The guides from Wilderness Rocks help urban dwellers escape to nature with five- to six-hour day trips through the Catskills and beyond. Groups of up to 14 get scooped up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and whisked away from the concrete jungle's hectic routine of hailing taxis and dodging falling coconuts under the Panamanian Consulate. Departing throughout the year, hike options range from the Catskills snowshoe trip on February 11—a 6-mile trek through the snowy sanctum of the Catskill Mountains—to the Pound Mountain trip on April 7, which involves moderate rock climbing and spelunking. Rather than sprinting ahead to nab the freshest, most coveted pinecones, guides make several stops along the way, allowing everyone to catch their breath and take in the serenity of their surroundings. Once hikers have finished each trail, Wilderness Rocks transports the group back to the 86th Street rendezvous point with nothing but their gear, memories, and carefully rehearsed alibis. Before departure, check each trip's page for departure times, clothing requirements, and what equipment to bring.
Belly dancer Amira Mor has tapped finger cymbals for Moroccan royalty and shimmied for the prime minister of Jordan. Her moves can be elegant or sensual: she coached Britney Spears through new routines at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and has also choreographed for the New York City Ballet. Her moves have also landed her a role Sex and the City 2 and taken her to Guantanamo Bay, where she led belly dance boot camps for U.S. Marines. “From the moment Mor begins her dance,” a reporter for the Star-Ledger wrote, “there’s no doubt who’s in charge.… She wears a fringed bustier spangled with gold, and, for a skirt, slashes of sparkly fabric that whip away from her body as she spins, which she does in a blur of speed.…”
At Amira Mor International Entertainment Company, anyone interested in belly dancing can benefit from the award-winning dancer's instruction. With the help of fellow dance instructor Stephanie, she teaches groups some traditional Middle Eastern moves, drawing on modern innovations including flashy hip movements and songs about fax machines. Additionally, Amira is a certified fitness instructor, so she can also help students on quests for sculpted abs.
FastFrame's talented framers and designers elegantly preserve prized art prints, photos, and artifacts with custom frames assembled out of a variety of mouldings and materials. The hard-working staff builds wall-worthy encasements for two- and three-dimensional keepsakes with a speedy turnaround time, enshrining engagement photos in contemporary frames and safeguarding deflated banana boats in snazzy shadow boxes. The seasoned technicians can craft exoskeletons for pictures using standard mats and frames or specialty fabrics and acid-free preservation materials. As a sign of its dedication to exceptional customer service, FastFrame's 30-day guarantee allows for free redesigns within 30 days of sale, along with a lifetime guarantee on structural craftsmanship.
LiloVeve—a composite of the words "live" and "love"—is part gallery, part wedding-band boutique, and part jewelry-making school. First came the gallery. Caroline Glemann founded it to showcase a range of art that includes paintings, photos, and a permanent jewelry collection. Jewelry-making students take classes and workshops to pick up skills in metalwork, wax carving, and gold alloying. They can even learn about design from an industry perspective, or prep for the SAT's recently added fashion section. Handmade rings adorn betrothed digits after LiloVeve craftspeople lovingly solder, saw, and pierce each sparkling circle.
Reflecting the diverse scope and scale of science itself, the exhibits at the New York Hall of Science range from massive NASA rockets to holographic depictions of the infinitesimal atom. Originally built for the 1964 World's Fair to showcase technological advancements, the center has since transformed into an interactive museum that, since 1986, has seen more than 7 million visitors. Today, more than 450 interactive exhibits invite visitors of all ages to explore the world by watching living microbes thrive and evolve in a miniscule zoo, discovering the powerful mathematics hidden in everyday objects, and testing their understanding of physics and Plutonian trash talk on a mini-golf course inspired by the cosmos.
Operating since the early 1900s and voted Best Petting Zoo of 2011 by readers of the Long Island Press, White Post Farms stimulates visitors with a smorgasbord of exciting diversions. Guests commune with an exotic menagerie of man’s second-best friends in the petting zoo, home to zebras, kangaroos and a sublimely patient giant tortoise. Friends of the feathered can hang out at Ronnie’s Birdie Landing, a free-flight aviary that boasts a 70-foot waterfall and a flock of parakeets that moonlight as a Flock of Seagulls cover band (feed, $0.92–$4.61, is not included). Guests can also enjoy the company of faux furry companions, gawking at the spectacle of the animatronic Animal Band Jamboree and the Singin’ Chicken Show.