Map in your left hand, bag in your right, and an endless world in front of you: you’ve officially arrived in New York City. Great! You can’t wait to start seeing the sights, and you’ve already made notes of everywhere you want to go first.
There’s a problem, though: You don’t have anybody to go to those places with. There’s nothing wrong with exploring solo, but sharing those experiences with some new companions can make them that much better. Where do you meet new people in such a massive place?
You could hop on Tinder or a similar app, but that’ll likely attract a certain type of companion. There are other online spaces where you can make connections, but here’s the thing: there are a lot of people doing things out in the city, and your best bet is to meet them where they are.
“But where are they, exactly?” Great question. It just so happens we’ve got the scoop on where to find your new best friend in the Big Apple.
Take a Class!
Remember how you met your childhood friends? Unless you were doing some other activity, it’s pretty likely to met them at school.
We’re not necessarily suggesting you enroll in community college (although it never hurts), and we’re definitely not suggesting you have to take Biology again to meet people.
What if there’s something else you want to learn, though? Pottery? Painting? Cooking? A few online searches can help you find classes focusing on all sorts of topics across the city.
One of the most well-known institutions to offer those sorts of workshops & courses is called the Brooklyn Brainery.
They describe themselves as a “book club on steroids,” & given the range of their offerings, we consider that a dramatic understatement. We could list off all the classes they offer, but then we’d have to do three more sequels to this piece just to get through it.
Improv comedy? They’ve got it. A rundown of the Punic Wars? They’ve got it. Alternative uses for miso? For whoever’s interested, you better believe they’ve got it.
A wide majority of their classes are available for less than $50, with some even costing around $10. They even host free events if you’re trying to save up & get cultured at the same time.
They have two locations, one in Prospect Heights and another in Park Slope. They also function as a coworking space, which opens up a whole other opportunity to meet people if you’re a professional working remotely.
Maybe all that learning gave you a headache. If you want to find a way to decompress, there are few better ways to go than the ancient art of yoga.
“But those classes are always so expensive & full of snobs,” you’re (rightfully) thinking. But what if I told you there’s a place where those stereotypes don’t apply?
In perhaps one of the most intense cities in the world, Yoga to the People is here to provide you with an inner serenity, regardless of whether you can afford it or not.
Their classes are funded by donations, so you can still drop by for a class if it’s the end of the month & you have everything saved up for rent. Make sure to donate when you can, though, since it’s their primary source of income.
They have classes for all levels of proficiency, too, so beginners & experts alike can take advantage of this unique institution.
Pound Some Brews & Make Some Art!
We’re sure you were planning on ending your Wednesday night with a 6-pack and a coloring book anyway, so you might as well go do it outside.
No, not like that, but maybe somewhere other people are doing it in a more refined way. Interested? Welcome to the Bat Haus’ Drink N’ Draw!
It’s (almost) exactly what it sounds like; all-you-can-drink beer accompanied by the chance to draw a live model for 2 and a half hours.
Now you must be thinking, “Surely this is only reserved for the upper echelon,” but you’d be happily mistaken: you can have this experience for about $10, enough to get you a brunch appetizer at the average Soho restaurant.
They happen every Wednesday, too, and we can’t think of many better things to bring into your weekly routine.
Join a League!
Drank a bit too much beer at the Drink N’ Draw? It wouldn’t hurt to go out on a run or join a gym, but the sidewalks & weight racks aren’t always the best places to meet people. The athletic scene in NYC isn’t all isolated, however, and there are quite a few sports leagues in the city!
There’s a lot to be said about the social potential of being on a team; you unify with a group of people towards a common goal, and you get to run around in the middle of the city while you’re at it.
Unless you’re opposed to the idea of exercise in general, or just don’t have the ability or time, this can be a great way to get to know people outside of a work or school context. Organizations like ZogSports and the N.Y. Urban Professionals Athletic League have more information.
Give Your Time
We mentioned that uniting towards a goal can bring people together; if you’re not too athletic, there are ways you can unite outside of a sports context while benefiting your new home.
Of course, we’re talking about volunteering. Institutions like The Bowery Mission bring on all sorts of young people to do anything from handing out meals & helping organize clothing donations to running programs that help at-risk youth.
The main purpose of these efforts is to better the community, but you might find that doing all of this with groups of like-minded people can lead to some new friendships, as well.
New York City can be really overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel alone while surrounded by thousands. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
If you’re trying to break out of your shell, learn some new things, get active, or help those around you, you’ve got plenty of options. So get on out there, make some new friends, and make some memories while you’re at it.