If you haven’t yet heard about The Hunger Games, I promise by tomorrow you’ll know all about it, as the movie version of Suzanne Collins’ brutal, entrancing young adult book is pretty much guaranteed to make every kid in the city wish they could use a bow and arrow like the series’ heroine, Katniss Everdeen.
If you wake up Sunday morning with your kid pulling on your toe and asking if they can learn archery (or you just want to learn yourself), there’s pretty much one easy option in New York City for learning the basics of the bow: Queens Archery, on 39th Avenue in Flushing.
I spoke to soon-to-retire owner (and former Columbia University Archery Coach) Al Lizzio about what you need to know before heading out to Queens to thwok a few arrows into a bullseye. (Spoiler: You don’t need to know all that much!)
How much will it cost? “Twenty bucks for all the equipment rental and an hour of shooting,” says Al. “The first time you come in and your rent the equipment” “Once you take the first lesson you’ll know everything you want about archery–including safety. We give you a complete lesson; we’ll teach you everything you ever need to need to know about archery in about 15 minutes; the rest of the hour is practicing.” After the first lesson, it’s $20-an-hour of free shooting, which includes equipment.
Do I need to make an appointment? “Our best times to come in are on Wednesday and Friday nights between 5PM-11PM, Saturday between 10AM-5PM, and on Sundays between 1PM-5PM. Those are the best times. Any other time we have league activities.”
Can I learn how to hunt? “We [cater to] both. Hunting is a seasonal sport. Within a season we’re crowded with hunters, but our main purpose has always been–for the last 55 years–to instruct a potential archer. We’ve been at the location we’re at now for 23 years.”
The National Bowhunter Education Foundation and New York Department of Environmental Conversation offer an introductory bowhunting course for $30, although it’s more geared toward bowhunting after you’ve learned the basics of archery.
How old does my kid have to be to learn archery? “8 years old is the minimum we recommend for coming in. In a group situation, 9 years old is the minimum age we’ve found to have the capability for patience for it.” Groups of 9-12 can rent out the range for $160/hr. Maybe you could organize a Hunger Games birthday party? (Don’t invite me. A dozen kids hopped up on cake and shooting arrows sounds dangerous.)
There is also a NYC Archery Meetup that is on hiatus until the summer. For dabbling, though, it seems hard to beat Queens Archery’s “Show up whenever and give us a $20″ introduction. Happy shooting!
170-20 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11358