The coolest classes in NYC

Sign up for these thrilling, unusual classes that prove New York really does have something for everybody

Photograph: Julia Berke
New York Jedi
Ready to get schooled? New York City offers classes in every topic that you can think of—and a few you can't. Fitness fanatics can get their fix with our NYC fitness guide, while arty types can check out hybrid classes for eating, drinking and learning. But for the adventurous student—that's you—we've uncovered 15 awesome, out-of-the-box classes in NYC. Whether you've always wanted to learn how to use a lightsaber or you're an aspiring reality-TV star, we have the course for you. Read on and uncover your hidden skills!

Lightsaber Fighting

New York Jedi founder Flynn Michael and his fellow instructors, who have backgrounds in martial arts and film-fight choreography, impart the ways of the Force at two-hour electro-sword classes every Thursday night at 7pm at Ripley-Grier Studios (212-643-9985, newyorkjedi.com; $10). Flynn's “tribe of storytellers and dreamers” (read: students) can participate in an annual battle as part of the Village Halloween Parade. Grown-ups playing with illuminated toys in the name of honor? Rad.

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Taxidermy

Taxidermy: it ain’t just for folks who enjoy the stench of decaying animal flesh. Divya Anantharaman is young, cool and seasoned in the art form (she’s the taxidermist in residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum), and she’s here to teach you the finer points of gutting, stuffing and mounting your little furry and feathered friends. One-off classes (347-799-1017, d-i-v-y-a.com; $110–$400, depending on price of provided materials and skill level) range from “Fancy Chicken” to “Anthropomorphic Mouse.”

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Freeganism

NYC’s food freeloaders combine hard-core postcapitalist theory with a daring willingness to eat whatever they can find by foraging. (For instance, “Weeds rule!”—or so the website freegan.info claims.) You too can become an urban hunter-gatherer by attending free biweekly “Freeganism 101 & Trash Tour” meet-ups, which take you to the best grocery-store-and-restaurant Dumpsters of a particular ’hood and explain why that edible grub is wasted, along with various other seminars by seasoned stealers and food shares.

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Aerial Trapeze

Glide through the air with the greatest of ease while saddled into an aerial trapeze. Hey, that rhymes! The instructors at Trapeze School New York (212-242-8769, newyork.trapezeschool.com; $50-70, depending on day of the week) will not only equip you with the skills to do death-defying stunts, but they’ll do it in novel outdoor locales like South Street Seaport and Pier 40 off the West Side Highway. Daily trapeze sessions are available for all four skill levels—but note that you must have taken three intro courses and been signed off by a teacher before moving on to a more advanced class where you can learn cool moves like how to flip mid-air.

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Reality-TV Stardom

Founded by Robert Galinsky, New York Reality TV School (646-372-8666, newyorkrealitytvschool.com; $329–$459, depending on length of workshop) offers “acting classes” for those who aspire to MTV and VH1 fame. One-time intensive and five-week workshops, taught by the school’s reality mentors (former cast members on shows like The Amazing Race and The Bachelor) train you in answering stock reality-TV questions in front of the camera, grappling with curveballs thrown at you during auditions and going through “perp walks,” during which you’re relentlessly berated by fellow classmates.

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Brooklyn Brainery

The Brainery (347-292-7246, brooklynbrainery.com; $10-100, depending on class) leads the field in eccentric but enticing classes. Choose from courses in Japanese kokedama (“make your own living moss balls”), demystifying Tex-Mex and an introduction to tapestry weaving. Or pick from more practical options, like working out your retirement plan (hey, it’s never too soon), identifying spring trees and learning to knit (specifically, a slouchy hat).

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UrbanGlass

UrbanGlass in Fort Greene (718-625-3685, urbanglass.org; $95-940, depending on number of sessions and skill level) offers weekly classes, workshops and intensives in such sexy sculpting techniques as glassblowing and flameworking, plus learning to work with stained glass and kilnforming (which includes the less saucy-sounding slumping and fusing). Whichever option you choose, you’re likely to come out of it with something beautiful. 

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Madagascar Institute

An art project in Gowanus, Brooklyn, Madagascar Institute (madagascarinstitute.com; $30-120, depending on length of class and membership) swears by the motto “fear is never boring,” and offers live performances, guerrilla art events and, yes, classes. This spring you can learn about MIG welding (like in Flashdance!). The website advises: “Dress warm and leave dirty.”

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Babeland

Classes and courses aren’t just for nerds—New York sex-store mainstay Babeland (babeland.com; free-$30) offers funny, entertaining and super informative workshops on such topics as “Beyond the Blow Job” and “The Art of Great Sex,” and you can choose from one of three locations.

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The New York School of Burlesque

Founded and run by New York burlesque star Jo "Boobs" Weldon, the New York School of Burlesque (schoolofburlesque.com; $15-95, depending on number of sessions and skill level) is something of a Time Out New York favorite, not least because the last time we visited, they taught us how to do a striptease out of a hoodie (feather boas and silky gloves are also on hand). Classes include a weekly workout, and a monthlong intro series to burly-Q. 

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Comments

3 comments
John M
John M

Check out City SpeakEZ for "Experience-Based" Foreign Language classes in NYC for adults.  Think wine tastings while learning french or cooking classes while learning Spanish, dancing, dining out, happy hours and more!  It's a total blast and you experience a system that really anchors the knowledge!


classes are 10 weeks and meet once a week for 2 hours from 7-9pm.  Make NYC your classroom!


https://cityspeakez.com

Keo D
Keo D

abunDANCE is a fun, liberating and outrageous workout dance class! Created to include everyone in spite of dance training. Be prepared to sweat and to leave empowered with a smile on your face. Class is a mixture of Hip-hop, Salsa, African and Twerk.

Location: Dancewave - 45 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Every Monday, 8:30-9:30pm

Price: $7-$12

Website: http://www.keomitarver.com/page-ab/

Keomi Tarver- keodances@gmail.com