New York City
Romantic New York
When planning your next romantic vacation, your ideal destination might be closer than you think. Sharing new experiences is a key component of long-lasting romantic relationships, and good old Manhattan is an island of discovery, where the variety of tastes, sights, and activities are boundless. Here are just a few examples to inspire your next impromptu long weekend or anniversary trip.
Enjoy an emotive evening of slam poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café, where talented poets from all over New York converge to perform original works. Winners of the Wednesday night slam open mic are invited to slam again on Friday night, and Friday night winners have the opportunity to work their way towards a spot in the annual Grand Slam finale. The house D.J. and friendly hosts keep the vibe relaxed and lighthearted in between bursts of intense performances. The crowd is a diverse mix of regulars and first-timers.
East Village: www.nuyorican.org
Spend an afternoon with your sweetheart at the New Museum, a self-described “destination for new art and ideas.” The museum has recently hosted the multi-story Pixel Forest exhibition (until January 15, 2017) by Swedish artist Pipilotti Rist. This exhibit is an immersive journey through incandescent fronds, dreamy underwater scenes, and a series of private booths that invite museum-goers to indulge their curiosity.
Lower East Side: www.newmuseum.org
Treat your loved one to an exhilarating couple’s hammam treatment at the Trump SoHo spa. The treatment is modeled on traditional Moroccan hammam experiences, and is an exciting alternative to the worn-out cliché of a couple’s massage.
You and your honey will lay side by side on an enormous marble slab in a domed, beautifully tiled treatment room, with tiny lights in the ceiling to represent sunlight. The experience begins with the therapists—who are knowledgeable, professional, and highly skilled in their craft—splashing water of gradually increasing temperatures over the clients’ bodies (don’t worry about the water getting too hot, you can ask them to adjust the temperature). The combination of steam in the treatment room and the hot water softens the skin. Next comes a massage, and then the spa therapists energetically exfoliate clients from head to toe with special mitts. This scrubbing is the heart of the hammam experience, and is designed to leave your skin baby soft and smooth. Therapists next apply a moisturizing, detoxifying mask to the skin. While the mask does its work, guests receive a blissful, revitalizing scalp massage. Finally, the couple is doused again with water in ever-cooler temperatures to rinse the skin and close the pores. The final splash of cold water is like a rush of adrenaline.
After the treatment, guests are invited to shower and then recline with hot mint tea in the couple’s lounge. You and your significant other will leave feeling relaxed and invigorated, and your skin will be glowing.
The dining experience at Nobu Fifty Seven has been described by some diners as “sex on a plate.” Despite being around for more than a decade, it’s still one of the best dining experiences in the city. Don’t let the crowded bar scene deter you. Once you scale the steps to the dining room, the roar of conversation decreases to an energetic blur and blends perfectly with the subtle house music to create an effervescent atmosphere. The food is beautifully presented like rare jewels. Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño delivers a satisfyingly spicy kick, while fluke with dried miso offers a salty crunch. The generous portion of seared black cod with miso is perfect for sharing with your partner. Impress your date by requesting an off-menu shooter, which will be specially prepared for you by the chef. Options include spicy raw oyster shooters or sea urchins in sake. Bottoms up!
If you’re prepared to spend a lot of money, you might as well get a unique experience along with your meal. Head to ZZ’s Clam Bar, a tiny and almost hidden destination with a tropical speakeasy vibe. The entrance is almost unmarked, except for a tiny, inconspicuous neon sign on an otherwise blank wall. You’ll have to check in with the mysterious man in a dark three-piece suit. Reservations are required, because there are only four tables. Prepare to cozy up to your neighbors and enjoy the quirky atmosphere, which pairs prohibition and Polynesian elements. A cocktail in a coconut or a giant brass pineapple, served up by the smartly- vested bartender? Yes, please! The menu here consists of raw bar fare, and the music is loungey and swingy, with a pop of paradise, like the time Don Draper went to Hawaii. The drinks and the atmosphere are the unforgettable stars of this show.
Greenwich Village: http://zzsclambar.com
There’s something inherently romantic about Italian food, and Manhattan has infinite choices ranging from cozy kitchens to decadent palazzos. A good middle ground is the classy but casual Bistango restaurant in the stylish Kimberly Hotel. This small, wine-red dining room is the perfect place for a pre-theater meal or a quiet rendezvous. The $23 prix fixe weekday lunch is also one of the best values in the city. On a cold and blustery New York day, the meatballs al forno, served sizzling hot with marinara and mozzarella in a cast iron skillet, is the perfect, hearty appetizer to pave the way for your main course of a crisp and airy flatbread pizza, an excellent pasta dish, or the special of the day. On a warm day, enjoy lunch alfresco with a crisp glass of white wine and a side of people watching.
The best old things about Manhattan never get stale, like a stroll in Central Park or jazz at the Village Vanguard. But the new experiences keep the thrill alive. Leave a comment and let us know: what’s your favorite romantic New York activity?