August in the Big Apple has played host to some of the best romantic moments of my 20’s. Afternoon tennis at the US Open followed by skirt steak at Casa Mono, dinner at the bar of Osteria Morini after a Lykke Li concert in Central Park, the cool, damp darkness of Sleep No More on a sweltering 90 degree August night – ahhh, to be young and single in the city. Ain’t so bad.
Of course sultry summer date nights aren’t just for the footloose and fancy free. And although I’ve taken a break from dating this season, here’s a few ideas for when I jump back into the game:
A Blanket, a Ball, and Beers:
The Spot: The grassy knoll at Nelson Rockefeller Park in Tribeca, next to Stuyvesant High School
The Game Plan: Buy a mixed 6-pack of craft beers at Whole Foods, pack some cheese and salami, throw a sheet and a football in a bag and BOOM – romantical day of fun and sun. I like the Nelson Rockefeller park above Battery Park City because it has great views of the Statue of Liberty.
Closing Time: Cocktails and bar snacks at Ward III. Deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates? YES PLEASE.
111 Reade Street
New York, NY 10013
Roast Chicken and a Bottle of Sancerre
The Spot: Home sweet home. Generally reserved for anytime after the 3rd date, staying in and cooking shows you’re a)low-key, B) domestically inclined, and c) down for some solid couch MO time.
The Game Plan: Roast chicken accomplishes many things at once – smells great, low on the labor intensity scale, and universally loved. Ina Garten’s version of the infamous “Engagement Chicken” recipe is hard to beat: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/engagement-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html
Closing Time: Despite Christian Grey’s creepy predilection for “crisp Sancerres,” this is damn good vino. Background-wise I like TV rather than music. Tunes can make it seem like you’re trying too hard. Better to have No Reservations or Man vs. Food to create a fun, conversational atmosphere.
The Spot: Every once in a while I encounter a suitor who lives above 14th. In these instances I like to be accomodating, as uptowners are subjected to travel and disdain by downtowners on a regular basis. A friend recently raved about Jones Wood Foundry, on 76th and 1st Ave. Apparently there’s some decent beer options, and a kickass back patio.
The Game Plan: Jones Wood has a serviceable bar in the front, so drinks are an option if you’re still contemplating whether to sit through an entire meal with your date. They also serve Palm on draft – if you like Belgian beer, Palm is serioso delicious.
Closing Time: I find healthy competition a real aphrodisiac. After dinner head 1 block on 76th to Stumble Inn for a beirut showdown. There’s nothing like beer-soaked ping pong balls and raucous fist-bumping to close out a successful night.
Jones Wood Foundry
401 E. 76th Street
New York, NY 10021