Editors’ Picks 2013: The Best Fun & Leisure Options in Westchester
Westchester Magazine’s editorial staff picks the county’s best concerts, events, galleries, and more.
1 Highland Industrial Park, Peekskill
(914) 402-4624; 2ntr.com
2nd Nature was already an established skate shop when it opened a skate park in 2011. And, because it was built by skaters, for skaters, it has everything an established or aspiring skater could want—a 5,000-square-foot street course featuring a brick bank, stage with rails, and ledges. Oh, and don’t forget the separate 2,000-square-foot bowl. Best part? The entire place is indoors, meaning you can skate year-round, no matter the weather. In addition to year-round lessons, the park hosts monthly contests.
Bellota at 42
1 Renaissance Sq, White Plains
(914) 761-4242; 42therestaurant.com
Happy Hour at Bellota isn’t cheap lite beer and darts. It’s a relaxed and sophisticated vibe. It’s $5 glasses of wine. It’s $1 oysters. It’s $8 dollar cocktails like The Proof (Plymouth Navy Strength Gin, Strawberry Shrub, basil, green chartreuse, ginger beer). But, most of all, it’s the unrivaled view of the sunset from 42 floors up.
House of Sports
1 Elm St, Ardsley
(914) 479–5419; houseofsportsny.com
Imagine dying and going to sports heaven—that still wouldn’t match House of Sports. The 120,000-square-foot facility features four basketball courts, an 80-yard artificial-turf field, a baseball facility, a speed-training and fitness center, party rooms, and a café—as well as a basketball “shooting lab” with eight baskets, cameras that record shooting form, and computer systems that calculate the arc of a shot. It’s a one-stop-shop sports facility for the family: fitness classes and leagues for adults, kids’ camps and classes, and two of the most celebrated Amateur Athletic Union teams in the country—the New York Gauchos and the Lady Choz’s.
Independent Dance Studio
The Westchester Ballroom
136 Radio Cir, Mount Kisco
(914) 773-7773; westchesterballroom.com
If you want to learn to do the rumba, foxtrot, or Argentine tango, you want to do it here. The Westchester Ballroom will show you the moves in a new-this-year 4,000-square-foot studio with state-of-the-art lighting and sound. And you’ll learn from serious pros, including Oleg Trebunski, a three-time Russian National Dance Champion whose daughter, Anna Trebunskaya, has been featured on Dancing with the Stars.
Carly Rose Sonenclar
We’ve been following and raving about this preternaturally talented 14-year-old Mamaroneck native since her Broadway debut as Cosette in Les Mis at the tender age of seven. So, we weren’t surprised when she came in number two of last season’s The X Factor. Hear her in a concert to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation on August 10 at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.
Sam’s Bar & Grill
1 Mill St, Port Chester
(914) 939-2001; samspcny.com
You can walk into any old dive bar and find a raggedy dartboard or two. What you won’t find in those dives, though, is a long, nicely kept wooden shuffleboard, which itself is the size of a bar. But walk into Sam’s Bar on any given night and you’ll find a crowd gathered off to the side of the bar, where its 22-foot shuffleboard table has been sitting since 1986. The table is actually vintage, manufactured in the ’70s, and came to Sam’s from a Port Chester firehouse. You can try your luck at a game any day (Sam’s is open until 4 am, seven days a week), or sign up for the bar’s annual fall tournament.
Yes We Know It’s a Chain But…
237 Market St
Westchester’s Ridge Hill, Yonkers
(914) 375-9273; yardhouse.com
Ever encompassing, Yard House’s beer list can compete with War and Peace in length. Whether you prefer your brew malty or hoppy or fruity, you’ll find a new favorite on this list. With over 100 beers ranging from Belhaven Scottish Stout to Kronenbourg 1664 from France, the list covers the globe. Seasonals, ciders, dark brews—they’re all on there. And if this ever-evolving list isn’t enough for you, there’s also the Limited Draft selections, a separate list of 10 beers that changes even more frequently. We recommend you sample a few before ordering a Half Yard, which is two pints.
The Lazy Boy Saloon & Ale House
154 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 761-0272; lazyboysaloon.com
The Lazy Boy Saloon & Ale House is a beer hub, offering hundres of bottles, 40-plus drafts, and casks. As if that isn’t enough beer offerings, every so often they’ll bring a brewery to the bar to sample its offerings. Breweries featured this past year have included River Horse Brewing Company from New Jersey, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers from San Francisco, and Founders Brewing Co. from Michigan. They also host events like their Holiday Beer Night in December, with samples of different brewers’ seasonal offerings. So if beer is your thing, Lazy Boy has something for you.
Metro-North’s Hudson Line
511 or (877) 690-5114
Sure, all of the Metro-North trains allow for a multi-tasking commute—just try to find someone who isn’t typing away on a phone, laptop, or tablet while riding. (If you can, they’re probably asleep, which is another good option.) But only the Hudson Line lets you look up and watch the sun set over the Palisades and the sparkling Hudson River. Somehow, that view just elevates the whole commute.
Yes We Know It’s a Chain But…
2548 Central Ave, Yonkers
(347) 913-5394; drafthouse.com
No longer will we have to envy Texans for their well-run, well-programmed, dine-in movie theaters. In mid-July, the Alamo Drafthouse opens in the old Movieland location. Not only will you be able to get dinner and drinks delivered to your seats, the Drafthouse will have a strict policy against cellphone use, so you won’t have to worry about the distracting glow of texters. We’re counting the days.
Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve
Rte 118 (just north of the Rte 129 intersection), Yorktown Heights
(914) 245-4650; nynjtc.org/park/turkey-mountain-nature-preserve
After a 30-minute trek up the 1.4-mile blue trail, which starts more like a leisurely nature stroll and then turns into an aerobic workout, you are treated to one of the best views in Westchester. On a clear day, you can see the Manhattan skyline, and on any day, you can see the nearby reservoirs and bridges. In spring, it’s a terrific place to check out beautiful wildflowers; in the autumn, the view of the fall foliage from the summit is spectacular. Two words of warning: The hike may be difficult for very young children, and, although the sign says “no dogs,” everyone brings them.
Hard Rock Performances
600 Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers
(914) 961-8960; barneymcnabbs.com
It’s rare these days to find musicians who actually play instruments, unless you drop hundreds of dollars for those one-off reunion tours. So when we get the hankering to thrash around to some wailing guitars and pulsing drums, we head to Barney McNabbs, where there’s rarely a cover. It’s no Madison Square Garden, but the quaint stage has hosted some pretty kick-ass bands. From local hard-rockers to Rage Against the Machine and Iron Maiden cover bands, you’ll find them here—just follow the moshing crowd.
New Music Venue
The Capitol Theatre
149 Westchester Ave, Port Chester
(914) 937-4126; thecapitoltheatre.com
Talk about coming onto the scene with a bang: When the Capitol re-opened for concerts in September 2012, it got Bob Dylan as the inaugural act. And it keeps on attracting some of the biggest names that have come to the County: The Roots, Fiona Apple, B.B. King, David Byrne and St. Vincent, Courtney Love, the Alabama Shakes—the list keeps growing. Plus, all concerts happen in a beautiful, historic theater.
Irish Music Sessions
431 White Plains Rd, Eastchester
(914) 395-3838; mickeyspillanes.com
If you’re looking for a place to drink where you can close your eyes and imagine you’re on the Emerald Isle, then Mickey Spillane’s is your place. During their monthly Celtic Sundays from mid-February through May, the bar hosts traditional Irish bands and musicians. You’ll be able to catch traditional fiddlers like Finbar Kantor, Brian Conway, and Dylan Foley. So just come in, order a Guinness and some Dublin-style fish and chips, close your eyes, and let the fiddlers take you away to the Irish countryside.
Kick the Keg Nights
Growlers Beer Bistro
25 Main St, Tuckahoe
When Growlers Beer Bistro opened in Tuckahoe in 2011, selection-starved craft-beer enthusiasts down-county cheered about its 20 tap lines, rotating international offerings, and artisanal leanings. Last September, they cheered again when Growlers started monthly, third-Thursday Kick the Keg nights featuring breweries like Blue Point, Lagunitas, and Yonkers Brewing Co. The convivial atmosphere celebrates the small batch, so make sure to get there before they’re all tapped out.
New Art Gallery
Reverol & Co. Contemporary Art
300 Huguenot St, New Rochelle
(914) 413-1120; reverolco.com
Having worked in the Manhattan art world, Venezuelan native John Reverol was struck by the fact that there was no contemporary art gallery in his new hometown’s downtown commercial district. So, lucky for us, he took action, launching this intimate gallery space featuring works of paper, assemblages, painting, and photography in a minimalist setting. In doing so, Reverol has helped to transform Huguenot Street into an up-and-coming County destination, one storefront at a time—he also owns the French-style café next door. So come for some hip and happening art—new shows by emerging, mid-career, and established artists are mounted every five weeks—and then continue the conversation over a cappuccino.
Rainy Day Activity
Westchester Table Tennis Center
175 Tompkins Ave, Pleasantville
Whether you’re looking to knock the ball around with your kids, take on your frenemies, or watch the pros, this 13,000-plus-square-foot facility in Pleasantville has table tennis for everyone. And if you don’t believe us, check out the upcoming events on its website, which has recently featured the North America Cup and beer pong! It’s about the same price as going to the movies, but you can stay all day, and it’s a better workout.
97 Lake Sports Café & Restaurant
97 Lake St, West Harrison
(914) 328-1414; 97lake.com
With 28 flatscreens—and one 108-inch HD screen—surrounding the 3,500-square-foot space, 97 Lake is your best bet to catch every game of every league—be it the NFL, NBA, MLB, or college. The three-year-old establishment has a gluten-free menu in addition to its regular menu, and all food is made with fresh ingredients, so it’s a bit healthier than other greasy-spoon sports-bar hangouts. (We recommend the house-made fries.) Beer and food specials, like 50-cent wings, abound during game days. It also features 12 taps, with staples like Magic Hat, Samuel Adams, and Blue Moon—and even some gluten-free beer options. Alan Marc Smith opened the bar to be a 21st-century Cheers. “It’s today’s version of a sports bar,” Smith says. “It’s not a dark and dingy dive.” And with a restaurant area separate from the bar, it’s even a place where families can enjoy a game.
Based in White Plains
(914) 304-4093; theaterextras.com
For a hundred bucks, you might be able to get a ticket to a Broadway or Off-Broadway play—or you can join Theater Extras and get access to a year’s worth of shows as a seat-filler. Joining costs just $99 a year for pairs or $175 a year for a family of four (with a $4 fee per ticket), and you can request as many first-come, first-served tickets as you want.
Place for a Girls’ Night Out
One Radisson Plaza, New Rochelle
(914) 576-4141; nomasocial.com
For ladies who like to lounge—ideally with a cocktail—this is your place. The food is delightful (a small-plates menu is divided into “tapas,” “to complement,” “to share,” or “not to share”); the drinks are amazing (25 cocktails, five of which are “skinny”); and the décor is funky and fun. Plus, did we mention half-price Happy Hour?
181 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 358-5811; ronblacks.com
There are few things better than showing off how smart you are—while drinking and winning cash, of course. Every Tuesday night starting at 7:30, Ron Blacks hosts its free-to-enter Trivia Night. Every week during a season (seasons usually last about 16 weeks each), winners receive $100 cash. But the winning doesn’t stop there—weekly winners qualify to win the grand prize of $400 during the season’s finale. (Each season’s second- and third-place finishers get gift certificates.) But with themes that change weekly, winning money comes second to the fun.
Unique Dance Class
Moving Wheels & Heels at Steffi Nossen School of Dance
216 Central Ave, White Plains
(914) 328-1900; steffinossen.org
If any dance class exemplifies Steffi Nossen’s philosophy—“Anyone can dance and everyone should!”—it’s this one. The oldest dance school in Westchester offers this wonderful class for those who are wheelchair-bound or have limited mobility, proving that anyone can, indeed, dance. They also offer classes for those with emotional or developmental disabilities. Moving Wheels & Heels explores the joy of movement in a safe and supportive environment. The class combines technique, improvisation, and movement to enhance creativity, increase strength and range of motion, and build self-esteem among parcicipants. Live music accompaniment is the icing on the cake!