Course(s) for Adventure



With locations in DUMBO, the East Village, and now Long Island City, Recycle-A-Bicycle offers Free Bicycle Repair workshops. It’s Tuesday nights for ladies and Thursdays for the rest of you. The L.I.C. location hosts Bike New York’s Savvy Cyclist to help you pedal down busy streets.

Bring your wheels down to Battery Park for some tips on keeping things in tip-top shape at the Fix Your Own Bike workshop. 212-267-9700,

The city’s numerous CSA clubs—that’s community-supported agriculture for you neophytes—can seem like a godsend for a certain organic-loving crowd. But CSAs still invite a certain level of moaning, as in, “I’m paying this much for radishes?” or, “I’m too tired to go pick it up, you do it.” Quit whining and join Just Food, where they’ll teach you to become a community chef. Learn to guide workshops on local and seasonal eating and cooking. Help other New Yorkers learn the basics of nutrition, food storage, and more. There’s a $100 fee for training, but each workshop you lead earns you a $100 stipend. 212-645-9880,

Like a homegrown version of the Discovery Channel’s Bear Grylls, “Wildman” Steve Brill leads visitors on Wild Food Tours into the savage depths of the city’s many public parks. Learn to identify and harvest wild plants like herbs and mushrooms for food and medicine. Brill forages through the wilds of Central Park, Prospect Park, and Inwood Hill Park. 914-835-2153,

Thinking big—really big? Columbia University and Barnard College serve up a diverse selection of à la carte courses and full degrees for students interested in the environment. The Earth Institute at Columbia University offers choices from a B.A. in Environmental Biology to an M.A. in Climate and Society or an M.S. in Earth Resources Engineering. 845-365-8565,


With courses like Theory, Ear Training, and Vocal Pedagogy, Mannes College is like Hogwarts for the city’s musical types. The fearless profs tackle subjects most of us can’t comprehend. Luckily, they also teach Stress Managment & Yoga for Musicians, Paris in the 1920s, and History of Jazz for the more casual music fan. 212-580-0210,

As warm weather fades and autumn turns into the winter, you can still make it feel like West Indian summer with Salsa, Soca and Reggae: Popular Musics of the Caribbean. Learn the history and cultural context of these popular styles. 212-854-9666,

“Baby come back . . . bah, dah, duh.” Got a half-formed lyric in your mind, or a melody you can’t stop humming? Take a course in Songwriting at NYU and learn to shape those fragments into bona fide ear worms. You never know—maybe next year every summer party will be jamming to your hits. 212-998-7200,


With On the Edge: Learning to Give Peak Performances, practice your prac- ticing. Learn to get the most out of your rehearsal time and save friends and family the awkward-ness of faux-complimenting the program at your next show. 212-799-5040,

According to Stephen Rosenfield, there are two rules to making it in comedy: “Get good and get seen.” The American Comedy Institute’s Stand-Up Workshop will put you in front of a crowd; the rest is on you. Learn to structure your writing, create a persona, and deal with stage fright. 212-279-6980,

New York’s theater choices are so numerous, it’s tough to know what’s worth seeing and what to avoid. Trust Columbia’s
New York Theatre course to guide you. In addition to attending performances, you’ll go to weekly meet-ings where you can howl about whatever tripe you’ve just seen. 212-854-9666,


The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a range of classes from the specific (Warhol and His World, Claude Monet) to the more general (History of Photography, Art and the City), with the added pleasure of getting to visit the museum after hours. Check the schedule for upcoming courses. Move quickly—they tend to sell out. 212-708-9400,

Gallery-hopping through Chelsea is one of the most pleasant and cost-efficient ways to spend an evening. But most people spend their time gazing into their free wine and at each other instead of at the art. After NYU’s The Art Scene: Fall 2007, you’ll be able to chat confidently and maybe even impress one of those intimating gallerinas. 212-998-7200,

With classes from morning to evening, the Arts Students League of New York has what you’re looking for, at a price you can probably pay. You’ll find drawing, painting, and sculpture. 212.247.4510,

Unleash your artistic impulses with municipal sketching classes downtown: Drawing in the Park, Elements of Nature Drawing, and Figure al Fresco. All materials will be provided. 212-267-9700,

Take your Halloween decorating to the next level and sign up now for the Glass Pumpkin Workshop at Urban Glass. You’ll learn to create handblown pumpkins that say, “I am an adult and I take this children’s holiday very seriously. You got a problem?” Classes are also available in creating your own jewelry, as well as neon signs. 718-625-3685,


Got a fancy digital camera but no clue how to use it? Try the International Center of Photography, with courses like
Principles of Black-and-White and Color Photography, and Fundamentals of Digital Photography for Beginners. 212-857-0001,

Dorothea Lange said that “the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” NYU’s
Great Photographers course examines the work of those who so deeply influenced the way we see today. Study the work of masters like Walker Evans, Alfried Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and others. Guaranteed A+ for anyone who manages to truss the Cobrasnake and force him to attend. 212-998-7200,


Make history come to life at the New York Historical Society. At The Life and Times of a Civil War Soldier, kids can talk to period “soldiers” stationed throughout the museum. 212-873-3400,

You don’t have to be Scandinavian or even blond to drop by the Heimbold Family Children’s Learning Center at Scandinavia House. Kids can learn a bit of history and culture while romping about with the books and toys. 212-879-9779,

Budding artists can nab a free introductory lesson at the Artistry Project. With ongoing choices like
Fast Forward to the Future, and Ahoy! It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me, there are enough options to keep a range of ages returning. 718-858-0217,

The inventive Mark Morris has performed, choreographed, and directed all over the world, scooping up accolades along the way. His
School at the Mark Morris Dance Center offers tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern, and ballet for hoofers from ages four to 17. 718-624-8400,

While the adorable little demons on Supernanny make for good TV, having some in your house is a different story. The NYU Child Study Center offers instruction for beleaguered parents—programs like Getting a Good Start for those with infants and
Thriving Teens for the later years. 212-263-6622,


Learn the essentials of any screenplay, from plot to conflict and theme with NYU’s The Screen-writer’s Craft. 212-998-7200,

Left uninspired by the selections down at the local cinema? Then sign up for Independent Filmmaking from A to Z. It’s a complete crash course, with lessons on acquiring financing, breaking into the festival circuit, and eventually securing distribution and release. This stuff isn’t just book learning either; you’ll be putting together a low-budget—or no-budget—project of your own. 212-229-5690,

Makor offers a seminar on the depiction of the unusually talented in The Portrayal of Genius and the Exceptional Person. Films like Shine, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and A Dangerous Mind show the gifted as particularly subject to despair and madness. Includes screenings of various American and foreign films. 212-601-1000,


Fashion and commerce come together in FIT’s Design: The Fine Art of Business. You’ll learn to market your designs to industry experts at trade fairs, shops, showrooms, and the like. Curmudgeons take note: Humor and enjoyment are emphasized alongside time management and salesmanship. 212-217-3760,

Standards of decency in women’s fashion have varied widely over time. Once the sight of bare ankles was considered scandalous; today certain celebrities seem to be collecting merit badges in the art of flashing their total business.
Fashion, Pop Culture, and the 20th Century traces the evolution of fashion and pop culture in relation to politics, economics, and art. 212-229-5690,

Knowing the potential pitfalls of starting your own business is a great first step toward avoiding them. Sign up for a class like
Finance for Fashionistas or Costing: How to Win the Garment Game and learn the sweet sounds of terms like “reducing financial risks,” “achieving return on investments,” and “increasing net profitability.” 212-217-3760,


Try your hand at feature reporting, copywriting, advertising, fund-raising, writing for TV and radio, and more with
Writing Across Media. 212-229-5690,

If you were to mention podcasts two years ago, most people would have responded with a blank stare. Then along came The Ricky Gervais Show and with it, a little bald-headed genius named Karl. Millions of downloads later, fans are obsessed and a slightly daft-sounding technology (you mean it’s just a long MP3?) has risen to iTunes supremacy. Producing Podcasts will teach you to prepare audio and video content for your own show. 212-229-5690, 212-229-5690,

“Oh my God, the funniest thing happened.” Get beyond the barstool anecdote with the Craft of the Comic Essay. You’ll learn to use pacing, dialogue, structure, and detail to make your material killer. 212-563-7488, the

If, as the expression goes, everyone really does have one novel inside him or her, what’s yours? A techno-thriller, a bad-bosses-go-to-hell revenge story (no more, please), a serious post-collegiate coming-of-age story (ditto)? NYU’s Beginning Your Novel will help you turn short stories into longer fiction. 212-998-7200,

Experienced writers looking for a community of fellow scribes as well as feedback on troublesome pieces can apply to the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop for courses like Advanced Fiction Writing. They also offer an MFA Application Workshop to help ease the stress of the application

Potential writers in search of a little guidance should check out the courses like Writing From a Woman’s Point of View and Writing for Newspapers and Maga-zines. One course will help you create believable female characters, while the other will teach you to form pitches for news stories, essays, and reviews. 646-505-4444,”>


The New York Open Center’s mission is “to heal the body, nourish the soul, and awaken the spirit.” It has Hatha Vinyasa–style Drop-in Yoga, with free mats for borrowing, and with Introduction to Reflexology. Anyone for The Language of Compassion: An Introduction to Nonviolent Commun-ication? 212.219.2527,

The 92nd Street Y teams up with the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross to offer certification programs in Child and Adult CPR, and basic First Aid. Go ahead, save a life. 212.415.5500,

The Ski Conditioning Workshop gets hardcore snow bunnies ready for the season with the latest in technology and exercises. 212.415.5500,

Students of the Korean martial art hapkido learn the principles of Yu, Won, and Wha, or flowing water, circle, and harmony, respectively. Guided by their sabumnim, Korean for “master,” acolytes at the World Martial Arts Center are exhorted to “Be unusual. Be extraordinary. Be a martial artist. Let your light shine.” If Chuck Norris were a Quaker, he’d study here. 718-855-9898,

Living in this city can have peculiar effects on one’s peace of mind. Is it better to move or just ignore that scary guy in the subway car? How about the kids blocking the door to your building? The Kokushi Budo Institute offers training in self-defense for the paranoid and the prudent alike. Based on the principles of Jujitsu, the course is pared to basics like defense and escapes. 212-866-6777,


Whether you’re an experienced home cook or an ambitious newbie, the New School offers a range of courses to suit your needs. Start with the Master Class in Cooking for essentials like knife handling. You’ll become comfortable enough in the kitchen to create your own recipes as well. Move on to a Personal Chef Master Class and acquire the business acumen to turn your newfound skills into well-earned dollars. Experienced back-of-house vets can check out Restaurant Management, designed to teach the ins and outs of running your own joint. Learn to manage a staff, jump through legal and insurance hoops, and make effective purchasing and pricing decisions—aha, so that’s why they mark up the wine 300 percent! 212-229-5690,

The options at your local greenmarket can be baffling. One week it’s all about ramps, with their mayfly-like lifespan, the next you’re up to your eyeballs in summer squash and Thai lemon basil. Join author Richard Ruben for Cooking in the Moment: Greenmarket Cuisine, sponsored by the Institute for Culinary Education. Meet up at the market, and he’ll guide you through the day’s offerings before heading to the kitchen and showing you how to turn your buys into a feast. 888-354-2433,

Kitchen klutzes and hardened pros alike can learn something in the classes at the Jewish Community Center. Try a course like
Master- ing Cookbook Cooking, whether you’re leaning the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons or just want some tips on making last-minute substitutions. 646-505-4444,

Next time you order an iced and frothy choco- late confection from Starbucks, take a minute to think about all the years of exploring and adventure it took to bring together these two ingredients from the Old World (coffee) and the New World (chocolate). At least that’s what author Clay Gordan would like you to do in How Chocolate Gets Its Taste, where participants learn about the production of cacao in various countries around the world.

Armed with spoons, brushes, squeeze bottles, and the techniques you pick up in the French Culinary Institute’s course in Plating & Food Styling, you can transform even the most humdrum plate into a work of art. 888-324-2433,


Photoshop has so many more capabilities than just cropping pictures and designing ransom notes. Photoshop Basics will help you get the most out of the program’s features and tools. 212-229-5690,

In addition to hosting computer recycling programs in low-income communities, the Per Scholas organization runs the
Computer Technician Training Program. It strives to prepare students for the A+ Certification test, training them for careers in a lucrative field. Tuition and materials are free. Graduating students receive a Pentium III computer to refurbish and keep. 800-877-4068,

The Pace Computer Learning Center
offers everything you might need to become a techno whiz, from the basics like Excel and PowerPoint to programs like Dreamweaver and Flash. Classes are also available in Java, A+, and Linux for the truly technical-minded. 212-346-1222,

“Only buy a laptop computer that you can return for a full refund” is the mantra taught in Buying and Owning a Laptop Computer. You’ll cover buying new vs. refurbished, networking devices, portable printers, screen care, and security. 212-650-3850,

Designed to rid you of that “Dammit, there must be an easier way to do this” feeling, Excel: Advanced Tools and Techniques will turn you into a “power user.” 212-998-7200,


From the loveable Apu on The Simpsons to the execrable joke-stealer Carlos Mencia, people with funny accents are a staple of comedy. Hunter College’s Accent Reduction for Non-Native Speakers of English will help students get the last laugh by identifying their pronunciation difficulties and learning the rhythms of informal everyday conversation. 212-650-3850,

The standard curriculum for studying German at the Deutsches Haus at NYU reads, Level 1: Travel in a German-speaking country. Read a love letter. Write a card to your friends or your family. Go shopping. Talk about yourself and others. Level 2: Talk about likes, dislikes, and needs. How to get around in a German city and ask for directions. Talk about your job and your hobbies. Telling time and date. Schisse! That’s probably more excitement than you’ve had in ages—what are you waiting for? 212-998-8660,

The Japan Society offers two workshops for novices in Japanese, plus a slate of courses in the country’s arts and culture. 212-832-1155,