Given that this Saturday is Valentine’s Day, it’s only fitting that we dedicate this week’s Undiscovered New York to a closer look at some of the city’s most amorous locations.
At first sight New York (especially in February) can seem a vast, cold and lonely place. But this initial impression held by many visitors is an oversimplification. Delve beneath the “hard” exterior of pushy, fast moving New Yorkers and you’ll discover a city of warmth and surprises that spring from just about every corner. In other words, New York is the perfect place to explore and uncover with that “special someone.”
But once you’ve taken the carriage ride around Central Park and been to the observation deck of the Empire State Building for your Sleepless in Seattle moment (I swear, I’ve never seen it), what else is there do? A city this big is bound to have dark corners, fabulous panoramic views, and hidden activities where you and that special someone can spend some quality time alone, right? And what about the staunchly single? What’s there to do that’s not overly cheesy and romantic? Step inside Undiscovered New York’s guide to “Romance” in the Big Apple, plus a special guide for the “proudly unattached” at the end of today’s post.
Drinking the Night Away
New Yorkers are the first to admit – nothing loosens the tongue and warms the heart better than a good alcoholic beverage. And befitting a city of its size and scope, New York has some astoundingly good candle-lit cocktail lounges where you can sip an artfully crafted beverage with the one you love. Here’s three of our favorites:
- Angel’s Share – inside an unassuming Japanese restaurant in the East Village, up a flight of stairs, through a huge throng of tables and past a side door is Angel’s Share. This Japanese cocktail lounge, which specializes in artfully crafted cocktails made from scratch with fresh ingredients, practically guarantees you a romantic night out. If it’s not too crowded make sure to ask for a table near the windows to watch the symphony of life pass by below.
- Temple Bar – perfectly hidden on busy Lafayette Street, Temple Bar beckons visitors inside with a sumptuous wood paneled interior and lush, moody lighting. Though not particularly well announced outside (the only clue giving it away is a metal lizard and tiny sign), the interior and bar’s expertly blended drinks seem to speak for themselves (and for your date).
- Apotheke – down a non-descript sidestreet in Chinatown behind a inconspicuous door lies Apotheke, a parlor of artfully blended cocktails arranged around an antique drug store theme. Apotheke seems to carry the cure for whatever might ail you – behind the bar sit hundreds of bottles special blended herbal concotions and flavor-infused liquors, perfect for that totally unique cocktail and that totally unique Valentine’s Day.
Taking in the View
Nothing better embodies the unique feeling of a “New York moment” better than its many panoramic vistas. Whether viewing the city laid out from atop one of its many skyscrapers or confronting it head-on from the perspective of one of the many sweeping harborside views, you’re sure to be confronted with a scene that both inspires and delights. Here’s where you can do it best:
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade – one of the most stunning views in all of Manhattan can only be seen from Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This stunning walkway runs along the Brooklyn waterfront, affording visitors with amazing views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. It has to be seen to be believed.
- The Rainbow Room – high atop New York’s famous Rockefeller Center sits one of the more amazing vistas of New York at the Rainbow Room. Sure, the drink prices are ridiculous. Yeah, the music might be cheesy. And yes, the property’s future might be in danger. But you know what? When you see that vista of all of downtown New York laid out before you, glittering in the twilight, it can make up for a multitude of sins.
- Staten Island Ferry – 25 minute trip to Staten Island, one of New York’s least visited areas? Free. 2 bottles of Corona beer? $6. An amazing, trip around New York Harbor? Priceless.
Sure, February 14th is supposed to be all about love. But those of us not so lucky to be partnered or still feverishly pursuing that special someone might feel a bit left out so far. Here’s a few unique New York activities for non-believers and lovebirds alike:
- Chelsea Flower District – along a short two block stretch of West 28th Street is the Chelsea Flower District, New York’s principal business area for the wholesaling of floral and fake floral products. Nothing better embodies the gritty industrial charm and symbolic weirdness of Valentine’s Day than a visit to this odd street. Stop by early any morning (6-8am) and you’ll be confronted by huge bouquets of exotic flowers, the manic activity of shop workers and the rusted facades of fading floral shop storefronts. It’s a fun commentary on the meaning of romance and an interesting sidetrip if you’re looking for something different.
- Museum of Sex – everyone might say Valentine’s Day is about love. But let’s face it, New Yorkers like to get to the point – it’s really about sex. And what better way to explore your carnal desires (or lack thereof) than a visit to New York’s Museum of Sex? The museum’s permanent collection houses over 15,000 “sex artifacts” including everything from art to photography to clothing and costumes as well as an extensive “multimedia library” (euphemism anyone?) of sexually related material. Perfect for partners and perverts alike.