Exploring New York City’s Workout Options


An elderly man jogs along the main fountain in Washington Square Park. (PHOTO BY REGINA OREA/ THE OBSERVER)


The NYC Park and Recreation’s fitness agendas have been flourishing throughout the city, with communities and organizations working in unison to provide tons of dynamic learning opportunities to anyone who seeks it, for little to no cost. From the New York Road Runners’ and Shape Up NYC’s flowering programs to individual park activities such as those at the Fort Tryon Park Trust, there are a variety of ways to get involved and see the beauty of each borough’s fusion of urban-nature landscapes.

The “Run for Life at Marine Park” took place near the Carmine Carro Community Center Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb. 28. The Marine Park group has their own facebook page for runners to connect before they go to the location. Sure, the first time might seem daunting, but after you get into the program the event turns into something worth more than any mere run in the park. Three rounds from start to finish around Marine Park’s perimeter made up about 2.5 to 3 miles. Although they placed the event from 9–10 a.m., runners were encouraged to go at their own pace. A simple glance at the photos on the interactive Road Runner’s Open Run web can show how enthusiastic the groups were about this energetic change to their Sunday schedules. After joining an Open Run community, a community events associate sends email updates to report the group’s individual running records, post the individual volunteer application and provide general updates on where and when the forthcoming runs will occur.  The events are open to all and available throughout the year.

If the current destinations are too far, you can suggest a nearby park on the Open Run web page. The organization tries to get four to six new parks on their roster every year. It takes some active community backing to maintain their programs, as well as at least one mile of paved road, access to water fountains and bathrooms.

Individual parks also have programs that allow you to get animated while catching a different view of the city, such as those at the Fort Tryon Park Trust. Their ‘Morning Fitness’ program, for instance, is open to all for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:15–8:15 a.m. In regards to similar programs,“It’s interesting,” Anna Lugjuraj, FCLC ’19, noted, “I think this and other parks could expand their programs to include different times of the day… so that it’s a bit more accessible to other New Yorkers, especially students who live farther away.” For more information on Fort Tryon’s programs, students can look to https://www.forttryonparktrust.org/events/events_calendar.php.

Shape Up NYC is one of the many lauded parks initiatives that hosts classes on Zumba, pilates, yoga and much more, at no cost to the user. As Maeri Ferguson of The NYC Parks and Recreation press office mentions in an email, “At Gertrude Ederle, it’s a certified yoga instructor volunteer.” She goes on to include, “the class is open level and can be modified at all fitness levels.” These programs are spread far across the city. All you need to bring to these lineups is a lock for classes in recreation centers and yourself.

If you feel like trying out a session near the Lincoln Center campus before you take classes in other areas, the Shape Up NYC sessions in the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center on 232 West 60th street might be the key. There are Power Fusion Workouts on Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:15 a.m. and Yoga in the Aerobics room on Thursdays from 5 – 6 p.m. These times may be subject to change over the next few months, so it may be best to call the center or class you wish to take part in beforehand.  Just this year, they added regular Zumba classes on Thursdays from 7 – 8 p.m. at the center.

If you’re ready to explore the city while heading to a Shape Up class farther off campus, the  interactive map on their web page allows students to view information for all of their classes around the city. The map as well as a calender schedule of classes are available on the website.

Although these initiatives may come and go, there is nary a moment where a fitness activity with NYC Parks and Recreation isn’t either scheduled, happening or available for registration through links on their website We, as students, are then better enabled to try these free and low-cost opportunities, many of which integrate a pursuit for better health and exploration in our city.