Here are new ideas for group outings, catering, corporate entertaining, gifts, and entertaining summer associates in New York.
1. Eataly's cooking school, La Scuola, now offers private classes for groups up to 20. For a summery activity, Eataly's wine director can lead groups in tasting light red and crisp white wines with seasonal food pairings such as prosciutto and melon. The session includes five to six wines and antipasto pairings. Pricing is $150 per person for a one and a half hour session. Attendees leave with menus, wine tasting notes, and adapted recipes.
2-3. Ice cream sandwiches are a fun treat for a meeting break or picnic. Originally based on the west coast, Coolhaus recently launched a ice cream sandwich truck in New York that is available for events. The sandwiches, which are served in edible wrappers made of potato and soy, can be made from any combination of cookie and ice cream flavors. Options include snickerdoodle and strawberry, ginger molasses and Meyer lemon, and double chocolate with Earl Grey. Event pricing is an hourly all-you-can-eat rate that varies depending on party size and location. The company can also deliver the sandwiches, $4 each, to offices with a minimum order of 25. Melt Bakery also offers ice cream sandwiches in inventive and classic flavor combinations such as the Jackson (mango lassi yogurt and cardamom cookies) and Lilly Koi (passion fruit ice cream and vanilla shortbread). Delivery orders require a minimum purchase of 12 sandwiches, which are $5 each.
4. For corporate summer picnics, Unirec offers Pitch Burst, a new dunk tank-style game where participants hit a target to pop a water-filled balloon over the C.E.O.'s (or whoever's in the hot seat) head. For indoor events, the balloons can be filled with confetti. Pricing starts at $550 and includes staffing, delivery, and set-up.
5. Golf Manhattan lets groups up to 10 take a swing indoors, with PGA Tour simulators. Players use real clubs and balls (which the venue can provide) to hit a specially-designed screen that is 12 feet away. The technology, which uses a specially-designed screen and high-speed digital cameras, shows the ball in virtual flight. Players can hit the ball from a tee, fairway, rough, or green, and can choose from 25 different championship courses from around the world. The facility includes a locker room and lounge; outside catering is available. Pricing for groups varies.
6. A refreshing treat for hot days, the Kelvin Slush truck can make appearances at events to dispense its icy beverages. Flavors, which include spicy ginger and tangy citrus, can be customized with a variety of mix-ins such as fruit purees, fresh herbs, shaved coconut, and other seasonal specials. Pricing for truck appearances varies depending on an event's size. For smaller gatherings, Kelvin also has a portable catering unit that can be set up indoors or outdoors,
7. For an outdoorsy day trip, Zipline Adventure Tours lets gets fly through Catskills forests via a zipline cable. The Mid-Mountain tour, which lasts about three hours, includes a variety of activities including four rope bridges, nine aerial tree platforms, and six ziplines, one of which is 650 feet long and 60 feet high. No experience is necessary but there are some weight restrictions and participants must wear closed-toed shoes. Pricing is $89 per person; group rates are available for parties of 14 or more. The tour is located near Hunter Mountain, about two hours north of Manhattan.
8. Tour company Urban Oyster offers food cart tours where small groups partake in a “strolling lunch” in Midtown or Lower Manhattan, sampling an international buffet and hearing the stories of the food cart proprietors. Guides also share information about the history of the neighborhood, the history of lunch, and the challenges of running these small businesses. Pricing for private tours starts at $300 and covers up to 6 people. Additional guests are $50 a head.
9. Or, for an edgier crowd, Rocks Off Walking Tours offers rock and roll-focused tours of the Lower East Side and East Village. Led by longtime concert promoter Jake Szufnarowski and John Joseph, former member of the hardcore punk band Cro-Mags, the experience includes anecdotes about music history dating back to the late 19th century vaudeville and Yiddish theaters of the Bowery up to the classic and punk rock clubs of the 1970s. Stops may include Charlie Parker's home, the Fillmore East, CBGB, Max's Kansas City, Tompkins Square Park, and Madonna's first New York apartment. Pricing is $25 per person.
10. Take a cultural field trip to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. Opening May 25, “Tracks: Animal Drawings from Noguchi's Travels” is a new exhibition featuring an array of sketches and illustrations. Group tickets are available.