Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal was once known for its sludge, debris and terrible smell. Thanks to the efforts of groups like the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, and the activation of the flushing pump in 1999, the canal is a no longer ripe with stench but ripe for exploring. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club offers parties, excursions and even a chance to canoe through the canal. Bicycling the Gowanus waterfront area is another fine way to pass a New York City afternoon. You can make pit stops at the historical Old Stone House, the Waterfront Museum and other attractions along the way.
Gowanus Canal canoe launch site
Second Street at the canal
Atlantic Avenue Subway Tunnel
Grab your flashlight and sense of adventure to explore a long-forgotten New York City subway tunnel. Historian Bob Diamond, who discovered the forgotten tunnel, leads monthly Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours. Diamond doubles as the president of the Brooklyn Historic Rail Association and brings the past to life deep beneath the busy city streets. You haven't fully explored New York until you've crawled down a manhole to its depths. Reservations are required for the tour, as are sneakers, boots or other sturdy walking shoes and a flashlight.
Atlantic Avenue subway tunnel
Atlantic Avenue and Court Street
Brooklyn, New York
Central Park Boating
A lazy, soothing way to spend any day in the city is to take a boat ride in Central Park. The park's huge lake offers an escape from the grind and grime from the concrete jungle. Rowboats are rented by the hour, with no reservations or permit required. As long as you are there between April and October and the weather is not nasty, you can refresh your soul with up to four people in your rowboat. If you'd rather someone else do all the work, you can opt for an evening gondola ride during the summer months instead.
Central Park's Lake
Loeb Boathouse on the east side of the park
between 74th and 75th streets
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.