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.
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.
At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
Laughter flows from the New York Comedy Club's corridors, freshly squeezed from audiences' giggle boxes by the club's on-hand comedians, visiting performers, and enthusiastic novices. Weekly shows, such as The Clayton Fletcher Show, lure up-and-coming NYC comedians to showcase their best jokes, brandish their best impressions, and analyze government tax-code legislation. On tri-weekly open-mic nights, amateur humorists test their slapstick mettle alongside host Dan Gutin. In addition to entertaining crowds, the New York Comedy Club hosts classes in tandem with Laughing Buddha Comedy, helping aspiring comics or court jesters to improve their stage presence and perfect their knock-knock jokes.
JG Kinetics Studio fuses a passion for both dance and fitness in an enrichment center that helps students get in shape and strengthen their dance skills. Ballet, jazz, and hip-hop classes introduce children to the fundamentals of rhythm and movement, and yoga for youth helps manage emotions and anxiety tied to the population explosion of imaginary monsters under their bed. Adult classes such as Zumba and salsa cater to dancers and aerobic exercisers of all skill levels for one-on-one and group instruction. Instructors also organize themed birthday parties that immerse youth in treasure hunts and ‘80s dance music with included birthday cakes and age-appropriate activities.