Ways to make friends: create a masterpiece—sort of
BYOB Painting at the Painting Lounge
Rub elbows with other budding Picassos at this booze-fueled art lesson, where you’ll re-create a masterpiece. Each session focuses on a famous work by Van Gogh, Monet or another legend. Teachers go through the brushwork step-by-step, so no need to stress if you’re not Da Vinci. Participants are encouraged to bring their own beverage to get creative juices—and conversation—flowing. 438 Union Ave between Metropolitan Ave and Devoe St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (paintinglounge.com). Schedule varies; $50–$65.—Rebecca Fishbein
Ways to make friends: give new meaning to BYOB
Brewshop 101 at Bitter & Esters
Learn to make your own craft beer at this two-hour workshop. Instructors will teach you about malt, hops, yeast and styles, then you can chat with classmates and sample a few pints for inspiration before starting on your own creation. The intro course is aone-session deal, so make the most of the preclass socializing time. 700 Washington Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (bitterandesters.com). Schedule varies; single class $55.—Rebecca Fishbein
Ways to make friends: speak a common language
Intro classes at Fluent City
This company offers electives in ten languages (including French, Spanish and Arabic), and the 15-person classes ensure everyone gets personal attention. There’s significant focus on partner work, and Fluent City also organizes events outside of class and occasional trips abroad. 143 Skillman Ave between Graham and Manhattan Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (fluentcity.com). Manhattan locations and schedules vary; $315–$355.—Rebecca Fishbein
“People I’ve met are open to new things and curious. It’s easy to maintain friendships, because you have mutual acquaintances and things to talk about.”—Julia Schweizer, 24, event manager, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Ways to make friends: put on a show
Improv 101 at UCB Training Center
Find your new sounding board with UCB’s introductory improvisation course. The three-hour, eight-week classes are capped at 16 students, breaking the ice with a slew of get-to-know-you exercises. Once you’re past the name game, you’ll jump into building comedic scenes on the spot, culminating in a one-hour graduation performance. If you’re too Method to chat people up in session, you can meet friends in smaller practice groups outside class or invite a buddy to check out one of UCB’s cheap, hilarious nightly shows. 145 W 30th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-366-9176, ucbtrainingcenter.com). Schedule varies; one eight-week session $400.—Rebecca Fishbein
Ways to make friends: discover new music and writing
Music Writing Book Group at WORD bookstore
More of a curated book club than a straightforward seminar, this monthly gathering is great for meeting scholars of music and the written word. Leaders Tobias Carroll and Daphne Carr are experienced music writers and editors: Carr edits the Best Music Writing series and Carroll is the managing editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn. They head discussions about all manner of tomes; recent selections include Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson and Throbbing Gristle’s Twenty Jazz Funk Greats by Drew Daniel. Free to attend, the group’s small size (five to 12 members a month) makes it easy to connect with other audiophiles over topics like the history of disco. 126 Franklin St at Milton St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-383-0096, wordbrooklyn.com). Meets the second Saturday of every month, 3pm; free.—Rebecca Fishbein
“I didn’t know anybody going in. Everyone there was totally friendly and glad to geek out about music with a new person. The group definitely doesn’t have a big-scale fun/chaotic friend-making vibe of something like a BYOB cooking class, but I think for dorkier, quieter kind of meeting people it’s been wonderful. Also, the book selections are awesome.”—Dave Koenig, 27, musician, Greenpoint
Ways to make friends: bike tour
Classic bike tour of Brooklyn
The cycling fanatics at Get Up and Ride, a bike-tour company that launched last summer, lead this spin through a few Brooklyn neighborhoods. The 12-mile ride (which takes about four hours, so you’re going at a leisurely pace) includes stops both at historic sites, such as the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and at newer spots, including Brooklyn Roasting Company in Dumbo. There’s even a quick break aboard the East River Ferry, which transports participants back to the Williamsburg starting point at the ride’s end. One of the stops—Brooklyn Grange—is a working farm located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and opened last summer. Meet at McCarren Park, Bedford Ave at North 12th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: bond over burly-Q
The Robin Byrd Show Live!
Catch public-access mainstay Robin Byrd in X-rated person in her weekly variety show at the Cutting Room, where she'll be hosting burlesque stars, strippers, comedians, magicians, novelty acts and a whole lot of bare flesh. Go to spincyclenyc.com for more info. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: converse about cabaret
Galapagos reclaims the circus with this recurring cabaret night, with an array of burlesque artists, chanteurs and chanteuses, aerialists, cabaret acts, vaudevillians and much more serving up the eye-popping goods. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: compare NYC notes
Union Square: Crossroads of New York walking tour
Union Square can certainly seem like it’s at the crossroads of the city at 2pm on a Saturday, which is when this weekly tour takes place. And you’ll find out that this was a hub well before the Greenmarket took root. Follow along as guides from Big Onion Walking Tours tell tales of the myriad rallies, strikes and visits from historic figures that happened here, as well as of the area’s stint as New York’s theater district. Meet in front of the Lincoln statue, Union Square Park, E 16th St at Union Sq East.Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: form a trivia team
Keats Quiz Night
Hey, smart-ass: Indulge your epistemophilia (that’s a love of knowledge, but you knew that, right?) as you nosh on fish-and-chips ($13.75) and trounce the competition in categories like pop culture, literature and politics. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: whip up some sweets
Cupcake Basics 101
Everyone wants to be besties with bakers who can whip up sweet treats on the fly. At Butter Lane, you can learn cupcakes basics (measuring and prepping your ingredients), and nuances (scraping a real vanilla bean) that will put your desserts over the top. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: laugh about the same things
Shows at the Magnet Theater
This dedicated comedy theater exudes a distinctly Chicago vibe, from its DIY aesthetic to its performers, many of whom are former denizens of the Windy City. Even the local players prefer theatrical or character-driven improv to the premise-based variety, and they put their love of the craft before any professional interests. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: bond over botanicals
Shopping at Sprout Home
Founder Tara Heibel tapped employee Tassy de Give to open this New York branch of her Chicago store in 2007. Weiss ceramic planters ($10–$100) hang from the ceiling of the sprawling, well-lit shop, where locals convene for free classes on creating floral arrangements (materials $50–$300). Even if you’re not DIY savvy, you can still leave with something equally charming, such as Tesoros stainless-steel cups hand-painted with floral accents ($36), Seletti porcelain milk-carton vases ($17) and hanging glass globe terrariums ($14–$19). To bring a piece of nature indoors, head to Sprout’s neighboring floral shop, where arrangements start at $50 and can incorporate anything from French tulips to seasonal branches. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: stretch it out
Yoga to the People
“There will be no correct clothes; there will be no right answers; no glorified teachers…” reads the mantra for Yoga to the People, a studio in the East Village. Owners Greg and Andrea Riggs opened the space to provide yoga as a service to all, regardless of one’s financial means. The egalitarian studio accepts only donations ($10 suggested) for its daily 60-minute power-vinyasa classes, but as Greg Riggs emphasized during a recent session, “There’s no pressure: contribute within your means.” He’s also quick to say of his experiences elsewhere, “The business of yoga was superseding the spirit of yoga—many people couldn’t afford a steady practice.” It does feel almost as harried as speed-dating, but what can you expect for free? If you arrive early to meditate and leave right after shivasina you'll avoid the crowds entirely. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: toast to craft beer
Tour the Brooklyn Brewery
Williamsburg's craft-beer facility offers reservation-only small batch brewery tours (Mon–Thu 5–7pm; $8) and free general tours on Saturday and Sunday (see website for details). You can also sample beer in the tasting room. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: learn to cook
Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
These days, Brooklyn foodies worth their Maldon salt are brewing kombucha, jarring preserves and hosting pickling parties. When Brooklyn Kitchen moved from its tiny Greenpoint location to a massive nearby space last fall, it became ground zero for urban homesteaders. Owners Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum have supplemented the store's inventory of culinary gadgets with Tom Mylan's must-visit Meat Hook butcher shop and a state-of-the-art educational center called the Labs. Classes on subjects like eating seasonally, home brewing, breaking down a pig and, of course, pickling could have you living off the grid in no time—combestibly speaking, that is. The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs100 Frost St between Leonard St and Manhattan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-389-2982). Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: rock out
Pete's Candy Store
It may be pocket-size, but that pocket is full of goodies. Evenings begin with readings, poetry and art. On Bingo Tuesday, blue-haired ladies battle yuppies for 99-cent prizes, and Wednesday’s Quizz-Off draws top-drawer TP mavens; Scrabble is on Saturday. After the games, there’s free music in the Pullman-car-shaped performance space, with acts on the cusp of wider recognition appearing nightly. When the weather warms, the backyard opens to stargazers. Throw in surprisingly good pressed sandwiches and an El Diablo (tequila, cassis and ginger ale) the size of a Big Gulp. What more could you want? Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: get stuff done
Bat Haus Coworking
Natalie Chan and Cody Sullivan opened this congenial spot earlier this year, after determining that there weren’t many places in the area that were serving the needs of freelancers. Fifty to sixty people use the 2,500-square-foot clubhouse each week, taking advantage of perks such as Wi-Fi, mail delivery and a shared kitchen. At least one collaboration, between a Web developer and a graphic designer, has been sparked among Bat Haus members. The venue also hosts events, including monthly Presentation Party Night lectures and a flea market on weekends. 279 Starr St between St. Nicholas and Wyckoff Aves, Bushwick, Brooklyn (batha.us). Unlimited membership $149/month, part-time membership $99/month, day pass $10.—Amy Plitt
Ways to make friends: tackle projects
New Work City
Founded in 2008, this Soho coworking space was among the first in NYC, and it’s now one of the biggest, with about 50 people using the venue each day. According to founder Tony Bacigalupo, the idea was to build a community where members are invested in connecting with one another. “Honestly, the best community-building tool we have is our small coffeepot,” he explains. “When people get away from their computer screens to make a pot of coffee, they inevitably bump into new people and start talking.” Members enjoy perks such as meeting rooms, a mailing address and access to an online forum. 412 Broadway at Canal St (212-226-1585, nwc.co). Unlimited membership $300/month, part-time membership $100/month, community membership $30/month, day pass $30.—Amy Plitt
Ways to make friends: learn something new
Since it opened in 2010, the Brainery has acted as a hub for folks who want to sate their curiosity about food, history, or any number of quirky topics. Small class sizes make it easy to chat with other attendees, and more hands-on workshops encourage interaction among participants. This winter, the Brainery will open a new classroom in Prospect Heights that will also function as a coworking space, further helping nerdy types meet and mingle. 515 Court St at 9th St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (brooklynbrainery.com). New space opening TBA.—Amy Plitt
Ways to make friends: delve into the theater scene
4th Street Bar Association
Broadway powerhouses Rent and Once started downtown at the New York Theatre Workshop—and so can your next friendship. Join fellow theater lovers in their twenties and thirties for parties with actors, an annual bar crawl through the East Village and discounted trips to Broadway shows. The Fri 7 evening performance (8pm) of A Civil War Christmas will be followed by a holiday party with the cast and creative team. 79 E 4th St between Bowery and Second Ave (212-780-9037, nytw.org). Annual membership $125–$500.—Caren Oppenheim
“The group widens my horizons by seeing shows I wouldn’t go to otherwise. I’ve gotten to meet—and become friends with—so many people that don’t only work in theater, but who bring different perspectives [to] everything.”—Erica Ryan, 34, communications manager for the Broadway League, East Harlem
Ways to make friends: clink classes and bask in culture
The Young Patrons of Lincoln Center
Performing-arts buffs unite for discussions, community-outreach programs, sneak previews of shows and exclusive opportunities to meet performers. Annual galas provide an excuse to dust off your formal wear, get schmancy and sip bubbly. 65th St at Columbus Ave (212-875-5236, lincolncenter.org/YPLC). Members-only holiday party Dec 13; annual membership $250.—Caren Oppenheim
“You can join plenty of young professional groups in Manhattan, and you can dress to impress for any number of philanthropic reasons, but I chose to make a commitment to YPLC because the community is just so active! And in a city where you can meet up at a bar or ‘cool new spot,’ there’s nothing better than a culturally constructive environment that’s also an excuse for catching up with friends.”—Meghan Cross, 26, director of communication for StyleCaster, Upper West Side
Ways to make friends: discuss a new book
Young Professionals Book Club & Dinner
Having hosted open-to-all book clubs, the JCC in Manhattan recently introduced a gathering dedicated solely to people under 40. The two-hour monthly powwow, led by a different member each time, brings together bibliophiles from across the boroughs to share wine, dinner and conversation on a chosen novel. 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St (646-505-5727, jccmanhattan.org). Dec 19 at 7pm; $10.—Caren Oppenheim
“Meeting new people, analyzing literature and having structured, engaging conversation is my idea of a good time. It’s a bonus that there’s dinner and wine.”—Lindsey Blank, 27, attorney, Upper West Side
Ways to make friends: test your limits
New York Social Network
When media professional Dave Cervini first moved to Manhattan, he encountered a common problem: he had no idea how to meet people. His desire for pals to explore the city with led him to start the New York Social Network in 2004. The group hosts a wide array of events almost nightly, from bowling, movies and bar trivia nights to scavenger hunts at museums, history tours and more. Gatherings are generally intimate, with 12 to 30 people in their twenties through forties. 138 W 87th St between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves (212-873-2256, newyorksocialnetwork.com). Holiday party Dec 15 at 9pm; annual membership free, annual VIP membership $100. Event prices vary.—Caren Oppenheim
Ways to make friends: discover New York's history
The Young Members Circle at the Museum of the City of New York
Meet new people and learn more about the place you call home through this group for young professionals ages 21 to 39. Get discounts and tickets to exhibits and openings year-round, free admission to the museum and savings on lectures, workshops and more. Build up your trivia repertoire while forging new friendships through a common love for exploring the past, present and future of NYC’s history. 1220 Fifth Ave between 103rd and 104th Sts (212-534-1672, ext 3328; mcny.org). Annual membership $100.—Caren Oppenheim
Ways to make friends: have some good, clean fun
Soapmaking at Make Workshop
Diana Rupp’s crafty center draws DIY acolytes of all levels. You’ll not only learn such bragworthy skills as embroidery and sewing, you’ll also have the opportunity to chat with other creative souls. At this 12-person workshop, led by experts from Prem Soaps, you’ll have two hours to talk to your classmates, while stirring and molding batches of cold-processed cleanser. 195 Chrystie St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (makeworkshop.com). Thu 6 at 6:30pm; $80 plus supplies.—Luisa Rollenhagen
“You work in groups, and everyone has a part to do. It’s a very social environment,”—Michele Bonds, 40, executive assistant; Astoria, Queens
Ways to make friends: sing your heart out
Gotham Rock Choir
Whether you’re a former chorus nerd or you harbor a secret desire to be on The Voice, it’s time to serenade something other than your conditioner bottle. While this ensemble’s high-profile performances have included singing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden, founder Mark Cannistraro keeps the environment fun and low-pressure. Members from all vocal sections (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) can often be found socializing before and after weekly Tuesday rehearsals. E-mail email@example.com for meeting location (gothamrockchoir.com). Tue 7pm; $7–$10 per meeting. Through Dec 18.—Luisa Rollenhagen
“My Gotham Rock Choir friends are among the best in my life. We started out going to karaoke, and now we go to movies, happy hour, brunch and parties.”—Teresa Candori, 46, media director, Harlem
Ways to make friends: get nerdy
Secret Science Club
If your current pals don’t share your interest in the nuances of astrophysics, join up with the devotees of the Secret Science Club. Organizers Margaret Mittelbach and Dorian Devins created a free monthly lecture series for scientists to discuss dinosaurs, neuroscience, black holes and other scholarly topics with upwards of 300 attendees. After each event’s Q&A session, there’s plenty of time for socializing with your fellow nerds. The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (secretscienceclub.blogspot.com). Tue 11 at 8pm; free.—Luisa Rollenhagen
Ways to make friends: sew something
Quilting Workshop: Hexagons at Brooklyn General Store
Owner Catherine Clark launched knitting and crafting tutorials at her petite craft shop in late 2003, after noticing that informal groups would gather on Friday nights to crochet and converse. At this workshop, which takes place over five two-hour classes, instructor Heather Love helps groups of four to six neophytes make an entire hexagon quilt by hand. Make the most of your time by sharing your experiences (or lack thereof) with others who’ve always wanted to create a DIY gift but never managed to move beyond construction-paper greeting cards. 128 Union St between Columbia and Hicks Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-237-7753, brooklyngeneral.com). Mon 10, Dec 17, Jan 7, 14, 21 at 7pm; $190 per session.—Luisa Rollenhagen
Ways to make friends: knit a cozy hat
Intro to Color Work at Purl Soho
As winter descends upon the city, it’s once again time for the inevitable quest to find a hat that (a) keeps your ears warm and (b) doesn’t make you look like a yeti. At this seminar you’ll make a stylish Fair Isle cap—and up to eight new friends who can supply style advice. Students sit in a group for two sessions of two hours each; if you don’t find your new BFF at the first meeting, there’s plenty of time to bond with other newbies the second time around. Friendly instructor Sophia Lehman strolls around to assist with patterns, so wallflowers can use her tips as an excuse to strike up a conversation with other knitters. 459 Broome St between Greene and Mercer Sts (212-420-8796, purlsoho.com). Fri 7, Dec 14 at 6pm; $100 plus supplies.—Luisa Rollenhagen
Ways to make friends: solemnly swear you are up to no good
The Group that Shall Not be Named
Happily debate the finer points of casting a Patronus with the fellow Hogwarts wanna-bes in this nearly seven-year-old organization, one of the city’s largest Harry Potter meet-ups. The New York chapter regularly sponsors events such as discussion groups and viewing parties; members also mingle at wizard-rock shows (including the upcoming Yule Ball at the Bell House on Dec 15) and Quidditch tournaments held by other fan groups. Locations and times vary; visit hp-nyc.com for details.—Rachel Sokol
“I can’t tell you how many conversations with total strangers have started with, ‘So…what house are you?’ ”—Jennifer Levine, 29, publicist, Upper West Side
Ways to make friends: strip down
Social Exposure media events
Break out of your cocktail-party comfort zone with one of this two-year-old group’s intimate “Naked Painting” soirees, where guests strip down to their birthday suits and decorate each other’s bare bodies. Founder Sally Golan devised the signature event as a way for the organization to garner attention and new members. For those not ready to drop trou in the name of friend-finding: Social Exposure’s other events throughout the year involve way more clothing but draw the same kinds of adventurous souls. Locations and times vary; visit facebook.com/socialexposuremedia for details.—Rachel Sokol
“My experience as a guest was as unique as the concept itself. I embraced the freedom I felt as I was painted into a work of fluorescent art.”—Jennifer King, 34, stylist, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Ways to make friends: pay tribute to the King of Pop
Legacy of Love: Michael Jackson Fans United
Nearly a year after the Gloved One passed away, megafan Iaisha Smith founded this club celebrating the superstar’s life and music. More than 200 members regularly attend MJ-related meetings, such as film screenings, dance parties and readings of his lyrics. December festivities include a King of Pop Karaoke Celebration (Dec 16 at 5pm). Locations and times vary; visit meetup.com/legacyoflovenyc for more information.—Rachel Sokol
“I am so happy to be a part of a group who shares my love and devotion for Michael Jackson and who understands and lives for everything he stood for.”—Daniel Hernandez, 22, student; Elmhurst, Queens
Ways to make friends: find bossom buddies
Balls, Booze and Babes: A Lesbian Bowling Group
Bring an arsenal of The Big Lebowski quotes if you plan on attending one of these casual sports Meetups. Founder Gena Hymowech, who began the group earlier this year, says the point of these get-togethers isn’t necessarily bowling; instead, she hopes to enable queer gals to socialize in a relaxed, low-pressure setting, whether they’re looking to spark a new friendship or something more. Members convene once a month to claim a few lanes at a local alley and chat over a few brews while doing their best to avoid gutter balls; mingle at the group’s next outing on Dec 15 at Bowlmor Lanes(110 University Pl between 12th and 13th Sts; 3pm). Locations and times vary; visit meetup.com/lesbianbowling for details.—Rachel Sokol
Ways to make friends: smoke a stogie
Friendly Cigar Smokers of NYC
Aficionado Bob DeRusso launched this chummy cohort two years ago to find other men and women over 21 who derive pleasure from a good stogie. Carnegie Club and Circa Tabac, two of the city’s few legal smoking establishments, serve as frequent meeting places for the monthly gatherings, where as many as 20 enthusiasts wax poetic about Macanudos versus Cohibas. Neophytes shouldn’t be shy; the elder statesmen of the group happily share tips on everything from proper storage to fancy smoke-blowing tricks. Locations and times vary; visit meetup.com/smokes for details.—Rachel Sokol
“I loved that no one made me feel uncomfortable about being a cigar virgin. It’s not just about bonding about cigars—I’ve met people who have exposed me to new hobbies and experiences.”—Teresita De Hoyos, 33, medical assistant, Staten Island
Ways to make friends: run and booze
New York Fun Run
Unless you’ve got the Benjamins for a helicopter ride, there’s no better way to see the city than on foot. Find running buddies by jogging around town with this sociable group. Members, who call themselves “Run-Chuggers,” meet at a bar in a different neighborhood every Wednesday night and set out along a predetermined route, returning to the same watering hole for a few guilt-free postrun beers. The 30- to 50-minute trot allows plenty of time to think up clever conversation starters. Locations vary (meetup.com/nyc-fun-run). Wed 7pm; free.—Jordan Walker
“I really look forward to meeting new people every week. New people tend to feel really comfortable showing up, even without knowing other participants.”—Vinay Pai, 32, tech entrepreneur, West Village
Ways to make friends: kick it for a good cause
Play Soccer 2 Give
Soccer and service go hand in hand with this nonprofit, which encourages players from all over the city to meet for competitive-yet-friendly games of pickup footy. Proceeds fund youth-soccer equipment in underprivileged communities here and around the world. Players of all skill levels can sign up for January’s winter indoor season as individuals or as a group of up to five. Locations vary (meetup.com/playsoccer2give). $2–$10 per match.—Jordan Walker
Ways to make friends: throw down in your chosen sport
This popular league, formerly known as New York City Social Sports Club, introduces active types under 40 to each other via several sports each season. Join as a free agent and register for the winter session (choose from basketball, soccer and volleyball, among other options), and you’ll be assigned to a team with other players looking to make friends and enjoy the game. 40 W 29th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (212-929-5353, nycsocial.com). Season $125.—Jordan Walker
Ways to make friends: challenge your competitive side
New York Urban Professionals Athletic League
Volleyball and basketball lovers find common ground with serious year-round games and a chance to bond (meaning drink) with fellow sports enthusiasts after each match. Individual players in both sports are welcome to attend open scrimmages and form a team with other free agents. In addition to the three-month season of men’s, women’s or coed league play, participants can attend open-play games to perfect skills and expand social circles. The upcoming winter season begins mid-December for basketball and mid-January for volleyball on courts throughout the city. 155 W 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves (212-877-3614, nyurban.com). Mon–Thu, times vary. Individual fees: Basketball season $118.50, volleyball season $117.50.—Jordan Walker
Ways to make friends: dream up a new idea
This early-morning networking group was started by tech entrepreneurs Piers Fawkes and Noah Brier more than five years ago, and has since spawned more than 30 offshoots around the world. The idea is simple: Participants show up and make connections over a cup of coffee. “We’re not a ‘just come here to exchange business cards’ kind of group,” explains Alisha Miranda, who cofounded Brooklyn’s Likemind group in May. “We’re more about meeting friendly people and exchanging interests or ideas.” There are currently two NYC groups, both meeting on the third Friday of each month: Likemind Brooklyn, whose members gather at Hungry Ghost (253 Flatbush Ave at Sixth Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn), and the original Likemind, which meets at ’sNice(45 Eighth Ave at 4th St). Visit likemind.us for details.—Amy Plitt
Ways to make friends: create a better future
Founded in 2007 by a pair of ex-journalists, Many Hopes is dedicated to housing, educating and empowering orphaned girls in Kenya. In just a few years, the organization has built four homes in the coastal town of Mtwapa for 44 kids who had been living on the streets. The long-term goal: raising young women to be leaders who will help bring their country out of poverty. Participants who contribute $10 to $25 monthly—all of which directly supports Many Hopes’ initiatives—meet once a month, culminating in the yearly Breaking Ground fund-raising campaign. The organization also hosts get-togethers for local chapters and annual retreats, and even takes three groups to Mtwapa each year. Visit manyhopes.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.—Jenna Scherer
“I’ve met a lot of my closer friends through Many Hopes. It’s a great way to get introduced to people in New York other than the bar scene.”—Kyle Thousand, 32, sports agent, Lower East Side
Ways to make friends: mentor kids
Behind Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, a whimsical shop for imaginative crime-fighting enthusiasts, you’ll find the New York chapter of this Dave Eggers–founded youth writing center. Run by both staff and volunteers, 826 is always on the lookout for new recruits; sign up to teach a workshop, assist kids with their homework, or help out in the store or with administrative duties. Fill out an application on the center’s website and you’ll be invited to an orientation, to determine where your skills can be best utilized. 372 Fifth Ave between 5th and 6th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-9884, 826nyc.org)—Jenna Scherer
“It’s really nice to have access to a group of creative like minds.”—Kathryn Walton, architect and amateur screenwriter
Ways to make friends: lend a hand to hurricane victims
Occupy Sandy Recovery
The storm may have passed and the floodwaters receded, but the recovery from Hurricane Sandy isn’t even close to finished. This coalition between 350.org and Recovers.org is Occupy Wall Street’s contribution to community relief efforts; the democratic, grassroots initiative was able to provide aid in hard-hit areas before even FEMA arrived on the scene. Fill out a volunteer form online (you can register as an individual or as a group), then stop by one of OSR’s two Brooklyn nerve centers: the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew (520 Clinton Ave between Atlantic Ave and Fulton St, Clinton Hill) or St. Jacobi Church (5406 Fourth Ave at 54th St, Sunset Park). Locations vary (interoccupy.net/occupysandy).—Jenna Scherer
“I coordinate hundreds of volunteers, and I get to see relationships form. It’s a really cool way for people to meet each other.”—Anna Lemler, 24; People’s Relief site coordinator; South Slope, Brooklyn
Ways to make friends: donate your talents
This city-government-run program allows New Yorkers to trade talents and services. You could teach someone guitar in exchange for getting your apartment painted, or shovel the snow off your neighbor’s sidewalk for gratis French lessons. If you simply want to give your time, that’s also an option. Kindergarten teacher Cassie Regan, for instance, swung a spade at an intergenerational community gardening project this summer. TimeBanks has sites in all five boroughs, with plans to add more next year. To get in on the action, fill out an online profile and application. Once you’ve been vetted and oriented, you’ll be able to browse connections and start swapping. Locations vary. Call 866-244-6469 or visit nyc.gov/html/timebanks.—Jenna Scherer
QUOTE: “The good thing about gardening is that when you’re there, you get to just chat with people.”—Cassie Regan, 24; kindergarten teacher; Woodhaven, Queens
Ways to make friends: develop a new skill
Since it opened in 2006, 3rd Ward has established itself as one of the city’s most vital spaces, acting as a hub for Brooklyn’s artistic community. Anyone who becomes a member can take advantage of the photo studios and other facilities, or indulge in classes (like furniture design and stop-motion animation) to spark the creative juices. Stop by for one of the space’s weekly events, like Drink ’n’ Draw (a live figure-drawing class with booze ($10–$15), to experience the space at its best. Click here for more event details.
Ways to make friends: feed the homeless
Young Philanthropists at the Bowery Mission
Launched in 2008, this initiative from the venerable shelter brings together professionals in their twenties and thirties looking to make a difference in downtown Manhattan. Think of it as networking, only way more productive and valuable. In addition to throwing an annual summer fund-raiser, the Young Philanthropists organize projects and events to assist homeless people and at-risk youth, such as coat drives. The group’s latest effort is serving meals to the homeless community at the Bowery Mission in the East Village. To join in, e-mail email@example.com. 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-684-2800, ext 152; bowery.org/donate/youngphilanthropists). Next event: January.—Jenna Scherer
Ways to make friends: perfect your game
This casual club offers plenty of opportunities to find a doubles partner or just work on your swing. Once you submit your desired weekly schedule and neighborhood, organizers will pair you with a partner of a similar skill level. If you don’t want to jump in right away, register for an evaluation or practice session with league director Koko Lani, who has played in the city for more than 25 years, or instructor Eric Capuano, who has taught for 30-plus. Locations vary (tennisnyc.com). Monthly membership $95.
“I was a bridesmaid for a woman I met through Tennis NYC. Our friendship is the best thing that came out of joining the league.”—Maggie Wang, 36, publicist, Upper West Side
Ways to make friends
Everyone loves having smart, talented pals. Learn a new skill—or hone an old one—while you make friends at these workshops and seminars.
Make friends who share your passions via these New York City hobby groups, tailored for specialists of all stripes.
Whether your cultural tastes are high or low, you can make friends easily with one of these stimulating associations.
Are you an active type? Make friends by joining one of these NYC fitness groups, geared toward casual and serious jocks alike.
If you’re the Brain or the Basket Case in your personal Breakfast Club, you can make friends with other eccentrics at these offbeat events.
Do good and make friends at the same time with these New York City volunteer organizations, whether you’re interested in tutoring kids or rebuilding homes.
Ways to be happy alone
Best things to do alone in New York City
Even if you’re a social butterfly, you need solo time and recharge your batteries. Find ideas with this list of things to do alone.
Where to meet singles in New York City
Friends enrich our lives, but everyone needs that special someone. We have a few ideas for where to meet singles and hopefully find your perfect match.
Table for one: New York’s best restaurants to dine at alone
Some notoriously tough reservations become much easier when you’re seeking a table for one or a seat at the bar.