Global language-teaching authority.
(40 W. 51st St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-765-1000)
Combo bookshop and language classroom.
(249 Warren St., nr. Court St., Cobble Hill; 718-403-9600)
Berlitz: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic; others upon request
Idlewild: French, Italian, and Spanish
Berlitz: Language instruction (levels 1 to 9), business communication, leadership training
Idlewild: Beginner and intermediate, “Comics and Conversation”
Berlitz: $250 per month for 90-minute classes
Idlewild: $210 to $285 for ten hourlong classes
Berlitz: Windowless classrooms with dry-erase boards
Idlewild: Sunny storefront with a long table made from a repurposed bowling lane
Berlitz: Patient but demanding native speakers
Idlewild: Gregarious native speakers who stray from the syllabus for quips and “back home” stories
Berlitz: Sink or swim; classes conducted exclusively in the target language from day one
Idlewild: Chatty and conversational; phrases are driven home through Q&A repetition
Berlitz: Suits fresh from the office; multilingual translators; M.B.A. students
Idlewild: Thirtyish Brooklynites brushing up on their semester-abroad skills before vacation
Likelihood You’ll Be Hit On
Berlitz: Low—classes are kept small (three to six students), and English is discouraged
Idlewild: Recently overheard: “How do you say ‘I like your glasses’ in French?”
Winner: If you need to express yourself at work in a foreign country—especially Russia or China—Berlitz remains unchallenged. But if you need to hold your own at a party in Paris, Idlewild takes the gâteau.
Smackdown: Language Schools
From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine