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Articles by

<Samantha Lang>

09/10/08 12:00am

Last I heard, New York City was kind of an artsy town. We have some of the best art museums and galleries in the world, there are concerts, readings, and performances every night of every week, and even the streets are covered with paint. We are the city of Laurie Anderson, Andy Warhol, drum circles, guerilla art, and Neckface. All this creativity — what attracts so many artists to this city in the first place — is constitutionally protected. In theory. As we all learned around 3rd grade, the First Amendment prohibits congress from making laws that hinder freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. A nice idea.
 
But it seems that the New York City Police Department may have a looser interpretation of the First Amendment than was originally intended. Now, it goes without saying that the NYPD has its share of honorable men and women committed to protecting and serving our city, but there are some cases — and some stories — that would probably make any self-respecting New Yorker wonder what’s really going on. What follows are five of those stories.

The Accidental Activist: Joyce Lin
Joyce Lin’s story goes beyond Joyce Lin, photographer and environmental activist. It piggybacks off the history of tension between Critical Mass (a leaderless bike ride that meets at Union Square on the last Friday of every month) and the NYPD. One of this past summer’s viral YouTube videos features rookie Officer Patrick Pogan body- checking a Critical Mass cyclist off his bike and sending him skidding across the street. This tension is real, and people are getting hurt.

But this wasn’t the first documented clash between Critical Mass and the NYPD. During the 2004 Republican National Convention, a protest bike ride resulted in the arrest of 264 bikers. In February of 2007, the NYPD established the new parade permit laws that actually seemed to target Critical Mass. The city now required a permit for a gathering of 50 people or more. The March 30, 2007 Critical Mass bike ride marked the first occasion during which the police could ticket and arrest under this law.

Joyce Lin was present at the event — she’d been photographing the entire ride, and was documenting it for her personal archives. She was taking pictures of another biker being arrested when the trouble with the police began. An officer approached her from behind and asked for her identification. Because Lin knew it was within her rights to refuse to provide identification and walk away, that’s exactly what she tried to do. According to Lin, the officer was having none of that.

“Get her.”

She turned her back, but couldn’t just walk away. Instead, she felt one cop, then two, then six holding her down, grabbing at her camera, and trying to pry things out of her hands. She screamed to attract attention, and she screamed so that the cops would let her go. A crowd of bikers and photographers gathered around her and began chanting, “Let her go.” They didn’t.

That day, Lin was arrested along with several other bikers, photographers, and videographers. She was taken to the small police station in the middle of Times Square, where she was held in a cell with other women who had been arrested during the ride or in the area. After a few hours she was taken to a larger police station with the other Critical Mass arrestees. She was forced to stay overnight in prison, and was eventually charged with six assorted felonies and misdemeanors.

In case you’re wondering whether Joyce should have been arrested for taking photographs of an arrest, the law states that anyone may photograph police in action as long as they don’t interfere. If you’re still doubtful, try searching for this incident on YouTube, then try to tell yourself Lin was in the wrong.

By the way, the charges were eventually dropped. Just like 95 percent of Critical Mass cases taken to court.

The Pro-Photogs: Clayton Patterson and Simon Lund
Clayton Patterson and his wife Elsa Rensaa have amassed the largest archive of photographs of the Lower East Side ever taken. If you frequent the neighborhood, you may have seen him: a bear of a man with a long gray beard, camera permanently slung around his neck. For nearly three decades Patterson has taken thousands of photographs and videos of the mundane and the extraordinary happenings of one of New York’s freakiest thriving neighborhoods. He was one of two people who was able to take video footage of the Tompkins Square Riots in 1988, and was subsequently arrested for refusing to give the NYPD the original copy of the video. He spent ten days in jail.

On July 16, 2008, Patterson decided to take some pictures of police officers and fire fighters in action, responding to an alarm on Ludlow Street, where he had shot for years without problems. The police claim that Patterson didn’t comply with their orders to keep his distance, and that because he was unable to produce a press pass, they had the right to arrest him. Patterson sees it differently. Because there was no frozen zone, and he wasn’t in the way of any action, Patterson maintains that he was simply doing what he’s always been compelled to do. Patterson was eventually released, and his latest statement pleads that we all ask, “What are our rights to document?” and that we become the guardians and watchdogs of our own communities.

An arrest like Patterson’s is not the only way the NYPD can infringe on photographer’s rights. Intimidation is another tactic favored by some officers. Simon Lund, a professional photographer on his day off, was one such artist who was intimidated into surrendering his film. Lund was taking an afternoon walk around Coney Island with his wife, documenting Coney Island’s “final summer” (version 3.0). Suddenly, a female beachgoer (who remained nameless) ran up to Lund demanding to know why he was taking pictures of her child, and asked that he destroy the image immediately. Unfortunately, Lund wasn’t working with a digital camera, and destroying one picture would have meant destroying the entire roll. Eventually, the woman became frustrated and called for the attention of some nearby cops.

The mother, some of her male friends, and a police officer all pressed Lund to give up his film. He knew it was within his rights to take pictures of the rides, the booths, and the beach, so he tried to reason with the police officer. That is when the officer began to threaten Lund, stating that if he didn’t give up his film “things would get much worse for [him]”.

Lund gave up his rights then and there. He handed his roll of film to the woman with the promise that she could develop it, get rid of the offending pictures, and send the film back to Lund, all on his dime. This never happened. Lund took his complaint to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), where he was told that the case did not warrant their attention.

More information about Clayton Patterson and Simon Lund can be found on their respective websites: patterson.no-art.info and  simonlund.com.

The Performance Artist: Yazmany Arboleda

Yazmany Arboleda is a performance and visual artist with a provocative style and political subject matter. Inspired by the press coverage of the upcoming election, Arboleda created a show called “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama” that he planned to set up at a vacant storefront at 264 W. 40th St. Though the title is, without question, shocking, the show focused on the character assassination of the two candidates by the press. According to Arboleda’s artist statement, there was no intent to harm either of the candidates. The pictures on Arboleda’s website clearly illustrate his intention to explore the press’ jibes at the candidate’s reputations. Take, for example, Arboleda’s faux Vogue spread about the hideousness of Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits. For the purposes of this exhibit, it was clear that he was interested in exploring what it means to live in a society where we are quick to castrate anyone attempting to ascend to a position of power. 

Imagine Arboleda’s surprise when he found himself detained and questioned by NYPD detectives and Secret Servicemen. They appeared within the first hour of Arboleda’s exhibition going up. They asked him whether he was a violent person, whether he had ever been institutionalized, whether he was a threat to the candidates. He answered no to those questions, and was free to go in a few hours.

Though the exhibit was only supposed to last one day, even 24 hours was too long for the police. The NYPD and the Secret Service required that Arboleda take down the exhibit early. In place of the storefront installation, the Leah Keller Gallery now has the exhibit available for viewing by appointment only. You can also see a slideshow of Arboleda’s work on his website: yazmany.com


The Musicians: Rebel Diaz

Rebel Diaz’s slogan is: “If Hip Hop organized the Whole World Would be in Trouble.” The group has come to represent the potential for change in their Bronx neighborhood. One of the causes they champion is policing the police — they call it “police terrorism.” Rebel Diaz formed in 2006 after being invited to perform at an immigrant rights march. They claim that they have seen the police behave inappropriately, unfairly and unconstitutionally towards members of their community one too many times. 

On the morning of June 18, 2008, Rodstarz and G1, two of the three members of Rebel Diaz, were showing a friend around Hunts Point. They came upon two police officers hassling a fruit vendor. Since the vendor only spoke Spanish, the brothers asked for permission to translate for the officers. When they were granted permission, they came to understand that the fruit vendor had no idea why the police officers were “stealing his fruit.” As tensions rose, Rodstarz and G1 took pictures of the officers in action, and asked for the officers’ names and badge numbers. The situation quickly became physical, escalating into a violent arrest. (A video of the scene can be viewed on Rebel Diaz’s website: rebeldiaz.com.) Eventually, the brothers were taken to the 41st precinct where they were held for ten hours and charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.

This incident alone would be traumatic enough, but, at 2am on June 24th, four police officers burst into Rebel Diaz’s studio/apartment. No warrant. No warning. No explanation. The police claimed they were looking for a fugitive. The members of Rebel Diaz still have no answers, and are waiting to hear back from the N.Y.P.D.
   
The Street Artist: De La Vega
I first meet James De La Vega sitting outside his eponymous St. Mark’s store, chain smoking cigars, tattoos crawling up his arms. He’s pretty intimidating. In between puffs he explains to me that he wants to inspire kids from underprivileged neighborhoods to become more than cogs in the capitalist system. His graffiti pieces can be as simple as the messages he writes, such as “realiza to sueño” (become your dream) and “You are your best investment”, though they are usually accompanied by De La Vega’s chalk drawings.

De La Vega’s first arrest was a few years ago (he can’t remember the exact date). He was arrested for graffiti, and pleaded guilty in order to lessen the sentence. He explains that he never would have pleaded guilty had he been made aware of the legal definition of graffiti: “The etching, painting, covering or otherwise placing a mark upon public or private property, with the intent to damage such property.” The “intent to damage” part of the definition didn’t fly with De La Vega, which is why he pleaded “not guilty” when he was arrested again in 2003 for painting a mural on a blank wall in the Bronx. De La Vega maintains that in creating his art he does not intend to damage anything, and that the wall was usually covered with graffiti anyway. The courts ultimately sentenced De La Vega to fifty hours of community service.

During the course of our interview, De La Vega and I get into a little… disagreement. Though he is willing to be included in this article he doesn’t agree with its theme — specifically, the problematic relationship between artists and the NYPD. He understands graffiti laws as a protection of private property, and he doesn’t think the NYPD necessarily did anything wrong by arresting him. I concede his first point, and ask him whether he considers it a violation of freedom of speech to be arrested for making impermanent marks in a public place. He says that not every idiot should be allowed to express himself freely: “What if they say something I don’t agree with?” Though I’m still intimidated, I say that freedom of expression extends to response. That one has the right to question what is written and what is said. One has the right to demand explanation and accountability. After all, freedom of expression creates a space for dialogue and thought, exactly what he is trying to inspire. He tells me to chill out, and hands me a bag of pork rinds.

06/18/08 12:00am

CLASSIC BAR GAMES

The Abbey
Pool and assorted arcade games (Big Buck Hunter 2, Ms. Pacman, and MegaTouch) in a Williamsburg bar that is almost devoid of tourists.
536 Driggs Ave, Bklyn

Antarctica
Antarctica’s “name night” means that if your name is on the calendar, you drink free until 11pm on weeknights and 1am on weekends — that’s kind of a game, right? So is pool, of which there are a few tables.
287 Hudson St, Bklyn

Artland Bar
Free pool Mondays. Bonus: there is never anyone in this bar, so you can get a lot of practice.
609 Grand St, Bklyn

Barcade
Old-school arcade games: Asteroids, Rampage, Moon Patrol, 1943, Tempest, Tapper, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Gyruss, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Rolling Thunder, Super Mario Bros., Crystal Castles, Arkanoid, Out Run Zaxxon, Smash, Gauntlet, Star Wars, Frogger, Tetris, Galaga, Ms. Pacman, Rock Field, Centipede, Berzerk, Rush ‘N Attack. Chances are that if you’re reading this magazine, you already know about this bar. Fratnerd. 388 Union Ave, Bklyn

Bleecker Street Bar
Pool and dart leagues on Tuesdays, three pool tables, three dartboards, pinball, and video games. We keep meaning to join a dart league, but publishing’s demanding schedule precludes it, and also darts are hard.
56 Bleecker St

Boulevard Tavern
Pool and pinball on the outskirts of Greenpoint: as romantic as it sounds.
579 Meeker Ave, Bklyn

Daddy’s
Ms. Pacman, Elvis Pinball and Emerald. (Like the Pokemon game? Holy crap we are old and will die soon.)
437 Graham Ave, Bklyn

Enid’s
Ms. Pacman, Galaga and  a Try Not To Look Like An Idiot In At Least One of Your Photo Booth Photos machines.
560 Manhattan Ave, Bklyn

Flight 151
A flight-themed bar with plenty of games. Tuesdays are coin-flip nights: every customer who correctly calls a coin-toss gets to drink for free. Wednesdays are for “Spin the Wheel” wherein customers spin for $2 shots of whatever liquor the wheel lands on. Thursdays are trivia nights. We actually got drunk just writing this. Tails! 151 Eighth Ave

Redd’s Tavern
Skeeball, pool, darts, Tetris, Megatouch, free popcorn and a well stocked jukebox. Dylan Thomas was actually playing Tetris at the White Horse the night he died.
511 Grand St

Slate PLUS
Fifteen ping-pong tables and twenty-five pool tables. They ain’t fucking around here.
54 W. 21st St

Southpaw
Free table tennis and $1 pool on nights when there is no live music. One of those games is cooler than the other, but we’re not saying.
125 Fifth Ave, Bklyn

Spin City Café & Billiards
Make the trip out to Queens for a bar that has tons of pool tables, and a few snooker tables, if you happen to be a rich old British man.
43-12 50th St

BRAIN GAMES (board games, trivia, debate)

Boat
A local favorite with board games (Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble), pinball and Ms. Pacman. Think about this: if there were iPhones back then, Trivial Pursuit never would’ve been invented.
175 Smith St, Bklyn

Common Ground Bar and Pub

Quiz Trivia every Wednesday beginning at 8:30pm. The answer is Bernard Goetz.
206 Ave A

Dempsey’s Pub
Among the usual pool tables and dartboards, Dempsey’s Pub hosts a weekly Pub Quiz every Wednesday at 7:30. The winner gets a $25 bar tab. The answer is, obviously, periwinkle.
61 2nd Ave

Dive 75
Besides its official name, Dive 75 is also known as “the bar with the board games”. Q: What’s the origin of the term “dive” when referring to bars?
101 W. 75th St

Fiddlesticks
Pool, and a quiz night at 9pm on the last Tuesday of every month (teams of four compete to win a keg). Not an easy regift, the keg…
56 Greenwich Ave

Freddy’s Bar and Backroom

This beloved dive has a board game night the first Sunday of every month, featuring Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Life, Scrabble, Cranium, as well as any game you care to bring. No one ever really plays Cranium.
485 Dean St, Bklyn

The Gael Pub
A small Irish pub that hosts a trivia quiz every Tuesday, and darts all week long. The answer is John Millington Synge.
1465 Third Ave

Lolita Bar
Debate night. Channel your inner intellectual and talk about “things that matter.” This is kind of like every night at the bar, no?
266 Broome St

Pete’s Candy Store
Pete’s provides its patrons with Bingo every Tuesday from 7-9. Free entry into the game, but no cash prizes (“funny prizes” instead). There’s a quiz-off every Wednesday; first prize is a $25 bar tab, second prize is a $15 bar tab, and the third prize winner gets a tasty sandwich.
709 Lorimer St, Bklyn

Pianos
Every Monday: Rock n’ roll trivia at 7:30. Obviously, the answer is Neil Peart.
158 Ludlow St

Professor Thom’s
Tuesday nights are for trivia, and Wednesday nights for Bingo at this Boston-centric bar. The answer is Concord, MA.
219 Second Ave

Red Hook Bait & Tackle

A small pub with an unlimited supply of goldfish and Swedish Fish for your munching pleasure. Also, a pub quiz every Wednesday at 8pm; winner gets $50 bar tab and bragging rights. The answer is sturgeon. 
320 Van Brunt St, Bklyn

Rocky Sullivan’s Pub
Every Thursday at 8:30, Rocky Sullivan’s hosts a trivia quiz with rounds on general knowledge, special categories, photo identification and music. Play for free and collect your prize after each round: drinks, mix CDs and the grand prize, a round of drinks.(Small fry compared to a keg, no?)
34 Van Dyke St, Bklyn

The Slipper Room
A weekly “Big Quiz Thing.” It’s really very big. Maybe there will be naked dancing girls for this. Maybe not.
167 Orchard St

BRAWN GAMES

The Big Easy
This debauchery- (and ostensibly Mardi Gras-) themed bar has five beer pong tables, mini golf and bocce. College was the best, right?
1768 Second Ave

Bowlmor Lanes
Per-game and hourly rates varying depending on the day and hour. You should trying bowling in a different character, it’s fun.
110 University Place

Bushwick Country Club

Mini-golf with a windmill made of old PBR cans. Why the terrorists hate us.
618 Grand St, Bklyn

Cheap Shots
Fully equipped with Air Hockey tables, and rock-paper-scissor Tuesdays (if the patron beats the bartender, drinks are half-priced), board games and darts. Watch for flying pucks.
140 First Ave

Fat Cat Billiards
This place is kind of a game mecca: live jazz and blues with ping pong, more than a dozen pool tables, chess, Scrabble, shuffle puck, backgammon, foosball. A warning to those who prefer to play ping pong with the paddle in one hand and a Manhattan in the other: Fat Cat only serves beer and wine.
75 Christopher St
   
Floyd
Bocce. All day every day.
131 Atlantic Ave, Bklyn

The Gutter
Here be bowling. $6 per game before 8pm, $7 per game after 8pm, $2 shoes. Reminds a certain L Mag staffer of a curling bar. For true.
200 N. 14th St, Bklyn

Iona
The ping pong table in the backyard has some of the most serious dudes ever waiting to play. We’re talking guys with their own paddles, and complexes.
180 Grand St, Bklyn

Joshua Tree
Slightly less typical than pool and darts, Joshua Tree hosts a Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution contest every Sunday and Monday starting at 8pm, Every Tuesday is trivia-quiz Tuesday. Also, check your dignity at the door.
366 W. 44th St

Mad River Bar and Grille

Mad River hosts a Beer Pong tournament on the last Saturday of every month. The winner gets cold hard cash, gift certificates, the occasional pair of Yankees tickets and a pledge to clean up his room.
1443 Third Ave

Nancy Whiskey Pub
The board may be crooked, but there is no finer shuffleboard experience in all the land.
1 Lispernard St

Union Hall
Two indoor bocce courts, live music and a library right in the middle of Park Slope. Also, sliders.
702 Union St at Fifth Ave, Bklyn

ACTUAL GAMES THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU SWEAT (some you can’t even be drunk for)


 
Arm Wrestling

Sometimes, the only way to impress people and make them your friends is to be stronger than they are. Check out the New York Arm Wrestling Association (www.nycarms.com) for the schedule of tournaments and championships.

Badminton

The NYC Badminton Club has clubs operating in Manhattan and Queens. Their website (www.nycbadminton.com) lists the various locations and times for every day. Members play for $15, while nonmembers play for $25/day. One of the few sports where it’s actually recommended that you hold a Manhattan in your free hand.

Baseball & Softball


The fields in Central Park are open to the public, but teams, leagues and miscellaneous groups must apply for a permit from the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. LGBT players looking to play can look into the Big Apple Softball League. This is the one where they all take steroids.

Hurling/Gaelic Football

Bring out your inner Mick by playing some Gaelic football like the bhoys back in the County Mayo. And if you have no idea what that means, this may not be the recreational diversion for you. The Gaelic Athletic Association of Greater New York (ny-gaa.org) is where serious players come to compete, with both junior and senior hurling and Gaelic football leagues from April to October. (Hurling, btw, is a brutal, wonderful mix of lacrosse, field hockey and a village riot). Eligibility requires a contract signed in Gaelic. Non-Irish need not apply, same goes for dogs. 

Basketball

If you think you are really, really good at basketball, you can try the courts at West 4th or at Rucker Park and let us know how it went. On the other hand, if you get intimidated by the neighborhood under-ten set, check out basketballnyc.com/courts.php to find a court close to you. And pull your socks down while you’re at it.

Lawn Bowling (Bowls)

Lawn Bowling is a British sport that can be played as a solo player or as a team of two, three or four people. It involves rolling a not-quite-round bowl, and trying to place it as close to possible to a white ball (called the jack). The object of the game is to place more bowls closer to the jack than your opponent. You can play at the Central Park green, north of Sheep Meadow every day but Monday. The season runs from May 1-November 7; the dues are $95 (which includes the permit that is required to play). Also, you must like marmalade and have a good working knowledge of the British royal family.

Boxing

Those who are slightly intimidated, yet curious, about boxing should check out Trinity Boxing Club at 110 Greenwich St. A trial class is $30, and they stress the fact that you can learn to box without getting punched in the face. (Although, frankly, how to take a punch to the face is a useful skill to accquire.) If you’re in it for the history as well as the exercise, check out the famous Gleason’s of Brooklyn, located at 77 Front St.

Broomball

The New York City Social Sports Club offers Broomball year-round. Registration is closed for the summer season, but the fall season begins in early October. Practices and games take place at the Chinatown YMCA Houston Street Center. Broomball is the next kickball? Discuss.

Canoeing/Boating


The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation requires a permit to boat on its 160 square miles of water trail. That said, there are launch points all over the five boroughs. If you’re not into the whole permit thing, you can pedal boat in Prospect Park instead. Or if you’ve always been a closet elitist, button up your Lacoste overcoat and head to the City Island Yacht Club, where maritime lore meets the Bronx. Take a look at the website (cityislandyc.org), to find out more about CIYC’s self-described dedication to the cultivation of naval science. Membership fees are steep, but then again, it’s a yacht club.

Cricket

Van Cortlandt Park has 13 cricket fields in total. Ferry Point Park has two fields, as does Sound View Park. You probably don’t really understand cricket, we don’t really understand cricket, and we suspect, cricket players don’t really understand cricket. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop trying: check out the New York Metropolitan and District Cricket Association (nymdca.com), or just check out the action of the Brooklyn Cricket League, home of the Brooklyn Knights Cricketers (bklynknights.com).

Dodgeball

Check out the New York Social Sports Club (dodgeball.meetup.com/217) for a dodgeball league where singles come to chuck balls at each other. If you’re into impromptu games, use a public schoolyard — they’re open to the public on weekends. Is Dodgeball the new Broomball, posited earlier this feature as the new Kickball? Discuss, if we haven’t blown your mind.

Football

Central Park has strict rules for its football players. You must have a permit, leave the cleats at home, and play from September-November only. You can snag a permit from our old friends at the Department of Parks & Recreation. Or, if you own a minivan, you could ride out to the ‘burbs to play with the Tappan Zee Touch Football League! If you’re afraid of the suburbs or too cheap to pay for gas, not to worry – many of the league’s games are played at Fordham University fields in the Bronx. Check out the website (tzffl.com) for more information.

Golf

It is a sport, therefore you are an athlete. There is, of course, Chelsea Piers. Also, the Brooklyn Golf Center, at 3200 Flatbush Ave, offers 100 hitting bays and a 300 x 300  yard range.

Hockey

The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers offers three seasons and eight divisions of ice hockey goodness. The four-on-four summer seasons begins on July 21. Each team is guaranteed 8 games, but the tournament costs $3,200 per team.  LGBT hockey players can check out the New York City Gay Hockey Association for teams (recreational and competitive), games and tournaments. If you’re not that into hockey, but would like to run around and pummel some friends, check out Black Top Street Hockey. For roller hockey, check out the intersection of Houston Street and 6th Ave.

Horseback riding


Prospect Park has a 3.5-mile bridle path that begins at the Park Circle. If you don’t have your own horse (you don’t?), you can rent one from Kensington Stables, located across from the Parade Ground. Central Park also has a bridle path. The Riverdale Equestrian Center will rent you a horse for $100/hr, and you get to name him and brush his hair and talk about boys and everything.

Kickball


Sign up at zog.com for kickball games in Prospect Park. Or join the Kickball Empire in Williamsburg that will someday have a purge rivaling the Stalinist show trials of the 30s, or indeed, the opening of the Stasi files in Berlin. Serious-ass business, brooklynkickball.com.

Lacrosse

Meetup.com hosts a New York City lacrosse pick-up game. Check the website for details. Otherwise, most of the lacrosse gyms and workouts are for kids. Sorry, bros. In Canada, lacrosse isn’t nearly so identified with douchebaggery. But that’s in Canada.

Paintball


Cousins Paintball is located at 2727 Arthur Kill Road, in Staten Island. Reservations are required, and the fields are open from 8:30-4 every day. NYC Paintball offers climate-controlled indoor play at 47-11 Van Dam Street, Long Island City.  Is this really a sport? No. It’s disturbing militaristic wish fulfillment by people too privileged to actually join the military.

Petanque


Petanque is bocce, only with old French men instead of old Italian men (the rules may also be different). There’s a New York petanque club that plays in Washington Square.

Rock/Wall Climbing

Central Park’s North Meadow Recreation Center has a wall that allows for supervised wall climbing (adults and children ages 8 and up). No permit is required, but classes are. Chelsea Piers has the biggest indoor rock-climbing wall in the Northeast. Call for prices.

Skateboarding


Riverside Skate Park is located at 108th St and Riverside Drive. and is open from 11-7 pm Weekends and from 3:30-7 on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Millennium Skate Park is on Colonial Road between 68th St and Wakeman Place. Check out officialnewyork.com/spots for some non-New York Parks Department approved skate spots. Watch out for cops. We’re also going to take a moment to mock those gentlemen who think it’s ok to long-board around as if it’s just a replacement for a bike: you look ridiculous and you can’t even skate.

Soccer

Prospect Park has soccer fields at the Parade Ground. Permits are only required for organized games. Metro offers recreational soccer leagues in almost all of the city’s bobo haunts, including the Upper West Side, Pier 40 at Chelsea Piers and Riverside Park.  If you think you’re not a yupppie, the Urban Soccer offers what they term “Manhattan’s alternative outdoor and indoor soccer” experience. Figure out what that means at  urbansoccer.com.
 
Stickball

The Major Stickball League has three seasons of six weeks each followed by two weeks of playoffs. The East Harlem Stickball league has games from April-October. We once saw stickball on ESPN. It was grown dudes with spandex and big forearms, not lil’ urchins with newsboy caps. And we felt sad for America.

Tennis

New York is a a tennis-loving city. Check out nycgovparks.org.  Central Park, Fort Washington Park and Randall’s Island Parks all come highly recommended.

Ultimate Frisbee

If you hate getting your weed delivered because the guy always wants to smoke up and stick around, like, forever, there are pick-up games every Saturday at 11am in Van Cortland Park and Cunningham Park in Queens every Sunday at 4. Central Park (at 99th St) hosts a co-ed pick-up game at 3 on weekends and 6 on weekdays.

Volleyball

Metro Beach Sports offers a beach volleyball (and beach soccer) league. Games are played Monday and Tuesday nights, and it costs $795 per team or $150 per individual player. Games take place at the Water Taxi beach in Long Island City. Big City Volleyball League also offers an air conditioned summer season. Some nudity required.

Wiffleball

Go to  zogsports.com to sign up for a team and compete in their league. Games and practices take place in Manhattan, Queens and barbecues throughout Westchester County.

Wrestling


Metro wrestling hosts an LGBT practice every Saturday from 5-7 at Fighthouse (122 W 27th St, 2nd floor), and Sunday at the LGBT Center (208 W 13th St, Room 412); rates are $10/day or $35/month. For hetero wrestlers, the Hamilton Fish Recreation Facility on East Houston and Stanton Streets offers 45-minute adult wrestling sessions beginning at 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The $50 annual membership fee is certainly appealing, but tapeworm is not; be wary of getting excessively sweaty on public facility’s mats. For details, see  nycgovparks.org