A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. ~Ingrid Bergman
There may be no better setting to share one kiss, or many, than New York City. Don't worry about public displays of affection. For the most part, New Yorkers are a hurried bunch who expect nothing and see plenty on any given day. They remain unfazed, even by the most blatant displays. And it would be a shame not to create a little drama of your own by stealing a kiss from a loved one in such a fabled landscape, a place that's appeared so often in films and on television that it has become an icon of requited love for so many. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for the best places to show your affection.
Feeling romantic? Who needs April in Paris when you can spend springtime in New York City? If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the city in May, head to Central Park, awash in blooms from swaths of daffodils to gloriously pale lilac clusters of wisteria in the Conservatory Garden. Hold hands with your beloved as you pass through the Vanderbilt Gate just off Fifth Avenue at 105th St. Whether you stand directly beneath the flowering arch of thick, twisting branches or stroll beneath the alleés of crabapple trees showering blush colored petals, you'll feel as if you've stepped back into the Age of Innocence and the old New York of Edith Wharton and Henry James.
A walk down through the park to the Metropolitan Museum of Artoffers more possibilities for lovers in artful surroundings inspired by the glories of nature. The delicate colors and brushstrokes found in the Impressionist galleries may turn thoughts to things romantic, as might the artfully carved, marble perfection of the sculptures in the new Roman galleries. And the Temple of Dendur, with its carefully reconstructed stone chamber, offers a quiet nook in which to catch a quick kiss before moving on to explore more.
If you are still nostalgic for the romance of times past, head down Fifth Avenue to 44th Street and step into the Algonquin, the oldest operating hotel in the city. The Oak Room, with its low lights, dark paneled walls and shiny grand piano, is the epitome of the classic supper club; home to stellar cabaret talents and their equally stellar fans. Garbo and Hepburn won't have anything on you as you cozy up at a table laid with snowy linens and glittering silver. Clink your crystal and gaze into each other's eyes as the music from acclaimed bands and vocalists encourages you to get even closer.
Speaking of sitting in a cozy tête-à-tête, the French are as well-known for their cuisine as for the art of love, and a quintessential romantic dinner can be had at La Grenouille. Early each morning, flowers arrive by the truckload, ensuring that the entire room is bedecked in blooms, enhancing the decadence of red velvet seating, silk-lined walls and glossy maple ceilings. This is traditional French cuisine at its haute best, so wear your finest threads (or make some time to go shopping!) so you can be sure to look appropriately marvelous when you lean over and plant a sweet one on the lips of your companion.
Should you plan to shop before stepping out for a night on the town, ladies, there may be no better place to shod yourself than at the master's atelier. Manolo Blahnik is oft referred to as the Michelangelo of footwear, and his delicate heels and careful construction ensure that those three-inch stilettos not only look sexy-as-anything but guarantee comfort too. Lovers, take heed: the way to a woman's heart may be through her feet, so tread carefully and keep your eyes peeled for the small storefront just off Fifth Avenue at 54th Street. You are likely to be rewarded with not one, but many, many kisses for your efforts.
If said shopping has you channeling your inner Holly Golightly, walk back over to Fifth Avenue and 57th Street and have a look in Tiffany's window. Croissants in a bag are not required, just a love of all things that sparkle and shine. Those planning to pop the question couldn't find a more apt place to purchase a ring. A Hollywood ending could be the only conclusion to such an excursion complete with a shower of kisses and a chorus of "I do's."
Feel like dancing but not interested in the club scene? In summer you can take a turn at Midsummer Night's Swing. Outdoors and under the stars at the Lincoln Center Plaza - with a backdrop of the large, splashing fountain and live music from salsa to tango and swing - you can dance the night away with your partner. Don't really know how? Never fear: just show up an hour before the music starts and take a lesson from a New York dance instructor. (free with the price of your ticket). As you move to the beat, stop for a second, kiss, and remember, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."
Riding the Staten Island Ferry is perhaps the best way to see the city from the water, and it's free! Take in the sights of lower Manhattan as you glide past Lady Liberty. If you snatch a seat on the upper deck or stand at the bow, you can share a kiss full of salt air and fresh breezes.
First, there was An Affair to Remember, whose pivotal scene took place on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Then there was Sleepless in Seattle, which reprised the scene and capitalized on the romance and happy ending of its predecessor. Take the elevator up to the 86th or the 102nd floors for a sky-scraping heartfelt moment where you can see for miles, if you can pull your lips away.
Finally, and perhaps most fittingly, the last day of December may be the big kiss event of the year. Step into the throng up and down Broadway or Seventh Avenue to ring in the New Year in Times Square. Cast aside every preconceived notion you might have about crowds, New Yorkers, and standing in the cold for hours. This massive party has the mood to match: everyone is genial and willing to talk to strangers and friends as they wait for those special moments right before and after midnight. You'll hear lots of different accents too, as plenty of the three-quarters of a million folks gathered here come from as near as the upper West Side or across the George Washington Bridge and as far as the other side of the globe. It will likely be freezing, but that just gives you an excuse to snuggle closer to the one you love. And when the ball drops and you turn to your special someone to offer a pucker, it will be as if you are the only two people in the world.