Health and wellness

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Exercising your right to finding better health — and inspiration.


  • Wellness Wednesdays are part of the plan for the Flatiron District this summer. Photo courtesy of Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District

  • Animal caretaker Todd Friedman helps out a beneficiary of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Cacioppo

  • Cows like this one have been helped at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, which visitors can tour -- and volunteers can help out. Photo: Thomas, via flickr

When walkers rule

Summer Streets

Aug. 4, 11 and 18, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.


The city seeks artists, performers and fitness experts as part of its Summer Streets event, where participants enjoy a car-free environment. On three special Saturday mornings, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, the streets feel especially welcoming. There's walking, biking, running and, well, just enjoying. The event extends along Park Avenue and connecting streets, with easy access from all points in New York City.

They teach, you dance

Alvin Ailey Extension classes

The Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 West 55th Street

One free class for newcomers; intro offer — two classes for $38.

June 14-23

Alvin Ailey is inviting you to dance. The dance organization, heading into its 60th year, has an ongoing initiative emphasizing “real classes for real people.” It's called Alvin Ailey Extension, and it's been around since 2005. This month more than 30 classes will be offered at the Ailey Studios to celebrate NYC Dance Week, which begins June 14. New students can take a free class; subsequent classes require payment. Check out the online calendar for details, and get ready to put some movement in your summer. If you're more interested in watching others dance, see for details about the dance theater's summer season at Lincoln Center.

Flatiron-style fitness

Wellness Wednesdays


Summer Wednesdays, June 20 through Aug.8

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

South Public Plaza, Flatiron District

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District doesn't seem to take the summer off. There are free tech classes, performances — and enough free fitness classes to keep you in shape for summer. The classes will be taught by instructors from local studios, including Exhale Flatiron, Uplift Studios, Bode NYC, New York Health & Racquet Club, and Tiger Schulmann. Check online for the details about which class is on which date. No July 4 class is slated.

Vacation volunteers

When summertime is a time to give back and do good

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

2 Rescue Road, High Falls, N.Y.

On Saturdays and Sundays, you can tour this animal sanctuary (suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors). It's 60 to 75 minutes and gives you an inside look at a place that's saving more than 400 animals.

Or you can go one better — volunteer to help those animals yourself. There's a three-hour minimum, and plenty of opportunity given the daily six-hour opportunity to assist.

“The animals poop 365 days a year,” reports Todd Friedman, an animal caretaker and volunteer coordinator at the sanctuary. He started as a volunteer himself. Now he coordinates groups of helpings, who come from many different walks of life. Educational institutions, businesses, offices — all come up with teams who stack hay and clean pig stalls and clear fields and coops.

“It's a team-building thing,” he says. “We have a ton of schools that come.”

There's a contact form on the sanctuary's website, where you can find out more about how to assist at the successful sanctuary. The 160-acre operation is in High Falls, 25 miles from Woodstock.

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