Exploring The Offbeaten & Educational Side Of The Big Apple

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Recently, I needed to get out of the house to get inspired and decided to travel to several perfect locations in New York City:

1. The New York Public Library on 5th Avenue  and 42nd Street.  The lion statues guard the stairs and invite you in.  An ideal place to find any piece of history you’d like.  The smell of old books makes me feel younger and the silence is soothing.  What a great place to discover something new this summer.  NYPL actually offers many free classes all summer but I spent the day doing some research of my own and I planned my week accordingly.

2. Tuesday evening I took a free sketching class on the Hudson. There was no better place to catch that cool summer night breeze and learn a few things about art.  Summer Sparks is a series of completely free summer courses going on every Tuesday night on Pier 63.  They offer amazing pop-up classes like origami, salsa dancing, kimchi-making and so much more.  You can check out the full list of classes and sign up for them with CourseHorse. The instructors are friendly and they promise to make the classes fun and entertaining.  A free course with supplies included – sounds like a win to me!

3. On Wednesday I found my escape to the heat wave: on the train to the National Museum of the American Indian. This museum is free admission for everyone, everyday. They offer an amazing guide through the history of the Native people of the Americas. With special dance performances, films and exhibitions, you are instantly transported to the places our history teachers forgot to mention during middle school. I enjoyed the Art and History Collection exhibition the most; the artwork was marvelously enriching.



4. Thursday evening I decided to check out Central Park’s “name-your-own-price” tour. Lucky for me, the tour guide was nice enough to let me join the group without a reservation but reservations are required. Central Park has always been nothing but a border between the east and west side in my eyes. Now, I know that Central Park has so much to offer us New Yorkers. Depending on the day and time, the tours may cover different areas of the park. The Central Park sunset tour covers the southern half of Central Park, making stops at the zoo, Strawberry Fields, and other popular locations.  They also offer free bike tours for those of you who like to cruise through the city.

5.  I ended my week with a free kayaking class on Saturday morning!  I wish I would have known about this sooner!  The Downtown Boathouse is a nonprofit organization run by all volunteers. Their mission is to provide safe and free public access to the Hudson River by providing free kayaking lessons to us during the warmer seasons. They are located at Pier 40, Pier 96, 72nd Street and Governors Island.  I should have gone to the free session available on Wednesday nights before I got into the kayak; my experience would have been a lot smoother.  But I had so much fun learning on the spot and making mistakes before I got the hang of it.  The volunteers are happy and enthusiastic to teach you; they genuinely love what they do.



Contributed by Denise Pina



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