I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published January 23rd 2011
Paris may be the City of Lights, but it can't hold a candle to New York when it comes to romance. New York is amazing, especially through the eyes of a loved one. And though you might have specific destinations in mind, sometimes it's better to let the city reveal itself in its own way. Discover its subtle messages through impromptu street meetings, the sounds of unique music, a found object, an unexpected garden, or the surprise of a breathtaking view. Love is around every corner, especially if New York City is your muse.
Central Park From the top of Belvedere Castle to the endless, winding Ramble, Central Park is a treasure trove of romantic spots. See Angel of the Waters at Bethesda Terrace in the heart of the park and take shelter under its spectacularly arcaded ceilings and elaborate friezes and ornamentation. Walk hand in hand under a canopy of old American elm trees along the Mall. Enjoy the secluded Shakespeare Garden. Stroll through Strawberry Fields and sit near the Imagine mosaic, a tribute to John Lennon. Finish your visit by horse-drawn carriage, where you can whisper sweet nothings to the rhythmic sound of footfalls.
Lose yourself in the luxurious light-filled Greek and Roman Galleries. Imagine the Medieval era of courtly love as you and your beloved walk among Byzantine art. If the weather permits, capture an aerial view of Central Park from the Rooftop Garden. Enjoy a scrumptious meal at the Balcony Bar while being serenaded by a live string quartet.
The Cloisters The uptown branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is made up of authentic Medieval French and Spanish cloisters and is among Manhattan's most picturesque places. The fact that the Cloisters are situated inside stunning Fort Tryon Park upon granite cliffs is a bonus. You'll be as equally captivated with the vast collection of Medieval art as you will be with the views.
The Museum of Natural History While flirting among the dinosaur bones may not interest you, perhaps pondering our infinite existence at a planetarium show is more awe-inspiring? Either way, there's a lot to see in the wondrous Museum of Natural History—a collection of more than 34 million artifacts. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory and watch as 500 rare and colorful butterflies flutter before your eyes. When you leave, take an evening walk along the museum's perimeter, which is bathed in blue light from the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
The Hudson River Head to South Street Seaport and Battery Park and board a sunset cruise around the island. The NY Water Taxi offers off-season two-for-one deals complete with a champagne toast and cash bar. For something less expensive, consider the Staten Island Ferry, which is completely free. Both rides offer great views of the skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty.
The Top of the Rock Most lists recall the romantic popularity of climbing the Empire State Building, but the equally majestic views that are afforded from the Top of the Rock include the iconic skyscraper that has become the symbol of New York, plus the elevator is more fun.
Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn Bridge Park Entire books are dedicated to New York's most poetic bridge for good reason. The tension in the steel cords that cradle the East River and the story of the Roebling family make it unforgettable. Take the time to walk the promenade and then enjoy the quiet DUMBO neighborhood and lovely Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Walking this nearly two-mile stretch of converted elevated railway in Chelsea affords New Yorkers an entirely new perspective of the neighborhood. Along the way enjoy ample opportunities to sit and relax. Stop by nearby Chelsea Market and get provisions for a spontaneous picnic, or at least some refreshment. The second leg of the park promises to open this spring, which will double it in size.
Grand Central Terminal The majesty of Grand Central Terminal cannot be overstated. From the Whispering Arch in its basement to the lovely Oyster Bar Restaurant, the extraordinary century-old complex remains the jewel of New York City. Surprise your mate with train tickets for another romantic destination, albeit far-flung.