Gotham. Metropolis. NYC. The super-dater who chooses this city has great responsibility ahead of him or her. There's never a dull moment and a "date" can happen anywhere; standing on a corner in the east village or sitting next to someone on the subway. Fair warning, there will be trials and you may have to jump a few rooftops before you find your dazzling someone. New Yorkers have to be savvy. It takes the strength and stamina of a superhero to make it here. So come on Batman, let's go find your Batgirl, Robin, Poison Ivy or...whoever it is you’re looking for.
Is NYC the best or worst place to find a mate? Depends on who you ask. My take: you'll never be bored! It will require a little more patience to wade through some of the bullshit. You'll have to be a warrior to keep the disappointments from discouraging you. For every great date you have, it's likely there will be five mediocre to terrible ones. This isn't a city where attachment to specific outcomes will serve you well, because people change as often as new high rises go up and many people don't settle down quickly because....what does that really mean anyway?
The best daters are the ones with nothing to lose. It's freeing to not try so hard to conjure up your next date. Authenticity is always an attractive trait, but it really stands out in a place like NYC where people have to hold on tightly to identity and self worth. The city lends itself to those magic moments that make all the woes that come before them worthwhile. For as many possibilities you have of meeting someone wonderful, there’s an equally endless list of incredible places to take them!
Since I arrange first-dates for a living, I know that choosing a spot to meet someone in NYC is like diving into a black hole. Not because it is void of possibility, but because searching for the perfect option feels overwhelming, omnipotent and unpredictable. You want something quiet, but public, in case you need an escape plan. It should be unique, but not overly trendy to the point that you look like you’re trying too hard. Some place quintessentially NYC but with universal appeal....right? The bad news (read: reality): there is no such thing as a perfect spot. The good news: you can make it perfect by interacting with the environment and your new acquaintance with equally positive intent. Plus, I’ve got a few ideas for locals playing out in the big city to keep up your sleeve.
The Foodie: Japanese tacos and Mexican sushi! Take your tastebuds for a ride, at TakaTaka. This restaurant in SoHo is low-key, cozy, and funky all at once! It’s also close to Chinatown so you can always get cocktails at Apotheke...if you can find it.
The Adventurer: “Psychic in the City” could be the next hit HBO show evidenced by the surplus of soothsayers trying to draw you in as you go about your business. Harness this quirk - it’s a great date idea for two people interested in having fun while trying to figure each other out. Take bets beforehand on what you think they will say about each of you, with the “loser” - the one with the most “incorrect” predictions - on the hook for drinks afterward. You’ll have a lot to talk about.
The Standard: You like your dates like you like a Manhattan cocktail: neat and classic. You can never go wrong with a walk in the park. Any park really, but let's be honest, Central Park is the most iconic choice. Even when it's snowy and cold out, the park still crystallizes into romance supreme. Walk around at twilight and then take your date to the Mandarin Oriental for cocktails… and if all goes well, dinner.
One last note: The Story
"So what's your story?" I heard this all the time when I was dating in New York. I even asked it myself. New Yorkers are inherently storytellers who like to oneup each other over whose subway commute was the worst, or who had the best night ever. Your borough tells a story. Your clothes tell a story. Your gait as you walk down the street tells a story. Your expression on the subway, even. You are a novel comprised of many stories. When it comes to dating, New Yorkers use these stories as clout - so having one is essential. It can render you exciting and unique.
My story of how I got to NYC and have been surviving here is important to me. It's become part of identity, “my story,” and it goes like this: I got married here. I got divorced here. I fell in love with everyone. I fell in love with the pizza boy on my street; a guy who approached me on the subway, and the man who told me I was the most natural woman he'd ever seen. I still fall in love every time I walk down the street. I've lived in other cities and the experiences associated with them just don’t carry the same weight, or the same type of enchantment.
One of the best dates of my life: an amazing dinner, followed by a walk around the city for an hour taking everything in, culminating in a memorable home run at a Brooklyn playground. Only in NYC could you get away with this. Case closed.
Date Wherever You Are,
The Wayfaring Dater