Continuing Education 2012

Continuing studies in NYC—from computer courses, cooking classes and language lessons to photography classes and yoga instruction.

Illustration: Joe Paul


Film buffs will be in their element at “Talking Movies” presented by Hunter College at the Directors Guild Theater (110 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-712-1965,; Thursdays Sept 27, Oct 4, 11, 18, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29 7–9:30pm plus two Sunday-morning screenings TBA; ten weeks before Aug 31 $245, after $265, plus $10 registration fee). The series is hosted by film critic Jeffrey Lyons and producer and former studio executive Roberta Burrows, who have pulled in panelists such as Alan Alda, Javier Bardem, Ethan Hawke and Franco Zeffirelli. After watching a screening of a handpicked prerelease Hollywood, independent, foreign or documentary film, you’ll engage in a Q&A with actors, directors and other crew. Films and guests are announced weekly during the season.

Trace the origins of the current vampire fixation in “Skin Off Your Face: The Anatomy of Horror Films,” one of the many continuing ed film classes offered by The New School (212-229-5600,; Mon 8–9:50pm; 15 weeks $650; starts Aug 27). Instructor and filmmaker M.M. Serra leads this political survey of the genre, exploring these flicks’ relationship to the social unconscious, as well as concepts like terror and gender. The class kicks off with classics including Nosferatu and Frankenstein and moves on to contemporary subgenres such as splatter and slasher films, with readings from the works of Georges Bataille, Stephen King and others.

American politics and filmmaking collided with bitter results in the late 1940s and 1950s, putting some of Hollywood’s finest out of favor and out of work. Hollywood’s Blacklisted Filmmakers at the 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts; 212-415-5500,; Thu 7–9:30pm; ten weeks $275 or individual class $30; starts Oct 11) takes an in-depth look at what happened to writers and directors after they were blacklisted or called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The series screens such classics as 1942’s Woman of the Year, written by Ring Lardner (who then found himself among the Hollywood Ten); 1944’s Murder My Sweet, directed by Edward Dmytryk (who was called before HUAC); and 1953’s Roman Holiday, cowritten by Dalton Trumbo (blacklisted).

Recent tax breaks for filming in NYC have turned the city into an industry hotbed, with two thriving studios—Silvercup and Kaufman Astoria—in Queens. Get in on the action with the New York Film Academy’s One-Week Digital Filmmaking Workshop (100 E 17th St at Union Sq East; 212-674-4300,; Aug 13–18, Oct 8–13 or Jan 14–19; $1,450–$1,500 plus $125 equipment fee), an intensive dive into moviemaking. You’ll learn the basics of writing, directing, camera and digital editing, and employ all those skills to complete a short film.—Jana Martin

Book a film class now

New York

This fall, 92YTribeca (212-415-5500, offers plenty of lectures and roaming classes that give you a new angle on the city. You may think you know Williamsburg, but Robert Anasi’s lecture “The Last Bohemia: The Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn” (Aug 21 noon–1pm; $18) paints a vivid portrait of the neighborhood long there was a hip bar on almost every corner. Anasi, author of The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, conjures up the old hardscrabble neighborhood of factories and meager apartments and tracks its transformation.

Julie Golia, Ph.D., the public historian for the Brooklyn Historical Society, presents the lunchtime lecture “The History of the Brooklyn Bridge” (Nov 1 noon–1pm; $21). You’ll hear about the tremendous labor force—engineers, masons, carpenters and others—who worked around the clock right up until the bridge’s opening (on May 24, 1883), its importance to a city (and a nation) experiencing phenomenal growth, and its evolution from a marvel of engineering into an enduring cultural symbol.

After crossing the river, join a full-day talk and tour of Chelsea galleries led by Thomas Beachdel, who teaches art and achitecture history at Pratt Institute and Parsons. A One-Day Introduction to New York’s Contemporary Art Scene (Oct 19 10am–4pm; $190 includes lunch) isn’t art lite: Beachdel begins with a two-hour talk (at 92YTribeca) that puts contemporary art in context, touching on Courbet, Manet, Duchamp and the emergence of avant-garde and modern art movements, then discusses the current landscape and market. After a catered working lunch, you’ll head to Chelsea, to the Pace Gallery, Gagosian and others, to see important shows of the season.—Jana Martin


Online continuing ed classes offer the opportunity to fit one more thing into your packed schedule, without the late-night subway ride. They’re no longer the domain of private institutions that specialize in “distance learning”—highly regarded schools are making online learning a seamless part of their offerings, combining rigor, engagement and great faculty with elaborate learning platforms like Blackboard, customized social-media sites, and lots of multimedia bells and whistles. Classes may be held in real time (synchronous) or whenever (asynchronous); lectures may be delivered in audio along with text, or an instructor’s whiteboard commentary and class discussions threading live alongside. You may find yourself in virtual discussions in which the instructor calls on your virtually raised hand and passes you a virtual mike as a photo of you nods in “talk” mode. While many NYC institutions offer at least some online options, here’s the lowdown on the big three:

The New School ( has been offering online courses since the mid-’90s and now has more than 770 this fall, including noncredit certificate programs such as screenwriting and media management, and degree programs (with some classes open to continuing-ed students) like Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). “Online or on-site, a student comes to the New School expecting small classes, lots of interaction and intense involvement with the faculty, and that’s what they get,” says Jim O’Connor, director of distributed and global education at the New School.

NYU-SCPS’s reach extends far beyond Washington Square ( Among online offerings are about 150 noncredit courses and six certificate programs that you can complete entirely online, including digital media marketing, creative writing, translation, international banking risk and financial planning. School policy is to allow students access to online course content even after the course is over (though you can’t modify it), in case you need a refresher later.

Columbia School of Continuing Education’s business certificate program ( can now be completed entirely or partly online. The school uses a social-media platform, and classes have asynchronous and synchronous components. Students develop team projects and take part in simulations; for example, in the corporate finance class, they have 90 minutes to work through a merger, and in the marketing class, they record their presentations and submit the file via the server.—Jana Martin and Lisa Ritchie