The Pig-Butchering, Tomahawk-Making, Drag-Queen-Partying Experiential Gift Guide

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Send Them Hang Gliding
With Middletown’s Hangar 3, an ultralight aircraft tows your giftee and a gliding instructor in a tandem flier 2,500 to 5,280 feet up in the sky, then releases them. What happens next is something so exhilarating only the birds would understand. From $200. (

Photo: Hugo Genes

Let Them Butcher a Pig
At Mosner Family Brands’ butchery course ($299) at the Hunts Point Cooperative Meat Market, students are schooled in the nose-to-tail breakdown of a pig, but also practice their knife skills on beef, lamb, or veal. (

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Hook Them Up With a Drag Queen
For $500, an outrageous diva from Screaming Queens Entertainment will join your giftee on a whirlwind night of club-hopping, show-tune-singing, office-party-crashing, and other fabulousness. (

Photo: Steve Mack/Getty Images

Show Them the Future
For the Scorpio with Capricorn rising: a $99 seat at the 3 West Club’s January 26 seminar with celebrity astrologist Susan Miller. Considered a cult figure among the fashion set; when Miller told Cynthia Rowley to change the date of her show, she did. (

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Steam Them in a Korean Bathhouse
The megalithic Spa Castle in College Point boasts four heated mineral pools, Hinoki baths, seven themed sauna rooms, and waterfalls galore. Adult day passes start at $35; special treatments—like a caviar facial—are extra. (

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Have Them Stalked
Starting at $550, loudmouthed paparazzi from Celeb 4 a Day will chase a tabloid-addicted friend with cameras, snapping pictures and shouting their name. Take-home souvenirs include a faux gossip magazine featuring their face and a DVD of candids. (

Photo: Yasuko Shiratsuchi

Blow Their Little Minds With Magic
“Vaudeville magician” Cardone regularly performs in Coney Island, on TV, and at the Off Broadway show Monday Night Magic. For $150 an hour, he’ll teach kids 7 and up sleight-of-hand tricks, escapism, mentalism, and ventriloquism. (

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License Them to Burn Rubber
With Monticello Motor Club’s Taste of the Track ($2,000 and up), adrenaline junkies get a personal racing instructor, use of a fast car (Lotus 211, Ferrari 430, etc.), and one-day access to the club’s otherwise private 4.1-mile course upstate. (

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Teach Them to Make Risotto Ai Funghi
Or pappardelle with wild-boar ragú. Maybe some ricotta gnocchi with sausage and fennel? Whatever their starchy fixation, there’s likely a one-off class ($50 to $125) at Eataly’s La Scuola devoted to it, and many of them include recipes. (

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Acquaint Them With Parkour
Kids as young as 5 can run, jump, climb, and catapult their way around an obstacle course with New York Parkour. Overseen by pro-parkourer Exo, the fast-paced sessions take place every Sunday and cost $40 for the under-14 set. (

Photo: Oscar Ouk

Buy Them Bagpiping Lessons
Highland piper Ben Kemper has been squeezing since he was 11 years old—and for $50 an hour, he’ll give private lessons in his Williamsburg apartment. No pipe? No problem. Novices start on a practice chanter, around $65 new. (

Photo: Lori Szilaski

Introduce Them to Bladesmithing
Send weapons geeks to a knife-making workshop in Pine Plains led by Blade magazine editor Joe Szilaski. Two-day intensives start at $400 and cover ivory-carving, steel-engraving, blade-grinding, and, awesomely, tomahawk making. (

Photo: Nick Bruckman

Treat Them to a Private Piano Concert
Juilliard-trained pianist Robert DeGaetano usually performs at Alice Tully and Carnegie Hall, but for $3,500, he’ll tickle his Steinway concert grand for up to eight people in his midtown studio. His repertoire includes Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Gershwin. (

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Set Them Up With a Bespoke Suit-Maker
Shopping off-the-rack hardly constitutes an experience gift. But hiring Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Tailors to custom-design a two- or three-piece suit (from $995) to your giftee’s exact fit and style specifications? It’s the stuff GQ dreams are made of. (

Spatter Them With Sweat
You could get a sports nut Nets tickets or make their first outing at Barclays more unexpected—like ringside seats to the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament on April 18 and 19, a match that has been turning out guys like Floyd Patterson and Emile Griffith since the twenties. Prices TBA. (

Photo: Skip Bolen/WireImage

Turn Them Onto New Music
So hot is the Canadian electro-pop band Purity Ring, Webster Hall had to add a second show—January 12—after the first one sold out. Pitchfork gave the group’s last LP, Shrines, an 8.4 out of 10. Take your giftee to see them now, and you can both say you knew them when. Tickets are $20. (

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Freak Them Out at Then She Fell
An immersive theater piece in the vein of Sleep No More, Third Rail Projects’ Lewis Carroll–inspired work is set in a real-life former hospital in Greenpoint. The sold-out run was recently extended through January 6. Tickets from $95; attendees must be 21 or older. (

Photo: Suran Goonitakle

Match Them With a Master Yogi
Sharmila Desai studied Ashtanga Vinyasa with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, and now leads private lessons for executives and rock stars (Sting and Trudie Styler among them). Private sessions, which are held in the giftee’s home, start at $300. (

Urge Them to Jump Off a Building
Not as crazy as it sounds when they’re taking the two-hour high-fall class ($80) at the Hollywood Stunts training center in Greenpoint. For the full action-hero experience, the school offers weeklong intensives (from $2,200) that cover armed combat, car hits, and more. (

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Challenge Them to Fence
For $170, would-be swordsmen can take three 20-minute private lessons or three 90-minute group classes at the Fencers Club in Chelsea. Equipment rental is $10 to $20 per session, so giftees needn’t invest in pricey safety gear or épées till they’re certain foil play is their new favorite hobby. (

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Spin Them Right Round on the Ones and Twos
Mix masters learn to cut faster—well, cut, period—at Jam Master Jay’s decade-old Scratch D.J. Academy. The six-week D.J.-ing 101 course ($350) covers music theory, equipment setup, scratching and mixing, and the how-tos of programs like Serato and Traktor. (

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Make Them Smell the Roses
Three-hour floral-arranging classes ($350) at the hipper-than-you-think Little Flower School cover such topics as wildflowers, ranunculus and winter citrus, and Iris-centric watercolors. Snacks are gratis, as is the vase students carry home their arrangement in. (

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Turn Them Into Circus Stars
At midtown’s two-month-old Aerial Arts NYC, the circus-enamored will have their choice of silks, rope, trapeze, hoop, and hammock instructionals; on-the-ground offerings deal in acrobatics, juggling, tumbling, and handstands. Drop-in rates start at $25, five-class prepaid cards at $100, and private lessons at $80 per hour. (

Expose Them to Opera
Sexy chamber opera. English composer Thomas Adés’s Powder Her Face, running February 15 to 23 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Fort Greene, was inspired by Margaret “Dirty Duchess” Campbell, whose real-life sex scandal dominated the British tabloids in the early sixties. Tickets are $25 to $250. (

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Toast Them With Old-Fashioned Hooch
Sign up your dearest drinker for Saxon + Parole’s Cocktail Cabinet program, and for $75 a month they’ll be treated to a sixteen-ounce bottled cocktail, hand-mixed by master barman Naren Young. The prebatched libations are stored in an actual curiosity cabinet, your giftee’s name scrawled across a toe-tag label. (

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Put Them to Bed Where the Wild Things Are
Is spending the night at the American Museum of Natural History obvious? Yes. Is there any better present for a kid ages 6 to 13? Probably not. Exploring darkened dioramas by flashlight and falling asleep beneath a 94-foot-long blue whale never gets old. $129 per person. (

The Pig-Butchering, Tomahawk-Making, Drag-Queen-P […]