12 artsy and offbeat things to do in New York City for Valentine’s Day

February 5, 2018

Whether you’re loved up or flying solo, Valentine’s Day brings a bevy of creative events and exhibitions to New York, with a soiree for every taste. Architecture buffs can spend an exclusive evening at One Barclay with the Art Deco Society; art lovers can go back in time with jazz master Michael Arenella at the art-filled Norwood Club; and urban explorers can tour the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s digester eggs.

Courtesy of ArandaLasch + Marcelo Coelho with Formlabs

1. ArandaLasch, Marcelo Coelho, Window to the Heart
Father Duffy Square, Times Square between 47th and 48th Streets
Through Wednesday, February 28

Every year, the Design Trust for Public Space curates a Valentine heart sculpture for visitors and New Yorkers alike to enjoy. This year’s interactive piece is a 12 foot in diameter Fresnel lens that reflects and distorts the vibrancy of Times Square. Visitors can look through a heart-shaped window at the center or photograph themselves within it, completing the loop between the lens of the eye and the lens of the camera.

2. Art Deco Society of New York’s Annual Valentine Soirée
One Hundred Barclay, 100 Barclay Street
Wednesday, February 7, 6:15pm- 9:00pm

Architecture lovers can celebrate in style, with an exclusive chance to check out the opulent penthouse residence that crowns Ralph Walker’s landmarked One Hundred Barclay. Professional dancers will transport guests back to the days of Art Deco, for a glamorous evening that feels like a blast of Old New York.

Photo via the Merchant’s House Museum

3. Merchant’s House Museum’s Love in the Parlors Valentine’s Day Concert
29 East 4th Street
Wednesday, February 14, 6:00 or 7:00pm

For $50, history buffs can head to the Merchant’s House, the city’s only preserved and intact 19th-century family home, to hear the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society perform “lush, romantic vocal music of the world’s greatest 19th-century composers performed in the Museum’s elegant Greek Revival double parlor.” The main event starts at 7:00pm, but for an extra $25, the hour prior will be filled with a reception in the candlelit 1850s kitchen with hors d’oeuvres and bubbly.


Photo courtesy of Michael Arenella

4. Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra’s Sweetheart Soirée
Norwood, 241 West 14th Street
Saturday, February 10, 9:00pm-1:00am

The wonderful Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra harken the Jazz Age, at the gorgeous private club- Norwood. Spend the evening at this 1847 mansion, which is stacked with carefully curated modern art on every floor. Get ready for dancing, Cupid-inspired drinks, and channeling your inner flapper.

Via New York Botanical Garden

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

Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11, 10:00am-5:00pm

For NYBG’s standard $25 admission, you’ll not only get access to the full grounds but will have the chance to partake in chocolate talks and tastings and have your own personal love poem written by a professional poet. Plus, a special Herbarium Open House will offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the history of plants and romance, looking at aphrodisiacs and love potion folklore. You’ll also learn about “floral love languages, risqué orchids, DIY paper flowers, and more!”

Photo via Wiki Commons

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

* This event is currently sold out

It’ll set you back $125, but for science and astronomy lovers the event will be well worth the ticket price. Start with a cocktail hour in the Cullman Hall of the Universe, complete with open bar, hors d’oeuvres, chocolates, and live music by the Josh Rutner Quartet, and then head into the Hayden Planetarium to hear romantic stories from the ancient past while gazing up at the night sky.

Photo from the Greenpointers Valentine’s Market in 2016, courtesy of Brokelyn

7. Greenpointers’ Winter of Love Valentine’s Market
The Greenpoint Loft, 67 West Street, Brooklyn
Sunday, February 11, 1-7pm

Go back to the 1960s at this groovy Valentine’s market put on by local blog Greenpointers. Check out 60+ vendors, live music, craft beer and mulled hot cider, and a photo booth with a psychedelic flower power-inspired art installation. There will also be free activities such as massages, henna, digital avatar creation, tarot card readings, and nail art.

Via MoMA

8. I’ve Always Loved You, 1946, Directed by Frank Borzage
Films at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street
Wednesday, February 14, 5:00pm

A vintage romance to set the stage before dinner: This gorgeous film by Borage centers around a beautiful young concert pianist, who is torn between her attraction to her arrogant but brilliant maestro and her love for a farm boy she left back home.

Via MCNY, by Filip Wolak

9. I Love New York Evening
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue
Wednesday, February 14, 6:30-8:30pm

Toast your love with a glass of champagne in the rotunda, then head on a special tour centered around the romantic tales of New York City, before checking out the museum’s awesome exhibitions after hours.

Photo via Victoria Belanger/Flickr

10. Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, 329 Greenpoint Avenue
Saturday, February 10
* Please note that all time slots have been filled, but more tours will be offered for Earth Day

If sewage makes your heart go pitter patter, this event is for you. The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s wildly popular (and free!) Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour will teach you all about how these eight 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 also take guests to the top of the eggs for a romantic view of the Manhattan skyline.

Photo courtesy of Luxembourg & Dayan

11. Kiss Off, Group Exhibition
Luxembourg & Dayan, 64 East 77th Street
Friday, February 23, 2018

Carry on the Valentine’s spirit through the whole month! A good old-fashioned smooch is the inspiration for this exhibition, featuring kiss-fueled pieces by some of modern art history’s best. Works by artists like Vito Acconci, Patty Chang, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Joan Miró, Elizabeth Peyton, Francis Picabia, Sigmar Polke, and Andy Warhol will adorn the walls of this beautiful townhouse-cum-art gallery.

Chris Riggs and Lady Pink, courtesy of Melissa McCaig-Welles

12. Some Strange Reaction curated by Melissa McCaig-Welles
212Arts, 240 East 4th Street
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 1, 2018 6pm- 10pm, Closing Reception/ Valentines Day Bash: Wednesday, February 14

40 hand painted vinyl and cover paintings by artists and musicians are for sale at this Valentine’s Day themed art show, featuring artists like Allison Mosshart, Greg LaMarche, Icy & Sot, Lady Pink and Jamie Martinez. Grab a piece of art for your Valentine, then celebrate on V-Day at the closing party!

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