The New York Public Library offers thousands of classes each year on a variety of topics ranging from computer skills to watercolor painting to health and financial seminars. Classes are completely free and some meet for multi-sessions at various locations throughout The Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Some classes fill quickly so early registration is advised. Some classes, such as English for non-native speakers, draw participants by lottery. Check the library’s website for details and current calendar.
Learn Web Design, Writing and Improv
Nobel Desktop, a computer graphics training company offers a varied menu of free introductory courses giving participants a chance to explore topics before taking full-length, fee based classes. The two-hour courses given at Nobel Desktop’s Soho offices cover many web design topics including introduction to website design, using Google to market a business and courses giving an overview on popular design software including Adobe Fireworks and Dreamweaver
Gotham Writers Workshop has been teaching New Yorkers the craft of writing since 1993. Throughout the year, Gotham offers free writing classes at neighborhood bookstores and at several office locations in midtown and lower Manhattan. The one-hour courses are meant to give participants a taste of the methods and quality of their longer paid courses. Each free course gives an overview or addresses a specific aspect of the topic and participants get to do short writing exercises. Free classes can be found in many topics including fiction writing, writing for children, article writing and screenwriting, to name a few.
It doesn’t cost a thing to step out of the box and try some comedy improv at The Magnet Theater, 254 West 29th Street. The improvisational comedy theater and school offers free one-hour classes in improv and musical improv. No experience required but participants must pre-register. Full length fee based course are also available.
Exercise for Free in Manhattan Parks
With the coming of Spring, comes the start of the free exercise classes in Bryant Park. Current offerings include fencing, yoga and Tai Chi. No prior experience is necessary and equipment and mats are provided. For dates and times check the park’s calendar. Bryant Park is located in midtown Manhattan behind the main New York Public Library at 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
On Thursdays starting mid-June and continuing through mid-August, Union Square Park hosts “Fitness in the Square” beginning at 8:00 a.m. and continuing all morning. The yoga and cardio classes take place on the South Plaza and are open to all ages and abilities. Union Square Park is located between 14th and 16th Streets between Broadway and Park Avenue South.
More Free Classes in New York City
From kayaking on the East River to dancing in Chelsea, the possibilities are endless for free learning in NYC. Check the “Events” section on websites for local craft stores or home centers that often offer free workshops for customers.
The quality of instruction at free classes is typically very high since many of these programs are designed to give participants a taste of paid offerings.