Village Voice Education Guide
The Big Apple is an undeniable melting pot of culture, art, history, philosophy and, lucky for those who want to learn about all those things, education.
Loaded with more students than the population of certain prominent cities (we’re looking in your direction, Boston), NYC offers everyone with a thirst for knowledge an abundant variety of scholastic opportunities. From world-renowned colleges and universities, to elite special interest programs and private instruction, there’s a place to learn about virtually every topic under the sun, moon and any other celestial bodies you can dream up. Here we’ve narrowed down a list of some of the best-reviewed courses and institutions available, to help you continue your education to stratospheric heights.
- Music Instruction
- Foreign Language
- Creative Writing
- Educational Grab Bag
- Speed Reading & Memory
- Fine Arts
- Professional Photography
- Creative Writing
- Art Commerce
- Fashion Design & Business
- Web Design, Development, Coding & Beyond
- Visual Arts
soul-collections.com (718) 908-6095 1126 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11216
So, you think you can sew? If you just want to learn the basics or are ready to elevate your pattern-making, alteration and tailoring expertise to Tim Gunn-approved heights, this homey Bed-Stuy workspace is the ideal setting to set your crafty soul free. As any good designer worth their salt will tell you, a solid foundation in the sewing machine arts is integral to one day cultivating an ample line of apparel. Staying trendy, they are currently running a four-session package course for a fee of $100. If there is any doubt that this reasonably priced atelier is for you, just know that you’ll also learn bag construction: game, set, match(ing patterns).
keylab.nyc (718) 576-3514 94 Luquer Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
Have you always yearned to ‘Sing out, Louise!’ but never received the formal training necessary to give you that extra confidence boost to actually make it happen? Now’s your chance to tip the (musical) scales in your favor. If Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have taught us anything, it’s that anyone can lead a harmonious life - with the proper instruction. Carroll Garden’s Keylab offers full courses and private lessons in vocals, all manner of instruments (a focus on piano - but also guitar, keytar, etc.), composition, and sound tech & production. While they are melodious masters of the classical forms, they’re also modern maestros of the digital age (check out “Stemistry,” their iPad recording class). Classes generally run to the tune of $200 to $250 for an 8-week course.
wearebkc.com (718) 362-2394 33 Washington Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
Calling all shutterbugs! Yes, your Snapchat skills are off the hook, but if you want to get serious about the photographic arts, Dumbo’s BKC is the place to be. They offer a wide variety of beginner classes (standard courses are in the $300 range), covering the basics on operating your camera, taking digital pics, capturing the perfect portrait and creating the ideal mood through nuanced lighting. There’s even advanced instruction on the virtual Lightroom, and “Field Guide” courses that take you and your cherished Kodak out into the cityscape to snag crucial images. Ultimately, they will expose your skills set and open your eye. The aforementioned focus on urban elements makes this an indispensable school for budding artists looking to make their mark on NYC’s rich photographic domain.
fluentcity.com (877) 284-5122 330 5th Avenue New York, NY 10001
If you’re itching to really put that left brain to work, you may want to consider learning a whole new tongue. At Fluent City, one of NYC’s most raved about language schools, you can choose from one of the Romances, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew and more. Group classes are $399 (built around “casual conversation”), Intensives cost $699 (a fast-paced, deep dive), and Private Lessons are $60/hour (for those who learn best uno a uno). One aspect that students consistently praise is Fluent City’s customer service, as they are very willing to work with pupils in finding the the best possible class (level and instructor). They also employ a variety of tools to help you absorb, such as film clips and music, immersing you fully in the culture of the language you are learning. With several locations in Manhattan, and one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (where colectively there are tons of dialects being spoken at any given time), you can choose the spot that’s most convenient for you to get your linguistic workouts. With your newly acquired skills, you can travel the globe with confidence and chit chat with your Lyft driver. Bonne chance, amis.
lostlit.com (347) 422-7014 82 Bond Street Boerum Hill, NY 11217
Okay, Hemingway, it’s time to take those hastily scribbled napkin notes and story snippets and forge them into a literary masterpiece - or at least something you’re proud to show your mom. Lost Lit is one of the most favorably reviewed writing classes out there. Students unanimously agree that a safe, supportive and warm atmosphere is fostered here, where one’s inhibitions melt away and true talent can blossom. The venerated instructor Lynne Conner is lauded for her ability to supply positive, constructive feedback that inspires you to take your original treatise to the next level. Whether you’ve got the morose prose of Proust, the poetic howl of Woolf, or you’re just spooky & kooky as Koontz, this cozy, Brooklyn-based studio will let your words flourish. Writing workshops begin at $275 for the five-week course.
brooklynbrainery.com (347) 292-7246 190 Underhill Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11238
A smorgasbord of highly affordable classes-dive into the vast cornucopia of one-off teaching opportunities offered at Brooklyn Brainery. With a loose focus on the artistic and the eccentric, a quick perusal of the current courses reveals DIY Printmaking, Cuisine of the Ancient Greeks, Cloud Study, Bio-Art, a Soap Making Workshop and a Bald Eagle Excursion to Croton Point Park. Many lessons deal with earth-friendly philosophies seamlessly melded with creative pursuits, such as their Aluminum Weaving seminar. With classes running in the $10-$25 range, you can bolster your thirsty brain for the price of a solo Starbucks trip.
irisreading.com/new-york (312) 857-4747 21 E 71st Street New York, NY 10021
If you’re a smart cookie, but you just can’t seem to consume crumbs of knowledge quick enough, you may greatly benefit from a course in speed reading. Iris will train you on not only how to fly through dense tomes, but will provide you with the mnemonic tricks necessary to retain every morsel of text (helpful not just in scholastic pursuits, but also for winning arguments with loved ones). Courses start at $199, and they offer group discounts, for those who love learning with pals. Updated for the digital age, they even have specific tactics for speed reading on computers and tablets. With practice drills and exercises in repetition, this really is a boot camp for the ole peepers.
arts.columbia.edu (212) 854-1754 Miller Theatre 2960 Broadway New York, NY 10027
What better place to hone your skills in the art province than at the campus where they filmed several pivotal scenes in Ghostbusters? The University formerly known as Kings, Columbia is the oldest college in all of New York State, founded in 1754. Yet it took the Ivy Leaguers up in Morningside Heights almost two centuries before they realized they needed a school dedicated solely to the fine arts. Thus, in 1948 SoA was born. This is a graduate conservatory that allows artistes in the fields of Film, Visual Arts, Theatre and Writing to acquire a Master of Fine Arts degree (there is also an MA available in Film Studies, for strictly critical types). To clarify, the SoA categorizes a whole series of interdisciplinary subjects into the Visual Arts bracket, including digital media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture installation, performance and video art. The internationally acclaimed professors here will draw out your inner Kuntz, brace you for Brecht, and give you that get-up-and-Van-Gogh.
nyip.edu (800) 583-1736 192 Lexington Avenue #701 New York, NY 10016
The New York Institute of Photography is the most massive and longest-running photography school on the planet, and has been prominently featured in the following publications and online outlets: The New York Times, Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Rangefinder, PDNonline and many other photo-based sources. Their mission is to prepare students for the real-life world of photography, and they specialize in helping you discover your specialization. Their catalog of highly focused photographic courses include Wedding, Portrait, Travel, Nature & Landscape, and Photojournalism. In the still burgeoning and evolving digital world, NYIP also provides the fundamentals (and advanced techniques) in digital pics, Photoshop and videography. Capping off a well-rounded education here in the photo arts in a Business for Photographers class, solely dedicated to launching your career, as you learn the practical methods to turn your snapshots into actual currency. In an effort to keep things affordable, they offer both flat-rate and monthly billing options for classes (for instance, you can pay-in-full for a typically priced $900 class, and be charged only $650, or spread it out over the year).
writingclasses.com (212) 974-8377 555 8th Avenue #1402 New York, NY 10016
There’s no writing instruction program in the city (or online) that offers so wide a breadth of courses as Gotham. Each highly specific class tackles a different aspect of creative writing, including fiction, non fiction, scriptwriting, comedy, poetry & song, and there’s even a professional development class, which basically teaches you how to write cogent and pithy material for the workplace. Just starting out or not exactly sure which topic piques your interest yet? The “Essentials” class will give you the rock solid foundation in writing that you can use as a springboard for a multitude of future text crafting possibilities. If you’re not keen on the whole “group learning” environment, they offer one-on-one instruction, so just you and an experienced tutor can get down to the nitty gritty Ten-week courses here run in the $400 range (the online versions are discounted, and returning students get a mark-down too), and according to the many reviews of satisfied students, are worth every penny.
sothebysinstitute.com (212) 517-3929 570 Lexington Avenue #6 New York, NY 10022
Did you know that Sotheby’s is not just a place to pick up an armful of Renoirs and a carton of Fabergé eggs? With flourishing campuses in London, Los Angeles and New York (and a special partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing), Sotheby’s Institute of Art offers seminal graduate courses to imaginatively-minded individuals who are serious about the international trade of art. Fusing historical art appreciation and business savviness, the Institute expertly prepares students for careers in Art Business, Contemporary Art, Fine Art, Decorative Art & Design and Modern-Contemporary Asian Art, providing Master’s programs in each lavish category. Each chapter of the full three-semester graduate program runs in the $22K ballpark, with opportunities for need and merit-based financial assistance available for those who qualify. In addition to the comprehensive grad programs, they offer 15-week intensives, study abroad, summer courses, executive education and even online courses (what a time to be alive). Since its inception in 1969 at the legendary London auction house, Sotheby’s Institute has established itself as the premier place to learn about art commerce.
fitnyc.edu (212) 217-7999 227 W 27th Street New York, NY 10001
The globalized business of fashion is an industry that never seems to slow down (...and, for some reason, changes every season). Whether you’re intereseted in button construction, buying on an international scale, merchandising locally, crafting intimates or anything else under the chic umbrella of the fashion “label,” the esteemed (yet relatively affordable) institution for you is F.I.T. Situated along the southern hem of NYC’s legendary Garment District, this dynamic school preps students of all ages and levels for the fluctuating world of style. From conceiving innovative designs, to the final sale of said natty wares, the professionals/professors here have you covered in clothing-cachet. From associate to graduate level classes, the fees range from $191 per credit to $925.
nobledesktop.com (212) 226-4149 594 Broadway #1202 New York, NY 10012
More and more, in the “requirements” section of various job descriptions, there will be a baffling horde of initials strung together: W, X, iOS, UX, Ps, Id, Ai, Xd, Lr, PP, HTML5 - HUH? Noble Desktop will lead you through this hieroglyphic hedge maze, teaching you what these letters mean AND now to master the key (job-market vital) programs they represent. KMost classes here are in the $1,000 range, all of which could potentially provide a nice ROI. Whether you have an unrelenting passion for supremely complicated coding or just want to pick up some basic photo-retouching skills, the instructors here will make sure you are fully developed.
sva.edu (212) 592-2000 209 E 23rd Street New York, NY 10010
There are few schools that so expertly tackle as broad a spectrum of beaux art forms as the 23rd Street-staple SVA. Here you can sharpen your skills in the lofty fields of film, animation, graphic design, illustration, interior design, fine arts and a palette of other imaginative endeavors (at $1,170 per credit-hour for part-time students). With undergrad, grad, continuing ed. & special programs taught by a host of artistically accomplished, world-renowned professors (i.e. Bob Giraldi, Chair of the MSP Directing De4partment, who directed Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and Louise Fili, BFA Design Instructor and acclaimed graphic designer & typography authority), you’re in good, talented hands here.
generalassemb.ly (917) 722-0237 10 E 21st Street New York, NY 10010
True to its name, the Flatiron District’s General Assembly is comprised of a varied collection of universally useful courses in the tech domain. Forged with an emphasis on intensive, immersive coding and development, this well-regarded establishment in digital designing offers sundry in-person classes as well as online options (like any good technology-oriented place should). Here you are welcome to have a personally fulfilling educational experience - as you learn, in turn to enhance ‘user’ experience (with part-time courses starting at $1,250). Rounding out the core lessons in electronic-vernacular are additional options in the alternate tiers of tech, from dynamic data analytics to dazzling digital marketing.
sps.cuny.edu (212) 652-2869 119 W 31st Street New York, NY 10001
Here we have a highly respected, and gloriously affordable, institution that offers a comprehensive curriculum for those seeking to complete degrees of all levels. With undergrad, grad and certificate programs available, in virtually every practical topic under the sun, you can genuinely become an exponentially more employable human. From a Master of Arts in Disability Studies to a Master of Science in Nursing Education to an Advanced Certificate in Immigration Law Studies (...currently more relevant than we’d all probably prefer), CUNY Pro Studies will help transform you into a fully-accredited expert in your field, in a matter of a few vital semesters. Undergrad tuition rates are $275 per credit, and $425 for grads- a very competitive price in the Northeast.
opencampus.newschool.edu (212) 229-5600 66 W 12th Street New York, NY 10011
While The New School offers a sprawling catalog of fundamental courses, their Open Campus continuing ed-specific program is expressly tailored for busy New Yorkers looking to broaden their field of knowledge. From the practical (Management, Leadership, Entrepreneurship) to the philosophical (...Philosophy), this alternative institution is bursting with educational prospects across a wide spectrum, with most courses in the $1,400 per credit gamut. Primarily celebrated for their strengths in the arts (including a partnership with Parsons), literature and writing, their Studies in Culture & Society program is chocked-full of strikingly practical classes, that will not only help you in your professional life, but can provide some clarity into the somewhat jarring global climate we’re currently entrenched in.
adelphi.edu (800) 233-5744 1 South Avenue Garden City, NY 11530
Established in 1896, Adelphi is the oldest private university on Long Island. Their crest’s original motto “Truth shall make us free” is refreshingly relevant for 2017. The university offers an expansive course-load to full and part-time students (PT credit hours are $990 each, and fully enrolled students pay $34K for the entire year). Featuring a College of Arts & Sciences, Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Schools of Education, Business & Social Work, College of Nursing and an Honors College, this educational body houses the necessary implements to fulfill virtually every conceivable academic pursuit. Nestled in Garden City, the campus is vibrant and plush (they won 2017’s Best Public Garden, to give you an idea of just how lush). For those not able to enjoy the splendor of the main site, Adelphi has hubs in Hudson Valley, Suffolk County and, naturally, Manhattan. As “Adelphi” is the Greek word for “siblings,” you’ll feel right at home with your education-hungry kin here.
risd.edu (401) 454-6100 2 College Street Providence, RI 02903
For those intrepid designers who are willing to venture out of the city limits to pursue their craft, there is the famed Rhode Island School of Design at your disposal. Yes, the 1877-founded RISD is one of the best design schools in the land (come on, Seth McFarlane matriculated there), as they offer imaginative courses in every old and new school artistic iteration out there. From illustration to interior architecture to textiles to furniture, glass & graphic design, the internationally recognized RISD staff will lead you down the precise design-related path of your choosing, to glory. Annual tuition clocks in around $46K (part-time status is not available, as the powers that be believe in full-course immersion for optimal results). A yearly survey conducted by RISD’s Career Center estimates that 96% of alumni are employed one year after graduation, with 70% holding positions directly related to their major; so it appears that they know what they’re doing.
cooper.edu (212) 353-4100 30 Cooper Square New York, NY 10003
Known in the 1800’s as the “Cooper Institute,” and throughout time as “that tiny school where really smart people go,” Cooper Union boasts a sterling reputation and an indelible place in NYC’s historical landscape. Founded by philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, the East Village staple was established under the philosophical umbrella that higher education should be made available to any intellectually deserving party, regardless of race, sex, wealth, or social status. CU has kept up with this ideology, and remains one of the most liberated think-tanks around. Initially all students were granted full rides; currently every admitted student receives a half-tuition merit scholarship (nothing to blink at in these times of hyper-pricey education experiences). Ergo, the full year $42K price tag is shrunk down to a manageable $21K. With three separate schools of Architecture, Art and Engineering, and a Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Cooper Union offers the fundamentals in all core (and eclectic) artistic and scholarly pursuits., They also have trailblazing continuing education opportunities, pushing students to “create something new or disrupt something old.”
mercy.edu (212) 615-3300 66 W 35th Street New York, NY 10001
With four different locations, spread out across the city and Westchester, Mercy truly gives you options. They offer over ninety undergrad, grad and certificate programs throughout their five different schools (Business, Education, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences), with a strong emphasis on “real-world” practicality. Mercy takes a very hands-on approach with all their students, with programs like PACT (Personalized Achievement Contract), that provide pupils with mentors to guide them through their educational journey and help them with post-collegiate life. True to their moniker, Mercy also is a place for people who appreciate whatever good fortune has been bestowed upon them and want to give something back. The “Mercy Gives Back” community service enterprise lets students interact directly with the surrounding community, as they contribute, learn and lead. In fact, the phrase “Inserviendo Consumere” is emblazoned on their seal, which translates to “consumed in service.” A full semester’s tuition is $18,076; part-time (less than 12 credits) runs $748 per credit - with a plenitude of financial aid possibilities to choose from.