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Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but even glass beads can make excellent pals. If you'd prefer to make your own friends, you can adorn yourself with the Fashion Institute of Technology's Bauble, Bangle, and Bead Stringing course. In addition to making your own earrings, you'll "produce quality pieces, continue on to more advanced techniques, and be a more savvy consumer when shopping for costume jewelry."


If you've long since learned to crawl but have perhaps never learned the crawl, you might immerse yourself in one of the Beginner Swim Groups for adults at the 92nd Street Y. No experience is necessary for the class, which teaches "basic swimming skills and proper body alignment in a comfortable environment." Think how serene you'll feel slipping through the water with your sidestroke. Besides, if this whole rising-sea-level thing keeps on, it may prove an especially useful skill.

Stitch this: FIT students learn design.
photo: FIT
Stitch this: FIT students learn design.

Flip out! Chelsea Piers now offers a bevy of gymnastic classes for adults that are perfect if you have long longed to learn multiple-twist somersaults and tumbling routines, or perhaps merely hope to spend some quality time on the trampoline. Or you might try the new class Gymtensity, which offers "total body strength conditioning the gymnastics way." Only those already in good condition need apply.

Most new Yorkers have plenty of defenses—clipped speech, lack of eye contact, emotional unavailability—but few help in fending off attackers. At the Impact Basics Class for Teens and Adults (separate classes are available for both men and women) at Prepare Inc., an instructor in a padded suit will teach "physical skills, verbal strategies, and awareness and avoidance skills."


Sometimes weeks go by when all you see are pigeons, but New York is actually home to over 400 species of birds, robins, cardinals, red-tail hawks, blue warblers, and monk parakeets among them. For an introduction to some of our avian neighbors, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers Birdwatching toursthrough many of the city's parks during the spring migrations. The tours are BYOB—Bring Your Own Binoculars.

Many of us New Yorkers aspire to apartments with outdoor space, but in the meantime we might content our twiddling green thumbs with an all-day seminar at the New York Botanical Garden entitled Houseplant Extravaganza. Lectures and demonstrations include Orchids at Home, An Indoor Herb Garden, Aristocratic Aroids, and Cacti and Succulents.


Anyone can put a record on a turntable (provided they can find one), but not everyone can be a Paul Oakenfold, a Fatboy Slim, a Sasha & John Digweed. But if these are your aspirations, you might get into the mix with Dubspot's Basic DJ Course. Students learn equipment setup and breakdown, basic music theory, and basic beat-mixing, and there's an intro to mixing, sounds, and levels, along with an intro to scratching.

"I've got rhythm/I've got music/I've got my gal/Who could ask for anything more?" wonders George Gershwin. It's a fair question, but what if you don't have rhythm? Happily, Mannes College for Music offers a course in Rhythmic Support. We kid, of course. Rather, Rhythmic Support is just one course aspiring and continuing musicians can take along with studies in voice, piano, ear training, and music theory.


You mustn't tease or feed the animals at the Bronx Zoo, but you are invited to shoot them if you register for the Wildlife Photography Course. Julie Maher, the Conservation Society staff photographer, is clearly for the birds. She will show students how best to photograph the zoo's "toucans, bee eaters, and birds of paradise." As you chase after your winged subjects, you'll learn "how to capture the best shots through glass, how to avoid obstacles, and other tricks of the trade."

If your pictures posted on Flickr or Snapfish aren't winning the sort of plaudits you think they deserve and you suspect your photographic skills might be to blame, you might focus on Photo Manhattan's Introduction to Photography course. Offered for both digital and film cameras, the course teaches "Camera Settings, Exposure Control, Photo-Composition, Depth of Field, Basic Lighting, Portraiture and Project Development." It culminates in an exhibition of student work.

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