Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill, find an outlet for your creativity, or just expand your perspective on the world? Astoria and Long Island City are home to a number of organizations and groups that will help you do just that. It's never too late to learn a new skill or open you mind.
Creators' Co-op is the first place of its kind in Astoria. It is a cooperative of local artists and craftspeople that display their wares and run the place. You'll find art, jewelry, clothing, and home goods. Everything is showcased in their tiny spot on 23rd Ave, which holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff for its size.
Creators' Co-op also teaches. They have a regular schedule of classes and events, both single and repeating events. You can learn how to draw, crochet, sew, and even learn how to make hair accessories! RSVPs are required because of the small space.
- Creators' Co-op, 26-16 23rd Ave, Astoria, NY, 646-470-4728
Creative Vibrations, one of Astoria's many yoga studios, teaches regular belly dancing classes. This is a great way to get up and active and have fun at the same time. Classes are held a few days a week and are open to all levels.
Beginner especially will benefit from instruction at Creative Vibrations. In these classes they focus on developing a comfort level with and mastering the basics of belly dancing. This includes torso, hip, and chest undulations; graceful arms; shimmy and vibrations; hip and chest accents; travelling steps; and basic turns. Belly dancing helps one find comfort with one's body and develop physical grace.
All level classes involve choreography training, exploring the use of finger cymbals properly, as well as the veil.
Creative Vibrations Studio 22-55 31st St, 2nd Fl, Suite 200, Astoria, NY, 347-345-6095
Have you ever wanted to learn how to create beautiful pottery pieces? The Brick House Ceramic Art Center is Long Island City's premiere spot for learning how to work with clay. They offer classes throughout the year to adults, from beginner to advanced. Private lessons are also available.
The course schedule has a variety of class offerings, from handbuilding (forming clay objects with just your hands) to wheel throwing (forming bowls, cups, vases, etc. on the potter's wheel). They have many glazes to choose from, as well as a glazing technique class for more advanced students.
Want to check it out but are not totally sure it's for you? Brick House holds open houses during the year for your perusal.
- Brick House Ceramic Art Center, 10-34 44th Dr, Long Island City, NY, 718-784-4907
If you have ever wanted to learn a little bit about gardening, the Community Plot at Two Coves Community Garden. Unlike most of the garden, which is populated by individual plots belonging to specific people, the Community Plot is open to anyone who wants to work in it. Guest Gardeners, as they are called, are welcome to work in the Community Plot during Garden Together hours.
Garden Together hours are usually posted on the chalkboard at the entrance to the garden or on the Google Calendar that is maintained by the community. Garden Together sessions can happen on weekdays or weekends. These sessions are a great time to learn about gardening from more experienced gardeners. People are happy to share their knowledge. And if there are ripe vegetables and/or flowers blooming, participants can take home some of the bounty from the Community Plot and enjoy it at home.
- Two Coves Community Garden, located at the triangle formed between 8th St., Astoria Blvd, and 30th Ave/Main Ave, Astoria, NY
In Long Island City, you can learn how to be a circus star. That's right! Circus Warehouse in Long Island City has an entire schedule of Adult Recreation classes focusing on the flying trapeze, Chinese Pole, acrobatics, and more. Classes range from beginner to professional - in fact, according to their website, "It's the only training facility in the New York area where the circus stars come to train and teach."
The facilities are extensive. The ceilings are high enough to house a classic flying trapeze; the space is large enough (8,000 square feet) to teach myriad circus arts - trampoline, wire walking, etc. They teach ballet (open to any level) and are fortunate enough to have a sprung floor for dancer safety.
In addition to classes for adults, there are classes for kids and private lessons. Pricing is by class, workout, or sessions, and multiples of each can be purchased at once.
- Circus Warehouse, 53-21 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY, 212-751-2174
One of Queens' greatest resources is the Queens Library System. Astoria and Long Island City have four branches open to the general public: Astoria, Broadway, Steinway, and Long Island City. And all of these branches have classes for adults, teens, and kids.
For adults, they can learn everything from computer skills to bike repair, basics of home ownership to nutrition. For teens, they can take a jewelry or handbag making workshop or learn about gardening. And for kids, urban chickening might catch their attention. All in all, there is a huge variety of workshops available at the public library. Most, if not all classes, are free.
- Astoria Branch: 14-01 Astoria Blvd, Astoria, NY, 718-278-2220
- Broadway Branch: 40-20 Broadway, Astoria, NY, 718-721-2462
- Steinway Branch: 21-45 31 St, Astoria, NY, 718-728-1965
- Long Island City Branch: 37-44 21 St, Long Island City, NY, 718-752-3700