Calling all budding artists, creators, and makers — and the adults who love them! A fresh new space for creativity, play, and fun has debuted in Long Island City, and it’s not your average arts and crafts joint. With a groovy design, anything-goes class options, and flexible scheduling, Playday NYC is gunning to be your new favorite space to learn and get inspired! Read on to learn more!

photo: Playday NYC

A Dad With a Plan
Architect Greg Okshteyn has designed commercial and residential properties around the globe, and boasts an arts-heavy pedigree: the work of his father, an artist, is part of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s collection, and his mother runs the Bushwick gallery Black & White.

He’s also a longtime, enthusiastic Long Island City resident, and father to two kids, Oscar, 10, and Goldie, six. Not long ago (like, less than six months), inspired by the lack of arts education in the local public school, Okshteyn determined he could help fill in the gap of arts programming in the community. He found a space, signed a lease, recruited staff, and Playday NYC opened its doors January 2.

photo: Playday NYC

A Space of Possibilities
The 1,250-square-foot open space eschews the typical primary-color-heavy aesthetic, opting for clean and modern with a vibrant palette instead. Opposing whiteboard and chalkboard walls offer blank canvases for doodles big and small, and modular furniture makes for flexible seating and set-up as needed. With the arrival of warmer weather, a 1,000 square-foot backyard will provide more room for activities ranging from bubble fun to messier artistic pursuits.

photo: Playday NYC

Have Fun. Be Awesome.
Things are already bustling at Playday NYC, which offers classes and programming for kids ages four to 12, as well as parents with kids three-and-a-half and younger. (The recent snow day found the spot, which offered $12/hour drop-in free play such as LEGOs, chess, art activities, and ping pong,  bustling with activity.)

Current offerings include daily, one-hour classes in the fundamentals of art for kids ages four to seven, and eight and older, featuring a wide range of topics and mediums. (You can check out the full schedule here.)  Playday NYC will also hold “mommy & me” sessions in the morning, during which parents and young ones can bond and learn through activities such as stories, painting, collage, and more.

Okshteyn himself is teaching the all-ages Little Architect and Chess Strategy on Saturday mornings.

All classes are one-hour and drop-off; Snow Day Open Play is from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is drop-off or hang out, if parents want to get in on the creative action.

Rates start at $35 for a single drop-in ($20 if you’re a first-time customer), but bulk packages can be purchased for as many as 30 classes, with increasing discounts the more you buy. Reservations can be made online, and you even get to reserve your seat, a la on an airplane or at the movies. Additionally, all of Playday NYC’s promotional posters include a QR code, which when scanned will take you straight to a registration page.

Haring, Star Wars, Weaving, Oh my!
Okshteyn has recruited some young, bright minds to teach the art classes at Playday NYC, and the sessions are inspired by the expertise and interests of each instructor. The techniques and topics explored range from the work of Keith Haring and shaving cream marbling, to manga/Japanese language, stencil work a la Banksy or to create Star Wars artwork, and much more. (To check out all of the offerings, head to Playday NYC’s Instagram account.)

photo: Playday NYC

Party Arty
Yes, you can host a birthday party at Playday NYC. The two-hour affairs (for kids turning two and up) take place on Saturdays and Sundays and include the host’s choice of art activity, pizza, cake and juice, and 30 minutes of free creative play. Celebrants can also make use of the ping pong table and the backyard.

Themes include mask making, collage, Slime Fun, rock and roll poster making and much more, or a customized activity can be created for your party. Parties include an instructor and party coordinator and start at $550 for 20 people.

Some Nice Extras
Okshteyn’s vision Playday NYC is for it to function as community multicultural, creative activity space where kids are supported in creative endeavors artistic and otherwise. 

He’ll be utilizing his art industry connections to bring working artists to kids, through “Five Minutes of Bragging” Facetime sessions, during which classes can learn about being an artist and ask questions of the featured professional.

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Additionally, an area of the space will feature the work of a professional artist—complete with price tags—to show, as Okshteyn explains, that art, ideas, creativity, have real value.

Other nice touches include the aforementioned ping pong table, and nightclub worthy ADA-accessible bathroom with killer wallpaper.

Playday NYC
5-37 51st Ave.
Hunters Point
917-854-3269
Online: playdaynyc.com

What class would you love to see offered at Playday NYC? Chime in in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor