5 New Hands-On Group Activities in New York

By Lisa Cericola February 23, 2011, 9:00 AM EST

Photo: Courtesy of ICC

Here are five new group-friendly classes to get staffers bonding, and trying their hands at something new.

1. The International Culinary Center, home of the French Culinary Institute and the Italian Culinary Academy is offering “Master Class with André Soltner,” a three-hour hands-on session with the James Beard Award-winning chef. Soltner will lead groups in preparing a three-course meal of his favorite French dishes. The class concludes with a one-hour dinner, where everyone dines with the chef. Pricing is $495 per person. Also new at the ICC is fifth-floor event space available for private cooking demos with notable chefs, hands-on interactive classes with ICC faculty, cocktail receptions, wine tastings, as well as private dinners.

2. This month, floral design firm Poppies & Posies opened a studio in Williamsburg, where they offer private classes for groups of as many as 10. Owners Juliet Totten and Sierra Yuan can teach attendees how to make desk-size arrangements using seasonal blooms and produce. The three-hour sessions are $200 per person and include floral clippers, vases, flowers, and refreshments.

3. Astor Center recently debuted “Drinking With the Mad Men,” a class inspired by AMC's '60s TV series, in which attendees learn how to make three classic cocktails: the martini, old-fashioned, and mai tai. The evening begins with a 45-minute welcome reception with hors d'oeuvres and sparkling wine. The class itself lasts about an hour and a half and includes hands-on instruction and tastings. A 45-minute closing reception allows participants to drink their creations, mingle, and eat more hors d'oeuvres. Pricing is $4,000 for as many as 40 guests in the venue's study, or $3,500 for as many as 20 in the kitchen.

4. Bike Build, Chelsea Piers' newest teambuilding program, has groups of 20 to 100 compete in challenges to win bicycle parts, which they then assemble into a working bicycle, with the help of trained assistants. The finished bikes (along with helmets and locks) are donated to children at a local homeless shelter, or the venue can arrange for the children and their parents to attend the event so that the groups can present the bikes to the kids themselves. Pricing generally runs from $185 to $225 per person.

5. Twig Terrariums holds terrarium-making workshops for groups of as many as six in its Brooklyn studio. The company provides all the necessary instruction and supplies, including interesting glass vessels, plants, and tiny figurines to put inside. Classes run about two hours long and pricing starts at $150 per person. Discounts are available for groups.

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