Where Oh Where Would My Date Want to Go…?

What’s a good venue for a date? We love complaining about lounges, but is there anywhere better? Personally, I prefer moving. I’m one of those people who often miss the bus because I’d rather walk to the next stop then stand still at the current one. I don’t mind sitting across a teeny tiny table with my legs cramped under my chair lest we accidentally footsie, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. But I understand that not everyone likes walking, especially without prior warning.

I also liked ProfK’s suggestion of a Barnes and Noble Starbucks cafe as a second date destination. I know I mentioned this to my sister and she was repulsed, so clearly it’s not for everyone.

So we all know where we don’t want to date (The Brooklyn Marriott). Question is, if any of us had our druthers, where would we like to be?

Since some folks have pleaded mercy on the guy’s wallet, extra points granted for locations that are free or cheap, in addition to being interesting.


54 thoughts on “Where Oh Where Would My Date Want to Go…?

  1. Okay- I’m from out-of-town, so I don’t know the NY spots. But, there is a website for dating spots: http://www.mikomos.com. It has everything organized by activity, location- created as a wiki- so you can add your favorite places if they aren’t up on their very large list already.

  2. Was your sister repulsed because it wouldn’t thrill her or because she thought it’s a horrible idea in general? I could buy the former but insanely disagree with her if the latter.

    A chief component that was suggested to me years before I even came close to dating was ACTIVITY. If you’re on a date that involves the two of you and a table, then you’re stuck with small talk for conversation unless one of you is bold enough to say “So what do you really think about Obama” or “Do you ever have moments when you doubt the existence of God?” etc.

    On the other hand, if there is an activity – be it browsing books in a bookstore, taking turns at miniature golf, bowling, rowing a boat, ice skating (though that one’s not for me) – then you reap two related benefits: 1) it minimizes uncomfortable silences, as you could be concentrating on setting up your putt or grab the next book and 2) it creates different topics of conversation (esp in a bookstore). It’s less important whether there is walking or not than whether you are doing something.

    Be aware that “activity places” may be a little noisy, however, thus minimizing healthy conversation, so a balance perhaps should be struck. Coffee and then going to feed the ducks or something…

    And going to a hotel lobby might be fun on a later date, when you are already comfortable with each other, and you want to watch other people and guess how far along they are!

    And of course, there is the category of dating ideas on EndTheMadness.

  3. Wow, that website looks very thorough, NMF #7. Fortunately, as a girl, I don’t have to find a place so often. And bad4, thank you for acknowledging that the absolute worst place to date is the Brooklyn Marriot. I used to think I had it written across my forehead to “please take me there!” It was getting ridiculous. BH I haven’t been there in a while.

    I like walking around too… the only problem is that you really have to know that you’ll be walking ahead of time so you can dress accordingly. Walking through Central Park in heels is NOT fun. Nor is walking with heels across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s really impossible, as the heels get stuck between the slats of wood. It was so hard, I just took off my shoes and walked without them… on that date. How many points do I get for THAT? 🙂

  4. Single chickita- I’m a girl too- but it never hurts to know fun places to go date watching 🙂

    Walking in heels almost anywhere isn’t fun…several times on a date I’ve got my heel stuck, (like in the gratings in NYC sidewalks) and then it slips off! Howbout that for an icebreaker…

    Please, could someone tell all the guys out there to warn us about expected activities so we can plan accordingly?

  5. B4S, I’ve been on a couple of dates to the cafes at Barnes and Noble. Based on my own experience and the sense I get from reading some of your posts, it might not be for you – it’s very dangerous because you might be more (or: equally) interested in the books than you are in the person you are there to date. I learned from friends later that normal people going on a date there don’t usually buy books on the dates. (Whoops) Judging from your posts, you might find the temptation too great as well.

  6. Walking in heels almost anywhere isn’t fun…several times on a date I’ve got my heel stuck, (like in the gratings in NYC sidewalks) and then it slips off! Howbout that for an icebreaker…

    Please, could someone tell all the guys out there to warn us about expected activities so we can plan accordingly?

    Yeah, I once made that mistake back when I first started dating. On a second date we went went for a quite a long walk on the Long Beach boardwalk, not realizing my date was wearing high heels. Not a smooth move.

    Which brings me to my main point- if a guy is doing something wrong, like suggesting a walk despite you wearing heals, please say something! If you don’t like fleishing restaurants, speak up! We men only become mindreaders only after we marry you.

  7. My first dates are usually at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks, but I recently took a girl to the Botanical Gardens, which I thought went well. I’ve also done first- or second-dates at museums, of which there are many inexpensive and interesting options. I always let the girl know in advance what my plans are for the date, and sometimes even have her choose from one of two options.

  8. For afternoon dates, I had a date take me to the Central Park reservoir, which we walked around. (In sandals and stockings, so my feet got terribly dusty. Other than that, it was really nice.) Another guy took me on the free ferry to NJ.

    Is Hitters and Hoops still open? Game places are fun — I played laser tag and kept shooting his white shirt that was glowing in the dark. 🙂

    You can walk around or picnic in Prospect Park, too, on afternoon dates — I did that with my husband on our first and last dates. And the beach in the summer — that’s gorgeous at especially at night, sitting on the rocks, or going to Astroland.

    Most nighttime dates were just restaurants, though.

  9. My second date with my husband, we went to the Waldorf Astoria. Yes it is a lounge, but it’s more too. At first we sat drinking diet coke for me and water for him, but then we walked around looking at the closed shops and art all around the main floor of the hotel. Also, there are couches in the front when we wanted to take a rest. In addition, Prime Grill is right around the corner. Yes, it is very expensive, but if you go there just for dessert and a change in venue I don’t think the boy’s wallet will be hit too hard. Battery Park is also nice, both during the day and at night.

  10. We men only become mindreaders only after we marry you.

    Trust me, that’s just not true. Expected to be always, never are… sigh.

  11. >4 comments in and not a straight answer to be found…I’m shocked!!!

    Nu, give one.
    Comment by Ezzie

    Nah, that’s okay…it doesn’t make a difference to me anyway 😎

  12. The best places I got taken to really need a brave and/or extremely selfsecure guy. They were also all post fourth date, when things are a little less formal.

    I’m artsy, so I got taken to Make…a Manhattan upscale version of Our Name is Mudd. It was a really nice place for a date…not too quiet, not too noisy, you ARE sitting across a table from each other and talking, but you’re also doing something that makes silences non-awkward.

    Again with the artsiness, my husband took me to the MoMA for one of the longer dates. The MoMA is better than, say, the Met, because there are virtually no nude people in paintings (I think I might have seen one, in abstract) and you can go pretty dressed and not look out of place (fully made up + heels fits in just fine).

    Though I suppose neither place works for people not as art-obsessed as I am.

  13. Oh, yes, Battery Park and the South Street Seaport are also great places, both for afternoon and night dates. You could also go to the Jewish Museum near Central Park. I think their dining area is kosher.

  14. Yom Tova, it’s the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and yes the cafe there is kosher (I think officially it’s a branch of Abigail’s and under the Kof-K).

    Also, if you’re in the area already, you can go on the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and fun; although it’s more fun if it’s not full dark yet (so you can still see the scenery) and also if it’s not raining or otherwise bad weather. I once got taken on the ferry on a rainy night…not such a good idea.

    There’s also a kosher Subway in the area, as well as Essex on Coney Downtown (both OU, and both open until 8 PM, I believe). Essex is kinda comparable price- and decor-wise to Mr. Broadway in midtown; Subway is more casual, obviously.

    Some people like the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center; I personally was pretty bored, because I wasn’t impressed by a few indoor palm trees (which is what the WG is). It’s basically a different lounge venue.

    I have gone on a few dates at the Central Park Zoo, which is not nearly as big and impressive as the Bronx Zoo but has the advantage of being significantly less expensive. And when you’re done walking around the zoo, you can find a nice bench to sit on and talk, or walk around the park and talk. I have also been on the carousel at Central Park when I stumbled across it on a date one time. It only took about 5 minutes (tops), but it’s a nice, spontaneous thing that was fun. 🙂

  15. Oh sorry, I misread your comment, I thought you were still talking about downtown. You’re right, the Jewish Museum is near Central Park. The Museum of Jewish Heritage is downtown near the other places you were talking about.

  16. I know we’re trying to avoid lounges, but I just want to say that I’ve had some really good dates in lounges – when the guy brings a game. One of the best dates I’ve ever had (“best” implying productive) was playing Apples to Apples (yes, you can improvise and play with 2 people). I really got to know the guy – how he thinks, what genres of information interest him, what he finds funny, etc.

  17. Games sounds good. Nobody has ever brought a game on a lounge date with me. We just sit and talk. They weren’t all unpleasant, but they were dull. Does that make sense? A game would make it interesting, in addition to not unpleasant.

  18. Personally I go for the coffee shop thing on a first date, something a little more casual… and then for the second, something fun like dave & busters etc. By the time the 2 of us know each other, I am ready to go to a hotel lounge – now I have stuff to talk about for so many hours…

  19. As a modern orthodox dude I love going to lounges- because there is nothing like watching other daters and talking about them. I did this twice- went to the Brooklyn Marriott with two different girls and we were laughing so hard- the dates were all wondering what on earth we were doing.


  20. Not a specific place, but go to nyc.gov and type in attractions. This is the New York City website and lists anything and everything of interest in the City. It has the advantage of listing those attractions and events that only occur at certain times of the year or only sporadically. It’s a searchable site and can offer up hundreds of hours of things to do without ever repeating once.

  21. This might sound crazy, but the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is a great afternoon date…

  22. I also HATE lounge dates.
    Also, first dates should NOT exceed three hours!!!
    So I prefer to stay local…for us Brooklynites, Starbucks is nice, or GASP, a cafe on Kings Highway. (So what, someone sees me on a date. So they think I’m getting engaged the next day bec I am on a local date. Then they see someone else and forget about me anyway.)

  23. Have just been on a date tonight… Yes, it was a lounge. A nice one though. And we had a random conversation, it wasn’t very interesting to be honest (apart from the fact that there was something about her I didn’t like). She was more the FBI investigator type -anyway.

    But you really don’t want to take the risk and do something weird on a first date. I mean you don’t know the person – whether she likes books or art or whether she is a good Jewish girl who feels uncomfortable or bored by goyish things like that.
    So what do the Ladies who get all excited about games etc. suggest that a normal boy with no history of getting told off by shadchanim (not that I would ever let them tell me what to do in life, but still, you want to be normal…) should do on a first date without the high risk of being really strange?

  24. Hm. That should have been a bracket not a smiley. I don’t like emoticons, especially on nights after boring dates.

  25. I come from the regular orthodox community where there is protocal. The first date being the most formal and as time goes become more and more casual. Therefore, a lounge is a must for at least the first date. Try the Waldorf Astoria, it has nice art and stores you can skim if you get bored again.

  26. Bad4, I don’t know that I would play a game on a first date. My game-in-lounge dates have been 2nds or 3rds or 4ths. Some games are more revealing (like Apples to Apples), some just let you have fun and interact with each other (Blokus, Set). Either way, it’s fun, quiet, relaxed, relatively inexpensive (especially if the guy gets to use the same game several times 🙂 ), and it can be as short/long/local as you want. And it definitely makes the evening less dull.

    Just a note: Even if you bring a game to a lounge, it doesn’t exempt you from being courteous and offering your date a drink. You’re not yotzei just for planning an activity.

  27. Scattegories is a really popular date game. I’ve heard of people who’ve played Connect-4 and Guess-who on dates, too.

  28. Bronx Zoo — free on Wednesdays and so big there must be something that interests you!
    Staten Island ferry — not much to do but pleasant and free, and near nice parks at both ends (Battery Park especially can be interesting — lots of people trying to do stuff for money…)
    Botanical gardents — but you have to be the types to appreciate it in order for it to be interesting. I’d prefer it as an un-lounge background to a first date.

    Whoever suggested Our Name is Mud — that’s wonderful but it costs a fortune! I wouldn’t do it unless things are really working out 😉 Then you can also string along for another date to pick the things up.

    About the games — how do you play Apples with 2? And I am totally bringing Set along on my next date! (or maybe the 2nd one…) 😀

  29. Hah- I walked around with heels for one of my first few dates- and of course my shoe fell off and I tripped. Twice.

    I love the Starbucks cafe idea. And if you don’t hate lounges, the Marriot Marquis in Manhatten is really beautiful and is not just like a regular lounge. What about Mini-golf? Thats pretty inexpensive anywhere.

    I don’t know. I think no matter what, people will complain. Because first few dates are always a tad awkward.

  30. Some of my favorite past dates:
    1. Starbucks
    2. One guy took me to Toys R US in times square, which is really cute to walk around in. then we picked up a small game and took it to the marriot which is nearby and played
    3. Dave & Busters (NOT on a first, but second is ok)
    4. Lounge on the Roof of the Peninsula Hotel; when it’s nice weather of course, but the view is great(good conversation filler for first date awkward pauses)
    5. Never went, but I’d love to get taken to the zoo
    6. Out for dessert

    not good ideas:
    Bowling: AWKWARD! and not condusive to conversations
    ESPN Zone on a Saturday Night: waaaay too small and crowded
    Long walks when the girl is in heels, or it is raining or cold (it has happened!)

  31. what’s the idea of heels if you can’t walk in them?

    is it such a big deal to wear nice flats??

  32. what’s the idea of heels if you can’t walk in them?

    is it such a big deal to wear nice flats??

    Yes… because that’s an oxymoron. IMHO.

    I’ve noticed that the older you are, the less likely you are to wear heals on dates.


    I would think that getting lost is a great way for a girl to see how a guy performs under pressure – does he become short-tempered, is he willing to admit he was wrong, is he able to humble himself to ask for directions? And ditto for the guy to see how the girl reacts.

    Even if a guy brings directions, it’s easy to miss a turn while carrying on a conversation, although my chavrusa tried to avoid the issue altogether by buying a GPS.

  34. True Josh M, but it’s also quite awkward if it’s a first date…
    And what about if the guy has a GPS and COMPLETELY IGNORES ITS DIRECTIONS???
    (True story)

  35. Yosef –

    I think my sister was repulsed by the idea of spending time with someone browsing bookshelves. Or maybe it seemed unclassy to her. Or maybe it just wasn’t exciting enough. She wasn’t able to explain very well.

  36. what’s the idea of heels if you can’t walk in them?

    is it such a big deal to wear nice flats??

    Yes… because that’s an oxymoron. IMHO.

    I’ve noticed that the older you are, the less likely you are to wear heals on dates.


  37. what’s the idea of heels if you can’t walk in them?

    is it such a big deal to wear nice flats??

    Yes… because that’s an oxymoron. IMHO.

    I’ve noticed that the older you are, the less likely you are to wear heals on dates.

    I reveal my age with every word.

    How embarrassing.


    Even if you wore sneakers that day?

  38. lol, no!

    The truth is I tend to wear sneakers to the gym, and that’s about it.

    Now that you mention it, though, it sounds like a good idea!!

  39. Excuse me, but I do own a pair of nice flats. Until I just got new Shabbos shoes before Pesach (heels), they were my all-purpose Shabbos/date shoes.

    The most frustrating part of getting lost on a date is when the guy is too full of himself to take directions from a girl (yours truly). I’ve been told it’s a big dating no-no to try to give guys directions, but really! If he’s lost cuz he doesn’t know the city, and I live there so I do, what’s the big deal?!

    I’m a fan of games on dates if we’re going to be sitting in one place for awhile. I was also impressed when a guy brought a frisbee on a date in the park and proceeded to try to teach me to throw it. However, I don’t know if most girls would be a fan of that. I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t mind taking the subway on a date cuz I have an unlimited Metrocard. 😛

    By the way, for fans of Make/Our Name Is Mudd, another pottery painting place is Little Shop of Crafts, with locations on both the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. They are also expensive, but their pricing system is different–you only pay for the piece, and there is no additional charge for time. You can even take your piece home with you and come back if you don’t have time to finish! They’re open until 10 on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

  40. I have yet to wear heels on a date, and I don’t plan on it. I wear heels to weddings. That’s it.
    I can’t dress up. I have suits in my closet. They remain unworn.
    Anyway, about getting stuck walking around in heels–obviously that doesn’t apply to me, but this is one reason I think a pre-date phone call is important. This way you can arrange where you’re going, and wear your shoes accordingly. Like if you plan to go to Botanical Gardens, you’ll know not to wear heels. I guess the only date that heels are good for is a lounge date; or Starbucks.

    Apples To Apples is not a bad idea. I once played a game in Starbucks (upstairs) which is the only place I’d feel comfortable doing so. Not on the main floor (esp of a small one) and certainly not in a hotel lobby!!

  41. I think an absolutely brilliant date would be at ……..wait for it………….drum roll……… the supermarket. I’m thinking of Whole Foods, but any upscale store would qualify. You could find out a lot about a person as you cruise the aisles and discuss foods you would NEVER try, foods you can’t resist, crazy prices, cooking failures and successes, nostalgic recipes and childhood memories, etc. At any point you can stop and sit down at the coffee shop. Back in the day, I had a date at Machane Yehuda. There were absolutely no awkward pauses, I learned TONS about my date, and saying shehekeyanu over a fruit I had never tasted before while crowds of shoppers moved around us was one of the most memorable things ever!

  42. whats apples to apples?? you all keep talking about it and all I can picture is a frummi couple bobbing for apples.. i assume thats not what you’re all refering to?!

  43. I’m starting to think a good date would start at the book store, move on to the supermarket, then the dry cleaner’s, maybe Target, and finally home so we could chat while I but away my books, groceries, clothes, and other merchandise before parting ways. Oh wait, that’s just running my errands.

  44. As for games, I have a friend who used to go to the Wintergarden with board games.

    To mm who is from the “regular Orthodox community”: first of all, there is no such thing as the “regular Orthodox community,” and secondly, there is only a protocol if you let yourself be instructed by perceptions. Sure, you don’t want to schedule an all day trip for a first date, but a two-three hour event that is coffee and golf or getting ice cream and then walking in a park can be just as rewarding as a sit-down dinner.

    And as for the sneakers issue: my wife and I wore sneakers on our first date since I took her hiking along the Palisades. Yes, we discussed it in advance so she would know what to wear…

  45. Pingback: Where Do You Want To Go? « Bad for Shidduchim

  46. I’m starting to think a good date would start at the book store, move on to the supermarket, then the dry cleaner’s, maybe Target, and finally home so we could chat while I but away my books, groceries, clothes, and other merchandise before parting ways. Oh wait, that’s just running my errands.

    gr8 post! loving it!

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