Where to find the coolest classes in NYC
College is over-it's time to finally learn something.
Mon Feb 15 2010
The city’s foremost getting-it-on emporium is also the Harvard of intercourse (at least until the Ivy League starts teaching Hand Jobs 101). Free Sunday brunches (where even the mimosas are on the house) and "Cheap Date Nights" for couples are casual affairs. Paid classes (no more than $35) are followed by private shopping in the closed store, and teaching techniques often include a little song and dance. 43 Mercer St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-966-2120) * 94 Rivington St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts (212-375-1701) * 462 Bergen St between Flatbush and Fifth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-638-3820)
Coolest class: "She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasing a Woman"
See also: Sex ed classes
Find skill-building courses and intellectual pursuits galore at this hipster-friendly ecole. Registration for the second semester at the Gowanus Studio Space is under way, with course offerings including "Applied Meteorology," "Introduction to Gardening" and "Beauty School Dropout" ("a lot about makeup and a little about hair"). Each course meets once a week for a month and costs $25. 166 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (brooklynbrainery.com)
Coolest class: "Meat!"
See also: Brooklyn Brainery breakdown
Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
This bastion of culinary education offers a wide gamut of one-off workshops and food-related events, ranging from "Cheesemaking with Salvatore Bklyn" to "Artisanal Sourdough Bread in the French Tradition." However, it's the regular pig-butchering class ($40) that attracts the most attention. Aspiring meat men and women, watch and learn as the Brooklyn Kitchen pros break down a side of pig and discuss how the meat (sourced from Fleisher’s Meats in Kingston, New York) differs from commercial cuts. Beer often materializes at the end of class, and attendees receive a $20 credit to the Meat Hook butcher shop. 100 Frost St between Leonard St and Manhattan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-349-5032, thebrooklynkitchen.com)
Coolest class: "Pig Butchering"
See also: Be a bartender, barista or butcher
Coco de Mer
The lush lingerie and erotic-goods boutique is branching out, launching a series of intimate salon-style classes. The two-hour, sex-focused workshops cover subjects like hand jobs and bondage; book early, as seats for the informational gatherings go quickly. All classes are $65; you must call to register. 236 Elizabeth St between E Houston and Prince Sts (212-966-9069, cocodemerusa.com)
Coolest class: "Getting Off on Giving Head"
Did you know that Etsy.com, the Internet's leading marketplace for crafts and handmade goods, has its HQ in Dumbo? If not, you’ve been missing out on Etsy Labs' Monday Craft Night (4--8pm), when the office's community space is open to the public. The focus of the skill-sharing session varies weekly (you can also bring your own current craft project for guidance), but the use of supplies and tools, along with the expert advice, is always free. 55 Washington St between Front and Water Sts, suite 512, Dumbo, Brooklyn (etsy.com)
Flower School New York
Get in touch with nature during a two-hour master-class flower-arranging tutorial, which includes a lecture and demonstration from the professional florist on call that week. The rotation of teachers means that topics and techniques will be broad; make your own hand-tied bouquet or work closely with specific blooms. 5 Tudor City Pl between 42nd and 43rd Sts (212-661-8074, flowerschoolny.com). $250.
This Gowanus art space offers classes, with one warning: Be prepared to get dirty. A little filth under your fingernails is a sign you're making progress in gritty hands-on courses like Casting 101, where you’ll learn how to make your own waste mold and use either Hydrocal, plaster or cement to cast an object. Members enjoy fairly hefty discounts; for nonmembers, classes range from $20 to $130, depending on length. 217 Butler St between Bond and Nevins Sts, Gowanus, Brooklyn (madagascarinstitute.com)
Coolest class: "Make Your Own Absinthe"
Move over, Martha: Make founder Diana Rupp will turn you into a regular DIY diva; her recreational school offers classes in everything from batik to wallpaper making. In the artist’s studio, you can learn how to create monogrammed note cards with Brooklyn’s Sesame Letterpress, or pick up the practical skill of concocting all-natural soap. Not to be overlooked, though, are the popular two-hour introductory sewing classes, which will have you feeling like a Project Runway star with none of the pressure. 195 Chrystie St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, studio 402 (212-533-9995, makeworkshop.com). $80--$500.
Coolest class: Shoemaking
See also: Crafting classes
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
Along with budget-friendly talks and other events, MoCCA demonstrates its commitment to the comic book craft with a selection of courses offered through its adult education department. The three-part "Master Class Series in Comics Writing" (March 16, March 23 and April 13; $100) features instruction from artists who have worked on definitive comics like The X-Men and Spider-Man (note: you can join one session for $40 instead of signing up for the whole series). Check out the full schedule of offerings here. 594 Broadway between E Houston and Prince Sts (212-254-3511, moccany.com)
Coolest class: "Anatomy for Illustrators"
New York Reality TV School
News flash: Sometimes people on reality TV shows do a little bit of acting. (Gasp!) But hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do to get ahead in the entertainment biz, and if that means getting tips from reality TV guru Robert Galinsky on how to channel your inner Situation, so be it. Before hitting up the auditions for Tool Academy, sign up for a one-day intensive workshop ($179), a five-week series ($449) or one-on-one training. You'll quickly make up that money in appearance fees after you win America's hearts! Find more information at newyorkrealitytvschool.com, and call 212-332-0878 to register.
New York School of Burlesque
This booty-shaking academy offers classes catering to all levels of sexpertise; most sessions are open to beginners and seasoned performers alike. Brush up on your bump-and-grind technique and learn from the best local burlesque dancers every "Thursday at Flirting with Burlesque" for just $15. 440 Studios, 440 Lafayette St between Astor Pl and E 4th St, studio 4A (schoolofburlesque.com)
Coolest class: Beginning Ballet with Dirty Martini
Sexy aerial artistes, midlevel trapeze enthusiasts clad in psychedelic-print unitards and utterly bewildered newbies are all welcome to enroll in classes at the Skybox ($25--$30 an hour for classes; visit theskybox.org for a schedule or to book a lesson). Despite the 30-foot-high ceilings, the place has an unpretentious, makeshift charm. Multicolor fabrics adorn the walls, and props from the previous night’s absurdist-theater performance are strewn about. 342 Maujer St between Morgan Ave and Waterbury St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (no phone)
Coolest class: "Aerial Trapeze"
See also: See it...learn it
Artistry is alive and thriving at 3rd Ward's two skill-building hubs in Williamsburg. Each space operates classes for creative professionals and neophytes alike. The main building, at 195 Morgan Avenue, houses photo studios, a metal shop and a media lab, and courses in categories like Urban Ecology or Circuits can range from a three-hour intensive class to a six-week series. There are two types of memberships available (both include a free single-speed bike and a subscription to TONY), but otherwise, expect to pay anywhere from $50--$250 for a class. Those who like beer and drawing should check out the weekly Drink-n-Draw sessions—a live nude model and free suds are provided, but it's BYO art supplies. 195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts * 573 Metropolitan Ave between Lorimer St and Union Ave (718-715-4961, 3rdward.com)
Coolest class: "Gardening and Composting in NYC"
See also: Drink-n-Draw
This Fort Greene glass factory offers hands-on classes for both the adept and the clueless. A five-hour weekend course ($95--$195) will expose you to the basics of glassworking techniques, before setting you loose on your own project, including beads or mugs. Full courses, which span six to eight sessions and cost $495 to $695, offer a more in-depth introduction to complex materials like stained glass and kiln-formed glass. Beginners (and pyros) are welcome in all classes unless otherwise noted on the website. 57 Rockwell Pl between Fulton St and DeKalb Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-625-3685, urbanglass.org)
Coolest class: "The Art of Neon Glassworking"
See also: You asked for it: Factory tours