Paint the Town Green
Head outside and let the endorphins flow, and maybe even get some dirt in those fingernails while you’re at it.
1. Forget what you think you know about Manhattan. Say goodbye to city congestion with a walk in 67-acre Fort Tryon Park. Then take in medieval art and architecture and sweeping views of the city up at the The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum in the park’s northern reaches. Refuel with a late lunch (or check weekend hours for brunch) next door at eco-romantic New Leaf Restaurant & Bar. Technically, this date’s “on Manhattan,” but it feels so far off we let it slide. Fort Tryon Park: Riverside Dr to Broadway, W 192 St to Dyckman St, Washington Heights; The Cloisters: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park; New Leaf Restaurant & Bar: 1 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park
2. Check out the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Floating Gardens–or volunteer to help build them–then cruise down the Canal (carefully…it’s not that green yet) with free kayak and canoe rentals from the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. Cool down with a bottle of wine and a cheese or charcuterie plate (all plates $10) or $16 fondue (Tuesdays) at Black Mountain Winehouse; or keep to the sea with a raw bar, lobster rolls and full belly clam rolls at Littleneck. Gowanus Canal Dredgers: Self-guided tours launch at 2nd St. and Bond. Black Mountain Winehouse: 415 Union Street, Gowanus; Littleneck: 288 3rd Ave., Gowanus
3. Head to the Bronx to charm your date with the three B’s: biking, botany and bakeries. Go together by bike, or carry on the subway if you’re looking for a shorter cycle. New York Botanical Garden is always hosting some leafy levee, from concerts and cocktail parties to Tai Chi classes to learning about poisonous and healing plants. Less than a mile away, you can eat your way through Arthur Avenue, the borough’s Little Italy. Go casual with a daytime pastry-deli crawl, or wait ‘til the sun sets for a little Lady and the Tramp action at Salernitan Roberto Pacuillo’s Roberto Restaurant. For something a touch more casual, try Zero Otto Nove, Chef Pacuillo’s newer outpost where Neapolitan pizza, calzones and other Salerno specialties steal the show. New York Botanical Garden: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx; Roberto Restaurant: 603 Crescent Ave., Bronx; Zero Otto Nove: 2357 Arthur Ave., Bronx
Photo: Fort Tryon, Tony Fischer Photography