Life Lessons, Learned In Westchester (At Any Age)
Curious-on-Hudson taps into the local brain pool and offers informal, crowd-sourced classes you’ll actually want to take.
Colin Dubilier discovers a crab on the Hudson River waterfront during an Aquanauts class.
So you want to take up knitting, or start an organic garden, or learn how to cook with Indian spices. Chances are there are people in the county who know how to do it already—why don’t you just learn from them? That’s the case with Curious-on-Hudson (145 Palisade St, Ste 412B, Dobbs Ferry 914-412-8393; www.curiousonhudson.com), which offers informal classes in a loft space in a historic building on the Hudson River.
Irvington resident Adele Falco, who got the idea from seeing similar organizations in other cities, founded Curious-on-Hudson. “They are centers of education and enrichment, but they’re done in a social context, rather an institutional context,” she says. “They’re more about people getting together to learn new things in an informal way, but the teaching is high-quality. I live in the Rivertowns, and I thought, ‘Gosh, there’s a lot of intellectual capital up here; we should be capitalizing on our own resources.’”
Floral designer Noreen Enright instructs a class on tulip arrangement.
Classes are offered for adults and kids, and include everything from ukulele lessons to discussions about spirituality and mental health. Each course is designed so you can drop in for a single session ($25 for a single ukulele class, for example), or return a few times with a discount ($100 for a pack of five ukulele sessions or $180 for 10). “I was a working person and a parent, and I would think, ‘I’d love to sign up for that, but I know I can’t make it on six Tuesdays,’” Falco says, adding that she wouldn’t want a big time commitment to be a barrier for someone trying something new. And, if you have an idea for a something you want to learn and don’t see it on the schedule, you can ask for it; courses in fermentation, language immersion, and digital photography started as student suggestions.
Starting this fall, Curious-on-Hudson will be offering “electives,” or micro-courses taught by noted scholars. “It’ll be as if you just wandered the halls of your college and could pop in and hear a great professor talk about something,” Falco says. For kids, they’re taking cues from the maker movement and are planning hands-on, techie classes. (Keep an eye out for an Oktoberfest music and beer class, too.)
Curious-on-Hudson doesn’t just want to be a classroom—it strives to be a knowledge hub. There’s an on-site bookstore for new and used books, many of them how-tos for curious people. There’s a music series, which moves to the loft’s outdoor terrace in summer, and they host activity-based birthday parties for kids. There’s even a class on overcoming writer’s block, which one editor on this staff has bookmarked in case of emergency.