I’ve never forgotten the joy of finding my homemade second grade mailbox (aka slotted shoebox) stuffed with Valentine’s Day cards and SweetHearts Conversation Hearts. Admittedly, it was an easily won popularity as the teacher’s rule was give to one, give to all. I learned to see the kitsch in paper hearts and candy sentiments, but my original enthusiasm for the day never waned.
Now I search for ways to mark the day in proper urban style: Ironic, dressed in black and self-obsessed. Scrolling through my inbox, I see endless local V-day options.
Instead of buying or receiving roses, I’ll adopt a Highline plant in Manhattan. Or shed my pants at Cupid’s Undie Run for charity. With the Naked at the Met Scavenger Hunt, the nude is in the art. Still too cloyingly romantic? In Queens, My Bloody Valentine Haunted Attraction bleeds red with two floors of scary stalking. Brooklyn’s Littlefield hosts a series of hipster events: “It’s Friday and I’m (Not) in Love, ” (a wear black Anti-Valentine’s dance party), “Mortified!” (share your teen-angst memorabilia) and “Tinder Live with Lane Moore” (watch her swipe right in onstage improv).
You name it, there’s a class for it. Teachers around the city are primed to instruct in making heart-shaped chocolates, cakes, soufflés, floral bouquets, lollipops, linoleum prints, and so on. My favorite? “Self-Love Hand Lettering” at Parachute Home, where you make a card to “celebrate the one person most important in your life…you!”
I take a walk to clear my head.
An overflowing Valentine’s window display at the independently owned store, More & More Antiques on Amsterdam Avenue, calls out to me. I realize I can’t complain about national chain stores and shuttered retail fronts ruining the streetscape unless I start to put my money where my mouth is. I wander in and buy a tiny hand-painted figurine with a winsome heart-shaped face. Something about it is slightly off, but it promises to be “All Mine.”
XOXO, Cutie Pie.