If the phrase “new year, new me” runs deeper than an Instagram caption for you, then start 2022 right with the most health-forward events that NYC has to offer.
This holiday weekend, there are plenty of wellness activities taking place in person and online that inspire a sense of adventure and renewal.
For those who want to jump into 2022 while braving the elements, you can partake in a timeless classic polar plunge with a new twist, hit the ice for a skating session with a view, or even carve it up on the slopes for a single-day ski trip to some nearby mountains.
As for New Yorkers who would rather calmly re-center themselves for what lies ahead, there are plenty of spa treatments available, not to mention virtual workouts, runs and classes that promote healthier lifestyles.
So, what are you waiting for? This new year, resolve to have fun, make friends and try something different.
Plunge away on Coney Island
Returning for its 119th rendition, the beloved Coney Island New Year’s Day Polar Bear Club Plunge is once again taking over the Brooklyn currents as New Yorkers splash into 2022. Different than years past, this race into the waves will instead be an open swim from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. rather than one full swoop of simultaneous bathers. Registration tables for the free (and freezing) swim are at the intersection of the boardwalk and Stillwell Avenue — organizers recommend showing up no later than noon. Want to get your blood pumping before dipping into the Lower New York Bay? There is a group bicycle ride to Coney Island leaving at 10 a.m. on Jan. 1 from the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space in the East Village (155 Loisaida Ave.; 646-340-8341).
Coney Island Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn; 917-533-3568, PolarBearClub.org
Carve it up on the slopes
For the city’s alpine aficionados, what better way to start the new year than shredding the slopes? The ski and snowboarding booking service OvRride is offering single-day trips all weekend long to Belleayre Mountain Ski Center — the highest resort in the Catskills — and to the 46 trails at Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey’s Vernon Township. Around $200 (prices vary per mountain range) will cover bus fare, ski or snowboard rentals, and lessons in some cases at Mountain Creek. For novices on the Belleayre trip, rest assured there are also four lodges if you prefer to take it all in from the comfort of the indoors.
Early morning buses leave from Atlantic and Fourth Avenues in Brooklyn, the northwest corner opposite Union Square Park, and various Midtown locations per each trip. For more details, go to OvRride.com
Skate to your heart’s desire indoors and out
Excited to see the Islanders return from their COVID pause? Take a day to hit the rink yourself this weekend. There’s plenty of open ice time from dawn to dusk that can be booked online at the city’s most iconic skating rinks: Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Wollman Rink in Central Park, and Brookfield Place overlooking Lady Liberty in the Financial District.
Area 53, a Williamsburg adventure park at 616 Scholes St., is also offering all-day-long roller skating this weekend at its indoor venue. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie, they have walkers as well. Open 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, its $49 weekend ticket will get you three hours of roller skating along with access to rope courses, rock climbing, laser mazes and an arcade.
Hike the Bronx’s ecological jewel
For those who’ve vowed to see more of NYC in 2022, what better way to start than a hike through the northwest Bronx’s massive Van Cortlandt Park off 242nd Street. NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and its Urban Park Rangers are offering a free, New Year’s Day trek in and around the park’s Putnam Trail at 11 a.m. this Saturday. Expected to last 90 minutes in the uptown elements, the parks department advises walkers to dress warm and come with the proper footwear as you explore a “hidden gem” of New York. While there, you can also check out the grounds of the Van Cortlandt House Museum (open Sunday). The 1748 home is the oldest in the borough.
Van Cortlandt Nature Center, The Bronx; 718-548-0912, NYCgovParks.org
Take on a virtual 5K with the New York Road Runners
Talk about getting a running start in 2022. The New York Road Runners are kicking off the new year with a virtual 5K that virtually anyone enthusiastic enough can partake in. With free general entry online at NYRR.org, the nonlocation-specific run can be completed any time from Saturday, Jan. 1, through Sunday, Jan. 9, as part of the runners’ #ResolveToRun — a social media initiative in which participants share ways they commit to staying healthy in the new year. Race results for the anticipated thousands of runners will be posted online on Jan. 13.
Steam it up at the William Vale winter spa
Does the state of the world have you ready to blow a gasket? Perhaps it’s time to sweat out your frustrations at one of the most relaxing saunas in the city. The William Vale — a swanky hotel on the Greenpoint waterfront — has opened a series of red-cedar outdoor saunas that can be enjoyed by couples, pals and singles alike. Dubbed the “Winter Spa,” the Vale promises “relaxed muscles [and] deeper sleep” after a visit. Although booked for this weekend, hot tubs are also accessible at the spa until its closure in March. Open 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on weekends, online reservations are recommended as limited walk-ins will be accepted; guests must be vaccinated.
The William Vale hotel, 111 N. 12th St., fourth floor, Brooklyn; 718-631-8400, TheWilliamVale.com/winter-spa
Shake off 2021 with Taylor Swift and a bike ride
Feelin’ (20)22? Peloton is now offering special classes that play Taylor Swift’s album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in intervals of 10, 20 and 30 minutes at a time. Beyond just cycling, users can also sweat out their heartbreak and love angst in sessions dedicated to tread, strength, stretching and yoga through the Peloton app. If you’d rather break a sweat in person — or to some different tunes — the cycling gym BYKlyn in Boerum Hill has 16-person classes open on both Saturday and Sunday into the early afternoon. Trial offers of two in-person classes go for $40; masks are required.
314 Dean St., Brooklyn; 347-799-1349, BYKlyn.com
Say goodbye to sugar once and for all
If you were hopped up on sweets throughout the holiday season, take this as a sign from above to step away from sugar. Registered Dietitian Sue Mah is offering a free, start-anytime master class that guides users on how to rid sugar from their daily lives over the course of 14 days. Specifically, Mah will explain an alternative, meal-by-meal approach to eating clean, how to make healthy mocktails and the importance of protein at breakfast. She also stresses the importance of “80/20” eating — which allows dieters some slack from their regimen from time to time — while also providing tips on avoiding a “weekend sabotage.” For more information, go to Grokker.com; 408-236-7582.
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