By Logan Lo
There are hundreds of date spots in Manhattan, but I’ve always enjoyed going out on the Upper West Side.
Of all the potential activities for a date, my favorite by far is a walk in the neighborhood. When I was single, I had several routes that I took with regularity, depending on the person, season, and time, but the promenade on Riverside Park along the Hudson River is hard to beat.
My date and I would meet at the 91st Street Garden (“Hey, did you ever see You’ve Got Mail?”) and walk along the side of the Hudson, down to the edge of Pier 1 just south of 71st Street. Along the way, we might stop off for a drink at the 79th Street Boat Basin or play with the dogs at the 72nd Street Dog Run. Depending on the season, we could even watch people kayak on the river. Ultimately we’d end up at the very tip of Pier 1, far from the noise of New York, but only a few blocks away from everything.
Unfortunately, not every day is clear and trying to get someone to meet up with you to take a walk in the dead of winter isn’t going to work. Not that I didn’t try.
Instead we’d head to Dive 75 on West 75th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. It’s not only one of the best bars in the area, it’s one of the best in the city.
Back when I went to Dive, there were always chocolate and candies provided free on every table, but that seems to have gone away, at least the last time I was there. What hasn’t gone away, though, are two things: relatively quiet music and board games.
Those two items alone make this a great date spot. The former is a must because the whole point of a date at the start of a relationship is to get to know the other person; if music is blasting, there’s not going to be a lot of talking.
As for the latter, the reason why board games are great for dates – at least in a bar –goes to the heart of why games are enjoyable in the first place. Friendly competition can bring out the best, or the worst, in people. In a high-stakes game of Connect Four, you find out pretty quickly if your date knows how to have fun.
Which brings me to my last suggestion for a great date spot that’s quintessentially Upper West Side: The Museum of Natural History. Where else can you ask someone to meet you by a statue of Teddy Roosevelt riding a horse, then walk among the dinosaurs, and explore the entire universe from a theater seat.
Like I said, there are hundreds of places to go on a date in Manhattan. But few of them can beat this ‘hood.
Logan Lo is a blogger living on the Upper West Side (www.loganlo.com) and also the author of a very contemporary book on dating called A Great First Date, which is available February 14, 2014 everywhere ebooks are sold including iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. West Side Rag readers can get a 10% discount if they buy the book for their e-reader here and use the code PY72Z.
Photos by Logan Lo.