Idlewild’s mission

To help students learn a new language in the most enjoyable, effective and authentic way possible.


About our classes

Idlewild offers 7-week courses in French, Spanish and Italian.

In-person courses are available in Manhattan (617 Hudson St) and Brooklyn (249 Warren St).

Online classes meet on Zoom and can be taken from anywhere in the world.

We offer classes at the beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, high intermediate, and advanced levels.

Click here to learn more about our levels.


Why Idlewild?

Effective. Idlewild will teach you to speak, understand and enjoy studying a language even if you think you can’t learn a language or have been bored with other methods.

Engaging. Idlewild’s classes are fun, practical, and stimulating – with just the right mix of teacher presentation and conversation practice.

Authentic. Our classes and materials feature native speakers using colloquial language in everyday situations. You’ll learn to think in the language, like a native, and not just to translate, like a tourist.

Proven. Our method is based on our own experience teaching group classes for more than a decade in New York City and on the latest research on language acquisition.


About Idlewild

Idlewild was founded in New York in 2008 as a bookstore focusing on travel and international literature.

We began to offer language classes in our bookshop in Manhattan in 2010 and in a second location in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cobble Hill in 2012.

We added online classes in March 2020, the same month we closed our bookshop, and published our first language textbook in 2022.

Our in-person classes are now taken by more than 3000 New Yorkers every year, while our online classes are taken by students in 30 US states and more than a dozen countries.

Idlewild was the original name for New York International Airport, renamed JFK in 1963.



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"Best language classes in New York"
- New York Magazine
"My wonderful teacher Lalo believes that Spanish helps New Yorkers feel "the warmth of the people"
- The New Yorker
“Chatty and conversational” classes taught in a “sunny storefront” by “gregarious native speakers.” “If you need to hold your own at a party in Paris, Idlewild takes the gâteau.”
- New York Magazine
"My weekly French lessons have been a much-needed reprieve from the pandemic and have helped me feel connected to French culture when trip planning isn't an option"
- Condé Nast Traveler