Best Afterschool Programs in NYC All Parents Should Know

Finding a great afterschool program is one of the best things you can do for a kid in the city.

If you don’t believe it, just ask the kids. Of 3,000 New York kids surveyed in 2014, 89 percent said their afterschool programs helped them do at least somewhat better in school, according to the Afterschool Alliance, a national afterschool advocacy group, while 81 percent said they were at least somewhat more interested in school and a whopping 87 percent agreed that their afterschool programs at least somewhat helped them stay out of trouble.

Manhattan offers a world-class variety of afterschool programs for kids of all interests and incomes. Depending on the program you choose, you could watch your child’s interest in general learning bloom in a way that school simply can’t match. Or you can watch their specific talents in sports, music or the arts spring to life and take off.

These are among the best afterschool programs that all NYC parents should know.

Great General Interest Afterschool Programs

The Lower East Side Girls Club offers girls 8 to 23 a broad range of mentor-led programs in fields ranging from the arts to science, social justice and wellness programs. And this isn’t just stodgy classroom and lab work. In 2015, girls in the program repurposed an old Airstream trailer into a recording and broadcast studio — all the better to support the club’s own local radio station. Its beautification projects include work on the community gardens at East 1st Street and Houston. The club has garnered direct support from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. Membership is open to any girl who lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Take a look at some of the great projects the girls are doing on the Lower East Side Girls Club page.

Also accessible to all incomes is The Boys’ Club of New York, where boys from 6 to 21 can get help with schoolwork or a boost in sports, science or the arts. The club runs clubhouses in East Harlem, Queens and the Lower East Side.

Afterschool for Young Kids

The 92nd Street Y on Lexington Avenue serves kids and adults of all ages, but its programs for kids from K-8 are exceptional for the age group.  They include art, music, dance, sports and design that go well beyond the run-of-the-mill. Think metalwork and jewelry, tae kwon do and gymnastics. Transportation and scholarships are available.

Afterschool Athletics

There’s no better place in the world to keep your sports-minded kid busy than Chelsea Piers at 23rd Street and the Hudson. The place offers practice, play and competition in more than 25 sports, including golf. So who said Manhattan is a concrete jungle?

Afterschool Arts

Not every afterschool program is designed to transport your kids physically from their homes. Some are designed to transport their minds. Girls Write Now teams young women with professional mentors in one of the most literary cities in the world. Through frequent workshops and meetings with their mentors, hundreds of girls have been inspired to write publishable poetry, prose and theatrical works. You can see some of their results on

For arts in general, the Lucy Moses School at the Kaufman Music Center on West 67th Street offers incomparable instruction in music, dance and theater for children and teens.

Keep an Eye on NYXT for Great Afterschool Programs

On any given day, more than 630,000 New York children participate in afterschool programs, according to the Afterschool Alliance. But that still leaves more than 580,000 who don’t. If you are shopping for great afterschool programs and ideas that will give your kids opportunities now and in the future, keep your eye on — the NYXT big thing in NYC.


Download the Guide to NYC Community Involvement




NY State Network for Youth Success

CBS Local Best Afterschool Programs in Manhattan

Time Out New York Kids – The Best Afterschool Programs in New York City

Partnership for Afterschool Education

The Boy’s Club of New York

Lucy Moses School at The Kaufman Center

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