The pros say the first rule of cooking good fish is selecting a good fish to cook. This class teaches that first step by convening at the Fulton Fish Market before returning to the New School‘s Culinary Arts Center (212-255-4141, nsu.newschool.edu) to prepare the so-called catch of the day. Everything from poaching to sautéing will be taught in one session on April 15.
Nothing makes a cold apartment more cozy than the smell of fresh bread—and the heat necessary for baking it. Beginning February 16, the Institute of Culinary Education‘s “Techniques of Bread Baking 1 and 2 Combined” (212-847-0770, iceculinary.com/recreational) will teach any novice how to work with yeast and various flours to produce everything from focaccia to the perfect dinner roll in five six-hour sessions on consecutive days.
New York City Wine Class‘s philosophy is “We don’t drink what we like, we like what we drink.” If that doesn’t whet your appetite for more wine knowledge, perhaps wanting to impress the handsome sommelier at your local bistro does. In either case, “Wine 101 in One Night” (212-647-1875, nycwineclass.com) is a good start. Offered a few times in February, the class includes lots of food, wine, and information. [Tedra Meyer]
A friend from out of town recently said that Steps on Broadway (212-874-2410, stepsnyc.com) was the “most authentic New York experience” she had on her visit. The eclectic cross-section of dancers, ex-dancers, and wannabes you’ll find in any of the 50-plus dance classes offered daily provides fodder for a fascinating sociological study of New Yorkers, if not the inspiration you need to get back in the studio yourself. Try everything from ballet to hip-hop, and tap to jazz for all levels. Cost: $14.50 a class or a book of 10 for $135.
Also try Broadway Dance Center (212-582-9304, broadwaydancecenter.com) and Peridance Center (212-505-0886, peridance.com) for similar classes at comparable prices, as you contemplate the double meaning of those perky “ballet buns,” while memories of the sticky sort you ate over the holidays are still fresh in your mind. [Adele Nickel]
After exhaustive, highly publicized talent searches, Live With Regis and TBA and The View filled their open host positions with . . . established television personalities. Oh well, you never know when those little taxicab TVs will need a new on-screen spokesperson. TVI Actors Studio‘s (212-302-1900, tvistudios.com) “Television Hosting” class will coach you in “off-the-cuff” banter and personal styling before leading you through a “simulated audition” for a hosting job. If Carson Daly can do it, how hard can it be?
I’ve read all three versions of King Lear and even slogged through The Merry Wives of Windsor, but in all my years of English lit I was never once required to read Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Now the 92nd Street Y (212-601-1000, 92y.org) is offering the overeducated a chance to finish breaking the spines of our Complete Works with a seven-session study of this “lasting tribute to Henry’s first wife.” I’m not so sure about the “lasting” bit, but hell, even if Henry VIII is a little bit louder and a little bit worse than the better-known history plays, it’s still Shakespeare. (As far as we know.)
Whether you get your profession, location, and physical handicap from the audience or from a script, spontaneity is never a bad idea, and if you’ve ever seen a rehearsed actor dry up in performance you know the value of thinking on your feet. NYU‘s “Acting 102: Improvisation Workshop” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) goes beyond the basics of improv as comedy to help actors appreciate the organic relationship between character and scene. Of course, in performance it’s best to stick to what the author intends, but brush up your improvisational skills and you won’t have to drop character just because the offstage prompt drops his script. [Mollie Wilson]
Do you miss the days of friendship bracelets made at Girl Scouts? Give this hobby a more sophisticated spin at F.I.T.‘s School of Continuing & Professional Studies’ “Bauble, Bangle, and Bead Stringing” (212-217-7999, fitnyc.suny.edu). Discover how to create beautiful beaded jewelry and even update some of your own pieces through restringing techniques. Stop wearing that tired Tiffany heart necklace and add some original flare to your outfit. The three-week class begins January 15. Cost: $90.
Guys, want to be sure that engagement ring you’re buying is worth $5,000 and isn’t just a hunk of glass? F.I.T.‘s “Diamond Grading” (212-217-7999, fitnyc.suny.edu) will teach you the inside techniques of grading clarity and cut. Give her something that will make her smile, not sigh in disappointment. Classes start in February and cost $252.
Are you constantly sketching ideas in the margins of notebooks and on scraps of paper? Do you think you could be the next Louis Vuitton? F.I.T.‘s “Sketching Accessories” (212-217-7999, fitnyc.suny.edu) will give you a foundation in three-dimensional sketching and how it relates to accessory design. Turn your scribbles into working visions of footwear, handbags, and belts. Classes start in February and cost $302.50. [Jennifer Holmes]
Are you a fan of the macabre? Do you go to the movies to scream? Then the New School‘s “The Skin Off Your Face: The Anatomy of Horror” (212-229-5600, newschool.edu) is the class for you. It begins with classics like King Kong, Frankenstein, and Nosferatu and then shifts to recent films. Topics such as terror and gender are explored through readings and film viewings. The class starts February 5 and runs for 13 sessions.
Was your favorite cartoon The Critic? Do you like sitting on your ass and watching movies? NYU‘s “Becoming a Film Critic” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu), from February 23 through March 29, will teach you how to turn your favorite pastime into something lucrative. You will learn what a reviewer looks for when viewing a film and turn opinions and observations into intelligent, interesting articles. You can be the next Ebert.
Why did Gigli bomb? See how movies are really made and why they fail. NYU‘s “Behind the Silver Screen” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu), from February 8 through 29, examines current movies and determines what political and strategical forces behind the scenes make a movie soar or fizzle. [Jennifer Holmes]
Funny story. I used to be a millionaire. Honest. I made it all in the Internet boom. Millions. It was fun to be rich; I bought everything in sight. Then, all of the sudden, it was gone. All of it. And I have no idea how. Since I try not to repeat mistakes, I plan on enrolling in “Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning” at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (scps.nyu.edu, 212-998-7171) in spring 2004, beginning in February. That way, when I get rich again, I’ll know what to do.
If you think about it, investing is a lot like stamp collecting. At first, you only have a few that you might keep in a folder. But then, as you accumulate more, you move them to a book. And then the books fill. And fill. If you’re not careful, they can get bent, ripped, or ruined. The key to any collection is organization. The New School‘s “How to Design Your Own Portfolio” (newschool.edu, 212-229-5600) teaches how to keep your investments organized and safe. The three sessions begin February 25.
Is paying rent getting to be too much of a hassle? Maybe it’s time to buy your own building and go from tenant to landlord! At the 92nd Street Y (92y.org, 212.415.5500), “Real Estate Planning: Buying a Co-op or Condominium” teaches what to look for “when reading an offering plan and how to assess the financial health of the building. Understand the contract and what a board requires, closing costs and assessing the value of the property, as well as fair housing laws.” [Zachary Wagman]
Volunteering is fun, isn’t it? Whether it’s at a nursing home, hospital, day care center, or homeless shelter, helping others is immensely gratifying. The only problem is, it doesn’t always leave much time for travel. Lucky for us, there’s the Peace Corps (peacecorps.gov, 800-424-8580). The Peace Corps is a federally funded agency that offers a variety of programs for volunteers to travel overseas (71 countries!) to assist nonprofits, local governments, communities, schools, health posts, cooperatives, and small businesses in everything from business development to health to education to agriculture to community development. Working with the Peace Corps is a two-year commitment, plus three months language, technical, and cross-cultural training. Benefits include full health insurance, round-trip ticket to your post, 48 days vacation, student loan deferment, and some graduate fellowships. If that’s not ideal for a world traveler with a social conscience, then I don’t know what is! [Zachary Wagman]
Sure, the French might not be popular right now, but that doesn’t mean ordering a French wine or discussing a French film won’t impress your friends! The French Institute Alliance Française (212-355-6100, fiaf.org) offers language, writing, literature, and film classes along with regular cultural events.
For all the global explorers, continental drifters, and any other sort of world travelers who find themselves having trouble getting their message across, Advanced Communication Services (212-929-0384, confidentspeech.com) offers “foreign accent reduction, regional accent modification, and voice improvement.”
I was lucky enough to study abroad and live with a Spanish family for a few months. My Spanish was rusty at first, but by the end of my stay, I was speaking, thinking, eating, drinking, and dreaming in Spanish! For those of you looking to dream in another language, visit Manhattan Language (212-683-5442, manhattanlanguage.com). [Zachary Wagman]
Wish you knew more about the cultural collisions that led to the blues—not to mention the difference between the sub-genres (Delta, Chicago, Texas, etc.)? New School‘s “Blues Power: The History and Significance of the Blues” (newschool.edu) is a 12-session, demonstration-heavy lecture class, meeting on Mondays from February 2.
If you’re hip to hurdy-gurdy, then ease on into “World Music” at Mannes College of Music (212-580-0210 ext.245, newschool.edu). The 15-session course, beginning January 28, serves as an in-depth introduction to the traditional musical cultures of India, Indonesia, Hungary, and more. When you finish the class, you’ll be able to listen analytically to unfamiliar sounds from around the globe.
For those who didn’t learn early in life, reading sheet music seems about as difficult as learning Sanskrit. But according to the Learning Annex (212-371-0280, learningannex.com), it’s a breezy, three-hour process. “Learn to Read Music in Just One Night” is taught by experienced New York-based musician Sara Landeau on February 19. [Tedra Meyer]
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . wait a minute, it is a bird. But what kind?! Lucky for you the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (718-623-7200, bbg.org) offers “Backyard Birding” to help you identify “different plants and landscapes that will attract birds to your backyard.”
Feeling disconnected here in the city? Tom Brown’s Tracker School (908-479-4681, trackerschool.com), in Asbury, New Jersey, offers seminars and workshops that emphasize survival, environmental protection, wildlife tracking, and general camping and hiking to bring out the woodsman in even the most urban of New Yorkers.
Can you not bear another humdrum weekend? Have you been itching to let loose and just monkey around? Have you been feeling like the otter person out at social functions? Stress no more! The Bronx Zoo (718-220-5100, bronxzoo.com) has lots of great educational programs for kids (“A Bit of Winter”) and for adults (“Love Is in the Air”). They’re not lion! [Zachary Wagman]
Feel like a tourist in your own city. NYU‘s (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) “On Location: Photographing New York,” from March 13 through May 15, will take you on field trips to important New York sites such as Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, and more. Take beautiful pictures that capture the imagery and rhythm of New York while learning basic camera techniques. A camera that can be set to “manual” is required.
Baffled by new technology and the ever increasing number of buttons and dials on your electronic SLR camera? The International Center of Photography (212-857-0001, icp.org) is here to help with the class “How to Use Your Electronic SLR Camera From A to Z.” This one-day seminar (February 14) will cover topics from metering and autofocus to flash. Cost: $255.
Are you an avid reader of Vogue? Are you more interested in the pictures than the articles? NYU‘s (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) “Fashion and Photography—Two Great Modern Arts” will lead you through the history of fashion photography and the role that magazines played in its development. Trips to museums, photo archives, and galleries are planned. Classes run March 5-6. Cost: $345. [Jennifer Holmes]
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Is it kosher to top the Christmas tree with a light-up Star of David? Can your mother-in-law’s favorite menorah double as a Kwanzaa candelabra? When you share your life with someone of another faith, you run into some touchy issues. Meet other mismatched pairs at the 92nd Street Y‘s (212-415-5765, 92y.org) “Workshops for Interfaith Couples” and discuss the complexities of your arrangements. Even if you don’t end up with insight, at least you’ll have a new group of friends with whom to kvetch about your disapproving families and trade recipes for Hanukkah fruitcake.
There’s more to Eastern philosophy than decorating tips and alternative medicine. NYU‘s “East Meets West: Major Thinkers of India and China” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) offers a thorough study of Indian and Chinese spirituality from the Vedanta to Tao and of famous thinkers from Buddha to Mao, focusing on how these texts and individuals were influenced by Western ideologies. Confucius say: Don’t pass up a chance to replace your uninformed stereotypes with actual information. [Mollie Wilson]
If you’re having trouble getting in touch with your inner snow bunny this year, look no further than Wild Earth Adventures (845.354.3717, wildearthadventures.com). Wilderness guru Charles Cook will be leading “holistic cross-country ski outings” in New York and New Jersey throughout January and February.
If the winter chills leave you aching for thrills, try cyclocross! Developed in the 1940s by a bunch of cabin-fevered Euro roadies who wanted an on-bike activity in the coldest part of winter, it’s the fastest growing cycling sport in the country. Learn the basics at cyclingnews.com/cross, then join the Kissena Cycling Club (kissena.info) and soon you’ll be navigating steep banks and stream crossings at road-racing speeds.
Or looking for one-stop shopping for all your winter sports needs? Then look no further than Chelsea Piers (chelseapiers.com), the 30-acre waterfront sports village between 17th and 23rd streets and the Hudson River. You’ll find ice and roller skating rinks, batting cages and bowling lanes, 36 championship golf courses (played on “Full Swing Simulators”), basketball, indoor soccer, a rock-climbing wall, full-service health club, and much more. [Adele Nickel]
This class is for those whose stoop-sale fetish has filled their apartments with tattered old furniture in desperate need of repair. Forget about repairing; just add a new layer of paint. “Furniture decorating techniques” is a five-session class starting February 5, at the Folk Art Institute (212-265-1040, ext. 105). Cost: $155.
Open to all levels of artist, the Bridgeview School of Fine Art‘s “Portrait and Figure Sculpture: Classical Approach” (718-937-1300, academicart.com) is a primer for the budding Rodin in you. Working from a model, students will explore essentials such as anatomy, proportion, balance, and treatment of surfaces.
If you think Scarlett Johansson’s version of Vermeer’s girl has too much of a Hollywood veneer, get up close and personal with authentic 17th and 18th century paintings. NYU‘s “Great Old Masters in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” beginning February 4, prefers the real thing to reproductions; hence, class meets at the Met. Cost: $370. [Tedra Meyer]
Whether you endured childhood poverty in Ireland or just suffered through a series of bad hairstyles, your adoring public deserves to hear all about it. Hunter College‘s “Everyone Has a Story: Memoir Writing” class (212-650-3850, http://ce.hunter.cuny.edu) will help you mold your tales of survival into literature, for the edification of the masses or simply for your own narcissistic satisfaction.
“A monkey could write this stuff!” you think, as another must-see lineup leaves you feeling empty. Now’s your chance to hone your own simian skills crafting a spec script in Gotham Writers’ Workshop‘s “TV Sitcom Writing I” (gothamwritersworkshop.com). The course promises to present the fundamentals of the genre “in an easy-to-understand, accessible manner.” Thank God, because those literary references on I’m With Her are waaay over my head.
You see enough weird shit to fill a novel every time you get on the subway. As long as you’re stuck putting up with it, why not write it down? The 92nd Street Y‘s “In a New York Minute: Writing the City Experience” (212-601-1000, 92y.org) promises to help you draw inspiration from your Big Apple adventures, both “mundane” and “magical,” in the process of creating short masterpieces of fiction and nonfiction. My project is a piece of magical realism called, “The Local That Mysteriously Becomes an Express and Skips My Stop Whenever I’m Running Late.” [Mollie Wilson]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 6, 2004