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6 Adrenaline Adventures in New York City

Forget the traditional city tour – these adventures will give you a whole new perspective on NYC, and get your heart racing too...

Helicopter tour of Manhattan

Think you’re happy with heights? If the Empire State Building’s Top Deck (on the 102nd floor) doesn’t make you wobbly-kneed, a high-altitude chopper ride over Manhattan might. But an NYC helicopter tour isn’t just for thrill-seekers – it’s a great way to get perspective on the city and its islands, neighbourhoods and best-loved sights. When you’re hovering over the Statue of Liberty, you’re far removed from the cut and thrust of the world’s most iconic city – leaving you to soak up the jaw-dropping bird’s eye view.

Jet skiing on the Hudson River

Jet skis aren’t just for beach holidays, you know: brush up your river-racing skills on a guided water tour of the Hudson, where you’ll be in command of your very own turbo-charged steed. The river runs right through NYC, but it’s easy to underestimate its beauty until you actually get on it. Perhaps you’ll cruise to Coney Island, bounce under Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, or speed to the Statue of Liberty? Wherever you go, here’s hoping you don’t recreate that scene from Hitch.

SUP yoga in New York Harbour

As if stand-up paddleboarding in a busy harbour isn’t challenging enough, try a spot of downward-facing dog on your board. SUP yoga might not have been conceived as an adrenaline activity, but trying to master a wobbly new pose without falling into the murky water will certainly get your heart racing. If that’s too much, try a simple SUP tour instead – and distract yourself from the shadowy depths by admiring your privileged views of the harbour.

Parkour in Brooklyn

There are no animals in Brooklyn Zoo NY. Instead, there are ninjas in training – for this, my friends, is a 420-square-metre parkour training centre. If you’re bored of pavements, parkour is for you. It’s ‘a discipline that emphasises efficient movement while flowing through obstacles with ease’, as the zoo’s website eloquently explains – and its classes teach ‘proper running, jumping, vaulting and climbing techniques’. Sign up for a private or group lesson, or simply hang out and gawp at the pros. Be warned: they will make you feel old, clumsy and very uncool.

Trapeze stunts in Manhattan and Brooklyn

You haven’t seen New York until you’ve seen it from upside down, flying through the air while hanging by the knees from a rickety swing. Ok, so in reality you probably won’t see anything because your eyes will be squeezed shut – but that’s all part of the fun at Trapeze School New York. Who comes to NYC to try trapeze, you might ask? Lots of people: TSNY now has bases in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, so you can embarrass yourself in two iconic locations. Great white-knuckle fun, and a pilgrimage spot for Sex and the City fans – can you manage a ‘Catch’?

Naked cycling in Manhattan

Bike saddles are uncomfortable at the best of times, but that doesn’t stop riders stripping off for the World Naked Bike Ride around Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn every June. This year, only a few brave bare-cheeked souls did the ride in nothing but a smile and a helmet, so they’d appreciate your support next year. Just don’t forget your suncream.

Written by Hazel Plush

Drawn to places that most people dismiss, I love digging out juicy stories in off-beat locations – whether that's poking around the furthermost corners of Europe, travelling overland in East Africa, or venturing beyond the malls and beaches of Dubai. I've travelled all over the world on assignment, but still haven't mastered the art of packing lightly. Tweet me @hazelplush

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