Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors?formerly known as Outdoor Bound?turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts?each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT?temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.
Spotlighted in Time magazine and the New York Times, Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a nationally renowned program offering a unique take on musical education for children 3 months to 4 years old. Classes consist of 45 minutes of singing, dancing, musical storytelling, and jamming. Children's songsmith David Weinstone designed a curriculum celebrating the urban environment as well as universal concerns of youth via his classes, which have exploded into the national spotlight since their humble beginnings in 1997. Rather than being strict and results-driven, the teaching style at Music for Aardvarks is based on adult modeling and exposing children to ideas and sounds without dumbing them down. Parent participation is strongly encouraged for atonal squealers and former Yes drummers alike. Check the Music for Aardvarks website for the drop-in sessions and 10-class series schedules.
Even though it?s been lauded by CBS New York, Time Out New York Kids, and Nickelodeon Parents Connect, ABC Do-Re-Me! most values praise from its students. At each energetic studio, newborns to 6-year-olds ecstatically bounce along to children?s songs from a live guitarist or to tunes by pop artists such as the Beatles, the Black Eyed Peas, and Madonna, as they build cognitive skills, develop socially, and create dance routines that will wow at baby prom.
For many, being a professional singer is a distant and often unrealized dream. But for students of The Singing Experience, the reality gets more attainable, even if only for one night. That's because the program immerses performers in a singing workshop that teaches vocal techniques and helps them overcoms stage fright. At the end of the course, students sing a song in a live cabaret performance on the stage of The Triad.
All this was made possible by performer Linda Amiel Burns, who dreamed up The Singing Experience in 1977 as a way to help novice singers tackle their fears of performing and of sea witches stealing their voices. It's also become a valuable tool of expression. "You sing out anger, love, your problems," Burns told The New York Times in 2009. She knows what she's talking about—she founded the business after a divorce and has helped countless others since. She has also earned accolades along the way from CBS and Cabaret Scenes magazine. A member of SAG and AFTRA, Linda also lends her talents to various arts programs, and is a two-time winner of the MAC Award.
Some couples write their own marriage vows, while others?well, others prefer a more fiery expression of their love and commitment. At New York Wedding Ring, metal artist Sam Abbay helps couples forge their own engagement and wedding rings from raw precious metals, coins, and existing jewelry. At a studio replete with all the necessary equipment, Abbay will guide you and your significant other as you choose your raw material?like palladium, gold, and platinum?and conceive a design for rings that can even include engravings and settings for gemstones.
The process, which can take as little as four hours or as long as a day, includes melting the metals, annealing, and shaping. All the while, Abbay is on hand to offer advice such as how thick wedding rings should be and how to keep them polished if there are no automatic car washes in your area to run through. He can also work with clients to design a custom ring of his own creation. The romantic experience culminates on a couple's big day, when they exchange their handmade and personally designed rings?a perfect symbol for the love they've nurtured.
In Paris, Chef Déborah Célimène graduated from renowned culinary school Lenôtre after studying under award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Now in the U.S., she brings the talents she honed in France, as well as her passion for food, to Fleur Bleue Baking Classes. As a chef and business owner, Célimène aims to create memories through her food, and share a piece of her own story with eat bite. In her classes, students learn how to craft memorable desserts based on mouth-watering themes. In one class, students make traditional American desserts, such as red velvet cakes, strawberry shortcake, and Stars and Stripes pie, while in others, they learn to bake with chocolate, how to make macarons, or the recipes for cheesecakes from around the world, such as New York cheesecake and the French Tourteau. Célimène also gets in touch with her West Indian roots in a class that covers typical French West Indian desserts such as coconut jello, passion fruit mousse, and banana pie.