Since most people never experience the rush of belting beloved tunes in front of thousands of adoring fans, there are places like 5 Bar Karaoke Lounge to provide the next best thing. Spotlights, disco balls, and black lights illuminate amateur chanteuses as they take the stage in private rooms that hold groups of up to 18. A savory selection of small plates and platters such as edamame, seafood rice cakes, and chicken wings keep power-ballad singers fueled for their next heartfelt rendition, while draft beers heighten the feel-good atmosphere and placate friends who’ve lost their voice.
An unassuming building on the Upper East Side hosts a colorful kids' paradise that pairs a pet farm with fun and enriching classes. Chinchillas, hamsters, geckos, and hermit crabs scuttle around their enclosures or out on the floor, where visitors pet them and even learn to care for them in a class for ages 4–7. Other classes unlock inner artists as students paint seascapes and sculpt with clay, or develop culinary chops in a mini-chef class focused on tasty, nutritious foods. Kids can even claim a part-time pet hosted by the farm, such as a bunny or a dove, that brings youngsters the fuzzy joy of companionship while sparing a parent from having to walk their child's hermit crab around the block. Inside, themed rooms enhance imaginative adventures, whether in the music/party room painted with a mural of a lake or in the preschool/play group room that boasts a motif of gigantic sunflowers. Playful stuffed snakes coil around the ceiling beams of the indoor petting zoo, where rocking horses and plastic flowers wrapped around a pillar accent the open- or closed-habitat areas.
Although buying pottery pieces in a store is easier than making your own, it isn’t nearly as satisfying. At Supermud Pottery Studio, it’s this impending satisfaction that leads students aged 3 to adult toward creating their own mugs, vases, and bowls during interactive classes and children's summer camp. Pupils learn the basics, such as hand building or wheel throwing, from experienced teachers as they shape blocks of lifeless clay into utilitarian pieces or sculptures with actual heartbeats. Finished artwork may even reside in the studio's gallery, which displays inimitable ceramic works by both renowned artists and Supermud alumni.
When she isn’t busy knitting the kinds of garments that appear in collections by Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, Berta Karapetyan shares her skills with fellow crafters at School Products Yarn. Located in an historic Manhattan yarn shop, the store stays true to its building’s past by stocking its shelves with a vast supply of yarns, needles, and woolly Civil War–era mutton chops.
The store’s ample fiber selection ranges from affordable wool blends to skeins of luxurious cashmere. Needles come in a variety of sizes, and a collection of handy tools and accessories keeps projects running along smoothly. Berta’s 15 years of industry experience serve her well when she’s advising purchases or overseeing students as they craft socks or snuggies for their pet anacondas during knitting classes.
Tom Paladino, owner of the 95-foot American Princess, steers passengers over the Atlantic Ocean's scenic waters on many noted tours that leave the city's commotion behind, including his seal-and-bird-watching tour that earned a New Yorker mention. Staffed by a team of experienced captains on its luxury boats, American Princess Cruises' excursions encompass a variety of sightseeing, fishing, and partying opportunities. The company's many voyages ferry passengers past scenic areas that include New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay, Long Island Sound, or the Statue Of Liberty as she readies her torch for that night's show at Madison Square Garden. Within these geographic areas, passengers cruise on tours during which it's common to spot whales and dolphins cresting the sea's surface, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, or take in the area's flame-colored leaves in autumn.
Haven Art provides a blend of personalized instruction and open studio time, helping students young and old hone their skills in everything from pottery and stained glass to painting and drawing. Inside its 5,000-square-foot warehouse, the company conducts business among a collection of other studios, and an open floor plan enables creativity to flow freely on waves of inspiration or imaginary lava. For extra doses of motivation, visitors can step inside Haven Art's onsite gallery, which houses handmade pottery and jewelry crafted by local artists.