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Valentine's Day in New York City

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It's that time of year again, and if the dreaded topic hasn't come up yet, it certainly will soon - what to do for Valentine's Day.

The whole point is to be together, right? So skip the fancy reservations-required dinners and just spend the day close together doing activities that are sure to keep your hand in your loved one's, and won't cost you an arm and a leg.

A lot of skating rinks have a no hand-holding policy (what?), but don't let that discourage you from warming up on the ice with your valentine. Most New York City rinks are still open, but the one at Prospect Park is especially doing it right with a Valentine's Day special. From 10 am to 1 pm, it's half off the admission (not including rentals), so bring that special someone, or the whole gang, and spend the day at the rink.

If you're better on your feet when they're not in skates, bundle up, put mitten in mitten, and take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge this Valentine's Day. It's one of the most romantic places in the city no matter the time of year. Leave from the Manhattan side and, once in Brooklyn, head to Grimaldi's Pizzeria for a well-deserved pie for two. For dessert, Jacque Torres (66 Water St.) has the sweets for your sweet. Or, warm up with some of their signature hot chocolates.

Manhattan is not without it's own beautiful walks, newest among them the High Line. Much-trafficked over the summer, the crowd has died down a bit thanks to the cold, but there isn't anything less to see. The winter months have brought red holly, the prickly-looking American Coneflower, and other horticulture that will make you an amateur photographer for a day. After you've worked up an appetite, head to The Standard Grill (Washington and 13th streets), right under the High Line, for brunch and toast to yourselves with a mimosa.

To channel the real romantic in you, head to the Cloisters, an uptown branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that specializes in medieval art and architecture. The gardens there will also provide some interesting foliage, but the main draw will have to be the unicorn tapestries. Something about the larger-than-life prints screams fairy tale. Better yet, the $20 admission is only suggested, so don't be afraid to be a cheap date.

For a more modern museum date, head to the MoMA for the Tim Burton exhibition. Now, stick with me. Many of his movies may be too gothic or eerie to build the right mood (Michael Keaton in "Beetle Juice" especially), but, seriously, how romantic was "Edward Scissorhands"? If anything, it's sure to make you appreciate all that hand-holding you've been doing that day.
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