Adventure Activities in New York City -- Try if You Dare
Whether you are a local or a visitor, you'll find an adventure activity in New York that's sure to provide a thrill. You never know, you could end up in showbiz!
1. Act out
Nowadays, "character actors" are definitely in, especially if you're a gecko. Back in New York, I joined an ensemble theatre group and went on stage. I got a few laughs, but acting lessons would have helped. If you're feeling daring and long for the thrill of the stage but need a little instruction first, try Meisner Technique, private coaching in a relaxed, supportive environment with Alan Gordon. Classes take place at The Players Theatre or on Skype. The cost is $125 per hour and auditors are always welcome. Afterwards, pick up Backstage Magazine and knock 'em dead on an audition!
The Players Theatre
115 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
2. Key the moog
Pink Floyd had a great influence on my life and left me wishing I had been able to play a synthesizer. In NYC, you can! At Sweetsounds Studios, anyone can record vocals on top of instrumentals, play a synthesizer and walk away with a record! Sweetsounds producer Dinesh Boaz recommends reserving two to four hours for basic tracking and mixing at $50 per hour. Give yourself time to prepare (and work up the nerve for this daring endeavor) by booking sessions up to two weeks in advance. Feeling extra adventurous? Record in hand, ask a DJ to play your selection to a frenzied crowd of New York clubbers who may applaud your masterpiece.
602 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10009
3. Slam a poem
Participating in a poetry reading might seem a bit tame to be considered an adventure activity in New York, but there's nothing scarier than baring the most intimate details of your poetic soul in front of a crowded room of strangers. Make it easier on yourself and take a seminar or workshop at Poets House. With classes starting at $10 ($7 for seniors and members), Poets House offers a wealth of resources to get you on your way to a Pulitzer. While you're there, check out "The Change Interviews" audio of Pushcart Prize nominees/winners in the Axe Houghton Multimedia Archives. Once you are ready to share your poems, attend a Poetry session in the Branches open mic night or go to a poetry slam. If you're in town, you can also try the free Poems in the Park series in August and September, although your poem must be about the West Harlem Piers Park or nature.
10 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282
Hours: Tue-Fri 11AM-7PM, Sat 11AM-6PM
4. Take a culinary chance
While in Harlem, do not miss out on Sylvia's Restaurant of Harlem. Founded by the "Queen of Soulfood," Sylvia Woods, this restaurant features adventurous menu items such as chitlins (pig intestines) and oxtail. Other scrumptious items include the Harlem style waffle and fried chicken, black eyed peas, okra and tomato gumbo and peach cobbler.
328 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Mon-Sat 8AM-10:30OPM, Sun 11AM-8PM
5. Wing it (without barbecue sauce)
The funniest thing I've ever said was... Well, I don't think I've ever said anything funny. My brother is the comedian in the family. If you're one of the bravest of the brave, The PIT (Peoples Improv Theater) is for you. The theater's busy schedule of free shows, jams and other fun activities encourages you to stand up for three minutes and make people laugh until they cry. To ease onto the stage, take one of the drop-in classes at the theater's Simple Studios. If you're just not up for improvising, try Super Free Wednesdays, when the PIT House Teams provide free improv entertainment from 7PM-11PM.
The Peoples Improv Theatre
154 West 29th Street
New York, NY 10001
6. Let your lungs lead
To this day, I'm still not sure how I made it into high school chorus. I am positive I would be a "No, dawg, sorry" contestant on American Idol. If you want to improve your chances, take a private voice lesson with Jordan Wentworth, a vocal instructor who recently coached an American Idol contestant on live television! She coaches all styles including opera, musical theatre, contemporary, R&B, jazz, rock and classical for $80 per hour. All ages are welcome on Skype and in her studio. Call ahead for an appointment or inquire about cancellations when you have a spontaneous urge to warble. Then, I suggest you take Ms. Wentworth's sage advice: "If you feel you are at a professional level, you can offer to perform at a local restaurant in return for dinner." Leave your credit cards at home and bring your sheet music and sign it for the maitre d'! I suggest the East Village's Sidewalk Café, where open mic nights begin at 7:30PM on Mondays.
Jordan Wentworth Studio
220 West 98th Street
New York, NY 10025
There are thousands of theatrical, vocal and culinary adventure activities in New York for the daring visitor or local. Gather up the nerve and break a leg!
A native New Yorker, Alice Shapiro's poems have appeared in various online and print journals. Her first book of poetry, Cracked: Timeless Topics of Nature, Courage, and Endurance, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Read her blog on Red Room'.
- Overview:New York Travel Guide