shown on Pier 54. The pier itself is nothing to write home about, and the screen wasn’t terribly big, but sitting right on the river makes for a beautiful view and the crowd was less crazy than Bryant Park. Plus, it’s The Hangover, so what’s not to love?

Left to check out for weekly movies are Wednesday in Riverside Park, Thursdays in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fridays in Hudson River Park. We’ll see if we get to all those.

Working out has proven to be harder than I hoped here in the city. I try to go running four mornings a week, usually to Central Park. I initially used my runs to explore new neighborhoods but decided street running is just too complicated. And Central Park is just beautiful. And there are water fountains, praise Jesus. It takes me about 15 minutes to jog to the park, then I have about half an hour in the park, then 15 minutes home. Once I get to the park it’s fine, but the trek there and back is on crowded sidewalks so I sometimes question the consistency of my workouts. Plus, this past week, it’s been so hot, even at 8 a.m., that I don’t want to put my body through a run. I’m dehydrated enough as it is from all the sweating I do every time I set foot outside.

I brought my pilates mat, ball and band to the concrete jungle in hopes of using them in my room. Which I have. But I think it makes my roommates uncomfortable. I’ll set up in the bedroom when they’re all on their computers in the living room, but then they seem to all decide they want to sit on their beds. Or vice versa. Their impression of me is probably not helped by the fact that they don’t exercise at all, so I probably just seem weird. Still, the goal is to do that three times a week. Don’t think I’ve met it yet.

But! July brings me free fitness classes around New York. I went to yoga Wednesday in Riverside Park, and it was absolutely beautiful – right on the water. I’m not really a yoga person, but I want to try to get more into it in hopes that it will help calm my mind or stretch my muscles (I’m not good at either of those things on my own). Then Thursday I went to a bootcamp class in Union Square Park, which was a blast and kicked my butt. I was sore the next day, which made me very happy. Tuesday I tried to go to a pilates class in Riverside, but the instructor never showed up – I’m guessing because it was 100+ degrees. But the park guys had set up and a crowd was there, so it was a big disappointment.

So I’m excited about these classes because I do miss my TigerX and regular workouts, not to mention a nice space in which to workout. Being outside in the evening or morning, on the water or in the middle of a beautiful park, is enough to make me happy. I get out of the apartment, I get some fresh air, and then I’m doing my body good, too. Plus, it makes me happy to see how popular these classes are with people of all ages (same goes for the movies). New Yorkers are a pretty active bunch.

Workouts left to check out include Tuesday pilates in Riverside, Tuesday tai chi in Bryant Park, Thursday yoga in Bryant Park, Tuesday/Thursday belly dancing in Chelsea, and weekend kayaking on the Hudson. Can’t wait.

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