By Alexis Soloski
By Molly Grogan
By R. C. Baker
By Christian Viveros-Fauné
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By Lilly Lampe
Brrrr! Enjoy waves in winter while bird-watching on Saturday, Feb. 10, at Jones Beach(described by the Brooklyn Bird Club as "one of the best winter spots for birding in the metropolitan area"). The beach geography affords protection for several species, such as owls, gulls, and winter passerines. Registration for the field trip begins Jan. 30 and ends on Feb. 8. Contact Paul Keim, 718-875-1151. The carpooling fee is $5. Information on meeting time and location will be available near the end of the registration period.
Spend what promises to be a colorful day among 10 acres of gardens and floral exhibits at the Philadelphia Flower Show. On Tuesday, Mar. 6, the New York Botanical Gardenwill sponsor a one-day (7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) bus trip to the show, whose theme is "Great Gardeners of the World," featuring 60 of the nation's best. The price, which includes a full luncheon and admission, is $90/$135 for nonmembers. Space is limited, so reserve early. Call the membership department at 718-817-8724. —Wista Jeanne Johnson
Hone your skills in the art of photography for $35 annually with Photo-Seminars.com (800-888-8273; photo-seminars.com). Online courses include "Photojournalism," "Sports and Action," and "Photo Design." Students also have access to seminars, field guides, tips and tricks, and faculty white papers. Sample lessons are available.
If you prefer instruction tailored to your experience level, veteran photographer Len Bernstein(925-1139; www.lenbernstein.com) provides one-on-one, full-day workshops (which include a portfolio review, shooting in the field, and two follow-up assignments) for $400 and two-hour workshops (by telephone and mail with one shooting assignment and critique) for $100. Bernstein promotes the concept of "aesthetic realism," and schedules shoots at sites based on students' needs.
One of the city's great cultural institutions, the 92nd Street Y (415-5500), offers two classes for photo buffs. "Introduction to Photography Without a Dark-room" begins Jan. 25 and Jan. 31 for 10 sessions. The $300 course covers the basics of 35mm photography. Another two-session class, "Photographing the Landscape," will be held on Apr. 22 (9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Rockland County and May 6 (10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at the Y ($125 for both sessions). —Wista Jeanne Johnson
religion & spirituality
Find a beacon of peace in a chaos-strewn city of sin. The New York Shambhala Center (675-6544) offers "Being Human: The Practice of Calm Abiding" (Thursdays from Jan. 18; $50/$40 members) and "Introduction to the History of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism" (Thursdays from Feb. 15; $75/$60 members). And the introductory weekly dharma gathering meets on Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m.
Remember that dream you had? The one you could make neither head nor tail of, but seemed so important. . . . For when you have that uncanny feeling that your subconscious is trying to tell you something, the C.G. Jung Foundation(697-6430) offers "Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of," a five-week course led by Melinda Haas. Beginning Apr. 11, and meeting Wednesdays from 7 to 8:40 p.m, this class helps unravel dream symbolism's threads of mystery. Cost: $125/$110 for members.
Explore the connections between Caribbean culture and the religion of Santería at the Caribbean Cultural Center(307-7420). Santería emerged in the Caribbean when Africans masked their gods with Christian saints. In two workshops (Feb. 3 and 7), Marta Moreno-Vega will discuss her book Altar of My Soul, about ancestor worship and the Orisha tradition. Cost: $10/$8 members. —Amber Cortes
Perhaps you've dreamt about the magic world that lies underneath the tranquil ocean? Aqua-Lung School of New York(718-317-1150; www.aqua-trax.com) offers a variety of courses specializing in scuba education. Classes meet at the Children's Aid Society pool at the Milbank Center on 118th St., on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Aikido teaches growth and evolution, emphasizing harmony. Aikido of Manhattan(646-336-9371; aikidoofmanhattan.com) is the perfect place to start. Classes are offered six days a week, three or four times a day, and there is no limit—members can stay there all day! All you need is a uniform (sold on the premises).
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and . . . jump! Voilà! There's another hand waiting for you. Hold on tight—let your body glide through the air—add a little twist. Yes, you're flying—or almost—and it feels great! Chelsea Piers Field House(336-6500; chelseapiers.com) has one-on-one trapeze classes (by appointment) for $72 an hour. —Camila Gamboa
Marcel Duchamp once said that "the only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges." To prove him wrong, register now with the National Academy of Design School of Fine Arts (nationalacademy.org). Since 1825, the school has offered classes in painting, watercolor, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.
The School of Visual Arts' undergraduate, graduate, and special programs (www.schoolofvisualarts.edu) will take you deeper into the creative process. Embrace one of the many courses offered (advertising, cartooning, graphic design, or art therapy) and make your ideas real.
Reflect on the past and celebrate the future. The M.F.A. program in visual arts at Columbia University(854-2134) gives you the tools to discover your hidden potential. It's a two-year is a matrix of familiar disciplines in tune with the times, including digital media, drawing, new genres, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video art.—Ioana Veleanu