Murder mysteries should be anything but silly. That’s the view espoused by Live In Theater Productions, the brainchild of prolific actor and playwright Carlo D'Amore. Eschewing the goofy tone of some other shows, Live In Theater plunges participants into cases that take their immersive details from unsolved, historical murders in New York. Showgoers make their way along the city streets where the real crimes once took place, interrogating actors playing roles ranging from 19th-century Irish slumlords to strung-out 1970s junkies. Each event plays out differently as the amateur sleuths weigh evidence, pursue leads, and finally find some use for their pocket-sized polygraphs, creating a one-of-a-kind adventure that earned a 2012 Drama Desk nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience.
CLOS Wine Bar owner and certified sommelier Mine Ayberk personally chooses every option on the bar's wine list, focusing especially on Old World, single-vineyard wines. As it turns out, Ms. Ayberk's selection has more wines than her bar has seats. With enough space for just under 20 guests, CLOS carries an intimate aura, surrounding visitors with warm tones, handcrafted finishings, and works from local artists. Clambering across the hardwood floors, the CLOS staff doles out specially prepared gourmet plates designed to enhance the wine-drinking experience. But much like its owner, the bar's staff members aren't just shadows in the background: each is a certified sommelier, and each speaks multiple languages. This means guests can enjoy some European pizzazz without having to join a pen-pal program for adults.
Founded in 1986 as a place for writers and performers to create and develop new work before a live audience, Dixon Place in the Lower East Side steadfastly holds on to its underground spirit, and remains one of New York’s foremost places to watch the creative process in action. Today, the intimate 120-seat theater hosts a diverse program of plays, musicals, dance performances and literary readings by emerging and established artists like Kate Soper, Toni Schlesinger and Marcia Monroe. Dixon Place also hosts similarly experimental art exhibitions in its gallery, alongside film screenings and talks, while musical performances and cabaret take place in the lounge.
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.
Runny tofu. Limp lettuce. Bland steamed vegetables. That's how a lot of people view vegan food, and The Seed: A Vegan Experience's founder Harvey Fung was no exception. But that opinion changed in 2011. That's when the avid muay thai practitioner and owner of 82Mercer saw the documentary Forks Over Knives, which set him on his path to veganism and led him to discover that vegan cuisine can be hearty, satisfying, and, most importantly for a foodie like him, decadent and delicious. In fact, it's not unusual for him to have a slice or two of moist chocolate layer cake that leaves him "sated and happy" and able to walk past traditional patisseries without licking the window.
After realizing that his discovery couldn't be kept to himself, Fung decided to share his love of vegan fare with The Seed: A Vegan Experience, an endeavor to reach out to vegans, omnivores who really like tempeh, and vegetable skeptics all at once with inspiring talks, cooking lessons, and samples from NYC restaurants and earth-friendly vendors. The proceeds from the event will benefit two nonprofit organizations: The New York Coalition for Healthy School Fund, an organization that works to improve the health of New York's students statewide, and Mercy for Animals, a national organization dedicated to preventing animal cruelty.
With more than 120 classes and a plethora of programs offered each week, the YMCA bolsters bodies with invigorating and enjoyable fitness regimens throughout Manhattan. Aspiring circus strongpersons have their pick from brawn-building courses such as kettlebell for a full flexibility workout, spinning for 45 minutes of fat-burning cardio, and capoeira for winning dance-fights against hard-bargaining local street vendors.