Brokelyn’s guide to adult education

Spanish class on <em>Community</em>

Have you been thinking this is the year you are going to learn something new? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn Esperanto or pluck a harp, but how about making your own LED lamp or nature journaling? NYU and The New School aren’t the only places with interesting-sounding classes this winter. There are plenty of schools and “learning collectives” here in Brooklyn where you can pick up all kinds of useful and not-quite-so-useful abilities. They vary in price—with a few distinctly out of our range—but most are likely better values than, say, $430 for a series of museum walking tours with NYU:

Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Ave., Midwood; Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Flatbush
Our borough’s own institutions of higher learning offer some great educational values. Brooklyn College offers continuing ed classes (most of which are online) through their P.A.C.E program. Nothing fancy, just some good ol’ everyday application type stuff. Things like Debt Elimination Techniques and Speed Spanish, each for $155. Kingsborough Community College has gems like How to buy foreclosed properties, for $75 (though it does come with the disclaimer that the class doesn’t guarantee success) and sculpting for beginners, for $100.

3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Ave., Williamsburg
Arts classes galore. Membership packages include access to their media lab, wood and metal shop, photo studio, and a free bike!  Build your own klapper (as in the clap-on clap-off light switch) for $100, plus $45 for materials. Make a solar-powered battery charger that turns into a LED lamp at night for $65—with a $25 materials fee, and more.

NYC Resistor, 397 Bridge St., Downtown
If the electronics projects at 3rd Ward somehow aren’t geeky enough for you, NYC Resistor’s classes surely will be. The hacker collective’s course offerings include introductions to algorithms, electronics and computer processors. In one upcoming workshop, participants will make door plaques with lasers. Classes are generally under $100 and usually closer to $50.


The Brooklyn Kitchen 616 Lorimer St., Williamsburg
Forget boring old classes about how to get the most from your roast, and bring on the “Pig Butchering Class” for $80; everything you ever wanted to know about beer yeast for $50, and something intriguingly called “Cooking Up Bad Ideas,” featuring recipes they don’t teach you in culinary school, or anywhere else sane people teach things, for $75.

BrooklynBrainery, Gowanus Studio Space, 166 7th St.
This is one of those offbeat experimental joints featuring oddball classes like “Looking at Things” and “Meat!,” but what have you got to lose other than $25? We all could probably learn something from a class about perfumes, which promises the wearing of blindfolds. Which brings us to…

Babeland, 462 Bergen St., Park Slope
The ultimate adult-ed emporium has all sorts of fun things like the upcoming “G-spot delights” for $35, along with “Sex During and After Pregnancy” and “Babeland Brunch: Spanking.”

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights
A whole slew of plant-related and other crafty, designy classes starting throughout the next two months. Jump on the rooftop gardening bandwagon for $64, or learn how to plant with no space at all with “Designing a Brownstone Garden” ($122 for three classes). You can even learn how to grow wine grapes in your own backyard.

Adult Education, Union Hall, 702 Union St., Park Slope
The subtitle for this one is “a useless lecture series,” but the monthly themed lectures are more along the lines of “things you hadn’t thought to ask for help with.” This past Tuesday was titled  “Stage and Screen,” and it included tutorials on “Conquering the Commercial Audition” and “How to Identify the Great Stout Men of Hollywood.” $5 cover.

Brooklyn Table Tennis Club, 1100 Coney Island Ave., Midwood
For anyone say, slightly lacking in the athleticism area, the lobs and spins of table tennis can be a great way to humble your sportier of friends. The Brooklyn club hosts a league, runs tournaments, sells supplies and offers private in-house lessons. For $30 to $45 an hour, you can learn the sport from scratch or fine-tune your backspin with a former USSR champion.

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, 58 Seventh Ave., Park Slope
Learn the viola, even if you thought it was too late. The conservatory offers semester-long private lessons on piano; classic guitar; orchestral, band, jazz and world instruments; and in voice. And you’ll get to perform at least once a semester. $660 to $1,125 for 15 weeks (maybe you’ve been saving for this one?).

Bang! The Drum School, 290 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
If you just want to Meg White it up a bit, then maybe the deals at Bang! are for you. They just teach drumming, all day, all the time. An hour-long drum lesson is $50, but if you are committed enough to buy four lessons at once, the fifth is free. And if you’re really committed you can buy 10 lessons and get five free. 


  1. danielle

    Not in Brooklyn, but classes LaGuardia Community College in LIC Queens are affordable. I completed 25 credits in basic science in 2007 and firmly believe that it changed my life, or at least got me going on something I had been meaning to do for a long time. Though the classes range from amazing and challenging (the Human Biology series) to terrible (Intro to Nutrition, this is probably teacher dependent), my time there was a productive, inexpensive way to get going on a career change without shelling out $600/credit. The semester is also structured so you can get things done quickly – two short 6 week and two long 12 week semesters per year.

  2. hannah

    3rd ward is great, and had good experiences with nycresistor. very nice people at both places. proteus gowanus doesn’t have regular classes but when they do, they are super cheap, like $5-10.

  3. Dave F

    I received a flyer from NYC College of Technology on Adams St in Downtown Brooklyn. I can’t vouch for the school, but I will be taking a few classes in home repair and cooking/nutrition. Here are some classes listed:

    Learning to Salsa 1: 20 hours for $200 per couple

    Beginning Spanish 1: 40 hrs $325

    Entrepreneurship 2 hrs $65

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