Last Saturday night I went to the The West Side Pistol Range. Can you imagine that “holy shit this sounds fucking so awesome I can’t fucking believe it?!” moment you have when you get to go on a date where you’re actually shooting pistols and fucking AT THE SAME TIME?! Well, that’s not what happened to me and I never had that fantasy either. But it sounded sufficiently cocksure to pass the editorial litmus test we have here.
First things first: you can’t shoot anything other than a .22 rifle without a license. I repeat, you can only shoot a .22 rifle without a license. If you’ve shot a .22 before, you can tune out now because this will probably be a bit of a bore to you. If you haven’t, you’re in luck, because that’s all you get to shoot.
Part of doing the shooting is taking an informative and brief firearms safety course. It’s about 10 minutes, covers the basics, and afterwards you start loading the magazines.
You’re given a 1022 Ruger Semi-Automatic Rifle, a package of 50 bullets, and a magazine. It took all of 3 minutes to load all five magazines with bullets (each magazine holds ten). At that point I went onto the range and started shooting with all the zeal of a 6-year-old with a BB gun — which is about accurate for what it feels like to: the Ruger isn’t exactly the most powerful firearm you can use. Nevertheless, it’s pretty fucking cool if you’ve never fired a gun. If you have, it’s probably up there with a bowling date.
All that said, it’s a great start to an early evening (the range closes at 5pm on Saturdays). It’s also $50 dollars the first time you do it (after you pay for the course it’s $25 each time thereafter, provided you go back within three months).
What: West Side Pistol Range
Where: 20 West 20th Street between 5th and 6th
How Much: $55 each the first time, $25 each subsequent time. Boxes of bullets are something like $4 for 50 rounds — cheap!).
When: They’re open ’til 9pm most nights, but that doesn’t apply to people who need training — they close at 5pm for you.
Now, after this you have a couple of options. You could continue to pay and arm and a leg and go onto a place like Aspen on 22nd between 5th and 6th. I’d almost recommend it because last time I was there, there was a cabaret after dinner that was good, interesting, hilarious and impossible to leave. When I say impossible to leave, I mean that the singer (an outgoing, churlish, confrontational figure) made a point of waylaying each person who left and ripping them to shreds in front of an audience of about 50. It was hilarious. ha.
Alternatively, you could finally go over and see what all the fuss is about for Shake Shack. They’re open until eleven every night, serve alcohol and have delicious hamburgers. Plus they’re only a stone’s throw away at Madison Square Park (23rd and 5th). The only drawbacks here are:
1. The squirrels around this park are psychotic. The have no fear of man and love delicious Shake Shack french fries. They will swarm and, if nothing else, tag team you (the old “look at the cute squirrel in front of me while the one behind me picks my pocket” trick). Consider yourself warned.
2. If you don’t consider yourself a gifted conversationalist, do not go here — the line is no less than 10 minutes long and usually about three times longer. Work on your observational humor — there are lots of people around who are weird looking and love hamburgers. Discuss.
3. It’s not as cheap as you would think. Granted, it’s not like Burke in the Box where David Burke wiped his ass and suddenly the price of a hamburger the size of four stacked nickels is now nine dollars, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t a charity either (like the Burger Joint).
Let me know how it goes.