The College Guide to Mixing and Mingling in New York City
NEW YORK CITY — You're bound to feel like a kid in a candy store when you arrive in New York. There's an overwhelming number of things to see and do, and if you're just getting your bearings, it may be difficult to find your footing in a social scene. Luckily, opportunities abound to meet new people beyond the dorms through meet-ups, organized sports, arty events and more.
Here are some suggestions:
Ready to dive in and act like a local? Check out these outings, ranging from going to movies on the Hudson River to barbecues on Roosevelt Island or a food-truck picnic at Prospect Park. To avoid trekking out into the city alone, the more than 2,000 members organize groups, and though some might seem a bit touristy like going to a Broadway show or finding Fashion Week events, some will take you off the beaten path, like to Dyckman Street La Marina waterfront restaurant in Inwood or half-off tickets to a performance of "Othello" at the Gallery Players in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
This co-ed pick-up soccer group has teams divided by skill level, and everyone gets a chance to play. Matches are held in Manhattan, Williamsburg and Long Island City. Registration can be done online on a game-by-game basis, or you can sign on as a member. Typically, there are eight games a week, priced from $5 to $10 for two hours of soccer. Brunch and drinks are organized after every game so players can socialize. The group also organizes pizza parties, bowling nights, karaoke and hiking trips.
"Pay-What-You-Wish" Hours and Special Events at Museums
Checking out the stellar shows at New York's museums can made a deep dent in your wallet. But many institutions have certain nights and events where you can "pay-what-you-wish." These evenings tend to be crowded — but that's why they're great opportunities to meet other people.
The Brooklyn Museum's Target First Saturdays draw huge crowds for its free evenings on the first Saturday of the month. "It's very social," museum spokeswoman Sally Williams. "There's live music, sometimes performances, sometimes films, hands-on art making, gallery talks— just a whole range of different things to do." (First Saturdays starts up again in October, with a celebration of Brooklyn Artist Mickalene Thomas and a musical tribute to screen legend Bette Davis.)
The Guggenheim, which has a pay-what-you-wish day every Saturday from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m., hosts a program called "Art After Dark" on a few Fridays a year where the museum opens after hours from 9 p.m. to midnight, allowing museum-goers to enjoy the works set to a background of a playlist selected by an artist or curator. (The next one is Dec. 7, celebrating exhibitions, "Picasso Black and White" and "Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms," set to songs from Cat Power, Massive Attack and Patsy Cline, among others; $18.)
If you’re looking to network professionally in the city while still making friends, NYCreative is an organization that brings together college students and recent graduates to exchange tips and share stories with an eye toward professional development and networking. The group organizes monthly mixers as well as workshops on interviewing and social media use, among other topics. Most events include speakers from well-known companies such as NBCUniversal, LinkedIn, Google and the Guggenheim museum. Workshops are priced at $20 to $25, and mixers cost between $8 and $20.
With more than 9,000 members, meeting new people shouldn’t be a problem at Random Events, which organizes outings for dance classes, trapeze school, fencing and helicopter flying, among others.
There's fun to be had for various prices, whether you're excited about city tours ($10 to $15) or water rafting and paint-balling ($70 to $85). "It pretty much gives you the gamut of prices and a range of events," says the group's main organizer, Will Petz of Flushing. "It gives you a range of people." Members are encouraged to interact and even play ice-breaking games at each activity. Events are open to all and are organized for specific age groups, singles, first-timers and returning members.
Looking for a group to engage in a little mini-golf, or perhaps Quidditch? May be a cardboard fighting tournament? Activities are usually intellectual and often quirky, according to the group’s website. "I am looking for interesting and like-minded people who want to leave the safety of their apartment to meet new people, sans pretension, sans judgment, and sans the word sans," the site states. Whether it’s trips to Queens' Hall of Science, arcade games or water gun fights, this is a group for newbie geeks to New York City.