10 alternative Valentine’s Day events for urbanists, historians, and art lovers

February 8, 2017

Roses and chocolate are nice, but why go the traditional route when the city has so much more to offer for Valentine’s Day. Show your significant other, spouse, or best friend how much they mean to you with one of these ten alternative events that 6sqft rounded up throughout the city. From a wastewater treatment plant tour, to after-hours museum visits, to a romantic evening at the planetarium, these are the perfect ideas for urbanists, historians, and art lovers.

Romance at One World Observatory
285 Fulton Street
Friday, February 10th – Sunday, February 19th

The Empire State Building’s observatory has long been the go-to corny proposal spot, but hopeful suitors can now ascend even higher at One World Observatory. The Trade Center is offering three packages for couples to visit the 100th floor, including treats like complimentary champagne and a chocolate truffle dessert.

Brooklyn Historical Society Free Friday with Mad, Dangerous Love ↑
128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn

Friday, February 10, 5:00-9:00pm

Start off Valentine’s week with the more complicated side of love, “from vengeful poisons to demonic lovesick raving.” For its weekly Free Friday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will offer a special programming schedule, including a DIY station to make your own cupid’s arrow and a special display of items from the collection. There are also two lectures–“Hysterically in Love: The Battle Between Medicine and Religion in a 19th Century Parisian Hysteria Ward” and “Romance and Revenge: A History of Aphrodisiacs and Poisons.” You can then finish the evening off with a tasting of Baked‘s famous dark chocolate brownies.

Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects

Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant ↑
329 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn

Friday, February 11, 11am, 1pm, 3pm
* This event is currently sold out

Nothing says love like sewage, which is why the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is bringing back their wildly popular Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour. These eight, futuristic stainless steel-clad vessels process up to 1.5 million gallons of sludge every day, turning the organic material removed from sewage into an organic compound that can be used as fertilizer. The tour will delve into this process and provide a visit to the observation deck atop the eggs, where you’ll get an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline.

Valentine’s Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden ↑
2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx

Friday, February 11 and Saturday, February 12, 10:00am-5:00pm
$20 admission Friday; $25 admission Saturday (additional fees may apply)

Buy the Botanical Garden’s standard All-Garden Pass this weekend and not only will you have access to the full grounds and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory’s tropical rain forests, cactus-filled deserts, and several other curated displays, but you’ll be treated to expert-led chocolate discussions and tastings and the chance to have a professional poet write your very own personal love poem. For an additional cost, there will be a pop-up champagne bar, and the Hudson Garden Grill will feature a special prix fixe menu.

Renew Your Vows in Times Square ↑
Times Square
Tuesday, February 14, 6:00pm

Married New Yorkers looking to re-commit can do so overlooking Times Square’s temporary heart-shaped sculpture called “We Were Strangers Once Too.” Located in Duffy Square, the public art piece is made of 33 rods ringed in red and pink bands to show the number of immigrants from over 100 countries who live in NYC. The Vow Renewal Ceremony takes place on Times Square’s iconic glass Red Steps, and this year, the Times Square Alliance extends a special invitation to couples “whose kisses bridge boundaries, be they religious, political, racial, or national.”

Classic Harbor Line’s Champagne Valentine’s Day Cruise ↑
Chelsea Piers, near 22nd Street
Tuesday, February 14, 6:00pm or 8:15pm
$72 per person

On this 1.75-hour tour aboard the 1920s-style Yacht Manhattan II, you’ll cozy up in the intimate boat’s glassed-in observatory to enjoy 360-degree views of the South Street Seaport, Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty, East River bridges, and parts of the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan skylines. There will be a variety of champagnes available (including a Golden Age cocktail), as well as chocolate-covered strawberries.

A MoMA gallery tour © Carly Gaebe/Steadfast Studio

MoMA After-Hours Valentine’s Day Tours ↑
11 West 53rd Street
Tuesday, February 14, 7:00-8:30pm and 9:00-10:30pm
$225 per couple; $215 per couple for members

After the Museum of Modern Art closes to the public, enjoy a candlelit wine reception (including hors d’oeuvres for the earlier time slot and dessert for the later) followed by a private tour of “From the Collection: 1960–1969,” which looks at the art, media, and culture of the “love, peace, and happiness” era, as well as a look at some of the Museum’s most iconic works such as Henri Matisse’s “Dance (I)” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”

Photo © C. Chesek for AMNH

Romance Under the Stars at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium ↑
Central Park West and 79th Street
Tuesday, February 14, 6:00pm and 9:30pm

$125 per person
* This event is currently sold out

This event, perfect for science lovers, starts with a cocktail hour in the Cullman Hall of the Universe, complete with open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and chocolates, accompanied by the music of the Josh Rutner Quartet. It then moves to the Hayden Planetarium where you’ll hear romantic stories from the ancient past while gazing up at the night sky.

“Starlight” via MCNY

I Heart NY Private Gallery Tour at the Museum of the City of New York ↑
1250 Fifth Avenue
Tuesday, February 14, 7:00-9:00pm
$100 per couple; $85 per couple for members

Take an after-hours tour of MCNY’s latest exhibit “New York at Its Core“–which explores the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World” through the key themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity–to discover “the weird, the cool, the famous, and the infamous sites of romance in this fabled city.” The event also includes a champagne toast under the Museum’s iconic light installation Starlight.

Via Merchant’s House Museum

Merchant’s House Museum’s Love in the Parlors Valentine’s Day Concert ↑
29 East 4th Street
Tuesday, February 14, 7:00-8:15pm
$40 per person; $30 for members

The Merchant’s House is the city’s only preserved and intact 19th-century family home, and for Valentine’s Day you can take a seat in the elegant Greek Revival parlor for a romantic concert from the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society, who will perform “rarely heard gems by Beethoven, Schubert, Steven Foster, Amy Beach, and others.”


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