Empire State Building
One of the most romantic scenes in “Sleepless in Seattle” took place on top of this iconic building. Come at night, when you can’t help but embrace the glimmering city views -- and each other. The 86th-floor Observatory has an outdoor deck that wraps around the building and the 102nd floor is the highest point in Manhattan. Up the romance ante: A live jazz saxophonist serenades on the 86th floor observatory deck 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
True romantics love places draped in secrecy. One if by Land, Two if by Sea has no name on the door and is nestled on an off-the-beaten-path Greenwich Village street, making it all the more seductive. The place oozes romance with lots of candles, quiet piano music, an historic carriage house setting -- all the ingredients for a tantalizing meal of oysters, beef Wellington and caramel-chocolate cheesecake.
Rooftop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
While not ensconced in secrecy, this place is really not that well-known and that’s part of its allure. For the perfect date, begin by taking in the art in the world-renowned museum. Then, hit the roof. The Rooftop at the Met is a canvas for smooches. You’ll exchange adorations—for each other, as well as the views of Central Park and Manhattan skyline. Sip cocktails at the Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar and toast the sunset views that are reminiscent of one of the museum’s Manets. Bonus: Rooftop sculpture installations rotate each summer.
When New Yorkers want to impress their date, they come here to an elegant hideaway on the mezzanine of Grand Central Terminal. This plush historic bar with a Florentine ceiling and stained glass windows was once the office of the 20th-century tycoon John W. Campbell. The stone fireplace seduces couples to slink into cushy chairs on winter nights or settle into a pair of red bar stools and sip the specialty cocktail, Prohibition Punch. Pinky up!
The lovely 28-acre Wave Hill, tucked in the upper Bronx, woos with rambling gardens and lawns, as well as off-the-beaten-path hiking trails. Pull up a lawn chair and hang out; the lovely views of New Jersey’s Palisades are especially smooch-inducing. The aquatic pond is popular; you’ll spot a toad or two, a reminder for disappointing blind-daters that you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your prince. A café sells sandwiches and drinks and the Wave Hill mansion showcases art exhibits.
Central Park Boathouse
Central Park seduces couples with hidden nooks and crannies, as well as the proposal-worthy Boathouse restaurant located in the heart of the park. Request a lakeside table and order entrees like filet mignon and Scottish salmon. You can also come to sip Manhattans and share a cheese board out on the dock or, when the weather cools, in front of the lounge’s fireplace. In warm weather, come before dusk to hire a gondolier to take you out on the lake or rent your own rowboats.
Grab your valentine and saunter across the Brooklyn Bridge for a fairytale you’ll tell your kids about one day. You’ll see the Statue of Liberty that once embraced couples to these shores and views of Lower Manhattan that makes hearts skip. Stop along the way to cuddle on one of the benches. When you’ve crossed into Brooklyn, stay for dinner at the infatuating River Café located under the bridge. Sip cocktails and feed each other oysters off the $100 prix fixe New American menu (lunch is a la carte); the views of twinkling Manhattan are aphrodisiacal.
So go ahead, let the Big Apple tempt you. Pucker up in the city whose slogan, “I Love New York,” has special meaning for romantics who fall head over stiletto heels with its sights, sounds and tastes.
Laurie Bains Wilson writes often about New York City and is the author of several travel guidebooks, including New York City Made Easy and New York City with Kids.