Big Apple Proposal
February 2, 2007 11:58 AM   Subscribe

After asking this, and this, I am headed to NYC to pop the question under the guise of a shopping trip. She doesn't have a clue! She suggested the trip, and I thought it would be a perfect time and place to do it. I know what I am going to do and say, I just don't know where to do it. Where should I pop the question in New York City in the wintertime. Because I don't want to tip her off, and because the weather being what it is, I need spontaneous options that are both inside and outside venues. It can be amongst the public, but I wouldn't want it to be a spectacle. Examples would be the skating rink at Central Park or glancing at a piece of art at the Met. I do not want to do it over dinner. I am looking for spectacular indoor and outdoor venues that will not require reservations, long lines, or the possibility of going pear-shaped. Help me compliment my proposal with a spectacular backdrop in NYC.
posted by jasondigitized to Human Relations (46 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Top of the Empire State Building maybe?

I say just have the ring ready the whole time, and when something funny or bizarre or beautiful or magical happens, just whip it out.
posted by bink at 12:06 PM on February 2, 2007

It can be amongst the public, but I wouldn't want it to be a spectacle.

People = Spectacle. There are people everywhere. Welcome to the big city! Proposing at the skating rink? Spectacle. Proposing at the Met? Possible spectacle, depending on how many people are around.

On preview: Top of the Empire State Building? Spectacle.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:08 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I say this to encourage you to rethink your thoughts on the spectacle angle, because it's winter and unless you want to propose outside somewhere in the freezing cold, there will be people and the potential for spectacle everywhere you go.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:09 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What I meant by spectacle or lack therof, is that you could propose in the middle of Times Square amongst thousands and no one would notice. You could propose in a quiet restaurant and everyone will notice. Just because your amongst hundreds of people doesn't mean you create a spectacle. If some people notice, so what, I just don't want the record to stop playing.......

And Stynxno, I am not sure if you need your hand held, but if you do, I'll be there for you buddy.
posted by jasondigitized at 12:20 PM on February 2, 2007

I know what I am going to do and say, I just don't know where to do it.

Maybe if you tell us some of the details people can come up with better suggestions?

Do you have preference of proposing during the day? At night?

Also: best wishes to you and the girl!
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:22 PM on February 2, 2007

I wasn't sure what your definition of "spectacle" was- at a place like the skating rink, or the Empire State Building, there will be a lot of tourists, and they will stop what they are doing, and scream, and ooo and ahhhh, and want to talk to you if they see you get down on one knee. If you were just to going to ask her and slyly put the ring on her finger, you might be OK. In general, I would say- the less tourists, the less of a spectacle you will cause. Just something to think about.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok, with that said, Where is a spectacular backdrop to propose where people will mind their own business? If your city cannot accomodate me, I will wait to get back to Bermuda and do it here ;)
posted by jasondigitized at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2007

Brooklyn Promenade might be pretty empty. Or the Staten Island ferry. I look forward to the inevitable wedding, honeymoon, baby, affair, conseling, and divorce questions.
posted by dame at 12:31 PM on February 2, 2007 [7 favorites]

Best answer: The Met has a beautiful room that I believe is part of the American Wing. It has stained glass, and greenery and statues, but most importantly benches. It's my favorite room in the museum, and we always stop and take a rest there. And in the many years we've been going there, we've seen three proposals, the gal on the bench and the guy on one knee. All very private and discrete - I've never seen anyone go crazy touristy spectacle or anything.

Congratulations, btw!
posted by librarianamy at 12:33 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Help me compliment my proposal with a spectacular backdrop in NYC.

What about NYC as your backdrop? Take the ferry over to Hoboken / Weehauken and take a walk on the waterfront one evening. There are some beautiful boardwalk-type sidewalks lining the river and the view can't be beat.

But if you want to do it on the island, I would say just a random spot in Central Park - take a walk and just stop at some point when there's no one around. You'll know the right spot when you see it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:33 PM on February 2, 2007

I have to say, I think bink has the right idea, keep it with you and a moment is sure to come up. I've never been to NYC so I can't give you any ideas, but keep us posted on what she says!
posted by ForeverDcember at 12:35 PM on February 2, 2007

I would just keep your eyes peeled for a nice bench near a waterfront somewhere. Tell her you need to sit down for a second. Sit down together and take in the view. Put your arm around her and ask her where she would like to go next.

As she ponders this, slyly take out the ring box. As she answers your question look into her eyes and tell her you've been together for a long time and then just say whatever comes naturally.
posted by parallax7d at 12:35 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I would lean toward an indoor venue because outdoors in New York is always noisy unless the temperature is hideously frigid. Neither clamor nor cold is conducive to a romantic moment. The top of the Empire State Building would be right out: even in spring and fall, it's bone-chilling up there: I hate to think what it's like in February. (Besides, if it's windy, you wouldn't be allowed on the open-air observation deck anyway.)

How about the Museum of Natural History, specifically the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems on the first floor. While she's distratcted by looking at the Koh-i-Noor or whatever, you slip out the engagment ring and say casually, "Yeah, that's nice, but what do you think of this diamond?" Assuming she has a romantic-comedy bone in her body, this will be a moment she will never forget.
posted by La Cieca at 12:37 PM on February 2, 2007 [5 favorites]

If it's not raining or snowing, the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge, with Manhattan as a backdrop.

Then you can walk to Grimaldis and get a pizza :)
posted by gaspode at 12:38 PM on February 2, 2007

There's this neat hallway in Grand Central station where you can face a corner and the accoustics will carry your voice up the arched ceilgin and down into the opposite corner. You could tell her to stand there, she would'n know what you are talking about but would go along, and you could whisper her the question and when she turns around to see you, drop to one knee. People walking by wouldn't catch on so much.

I took the tour there and it was a real blast.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:39 PM on February 2, 2007 [6 favorites]

The linked page says that it's a popular spot for popping the question... I thought I just came up with it!! :(
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2007

If you're looking for romantic, with a view and possibly fewer tourists this time of year, you can always try The Cloisters. It's dedicated to Medieval art and tapestries. The place is not hard to find, but it is way out of Midtown, so she might wonder what's up unless you're having a museum tour day.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:51 PM on February 2, 2007

I would vote for wandering through Central Park and waiting for a relatively people-free moment. Winter actually works in your favor here.

Gapstow Bridge on the Pond is very romantic. Or, if you want to make sure you don't have an audience, there's always a carriage ride.
posted by timepiece at 12:52 PM on February 2, 2007

I'm not from NYC, but FWIW, pretty much anything you do will be memorable. You're proposing. Whether you do it at the MET or in your hotel room, chances are that for her it'll be the best thing ever.
posted by chunking express at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2007

I immediately thought of the Brooklyn Bridge as well. The walk across from Brooklyn to Manhattan at night is spectacular - though it's certain to be cold and windy in February. But imagine if you proposed halfway across, how you would be floating on air for the whole rest of the walk.... it would certainly be unforgettable.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:58 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

You could do the whole carriage-ride-in-Central-Park thing. If you're worried about tipping her off, just say it's something you want her to experience, and what better trip than this one?
posted by parilous at 1:05 PM on February 2, 2007

Come to my neighborhood just south of the Brooklyn Bridge for the wonder that is the Brooklyn Promenade. Some tourists, but not that many. You can see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. And then its ten minutes to Grimaldi's.

Some images from the promenade
posted by Bookhouse at 1:21 PM on February 2, 2007

If it's outdoors in NYC in the wintertime, she will resent you forever if you make her take off her gloves to accept some dumb ring. I would suggest an indoors venue.
posted by nowonmai at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2007

I would go with the walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:33 PM on February 2, 2007

This is more than you asked for, but this couple (short video)had a completely unauthorized, sneak wedding inside the Metropolitan Museum.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:10 PM on February 2, 2007

Even if you weren't the first one to think of it, Ambrosia Voyeur, its still a fantastic recommendation.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:11 PM on February 2, 2007

Ha, I just saw this: What I meant by spectacle or lack therof, is that you could propose in the middle of Times Square amongst thousands and no one would notice

If you get down on one knee in Times Square, prepare for a complete mob scene. Unless it's an extra cold day, or it's the middle of the night. Then it might work.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:26 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Cloisters -- a truly magical and remarkable place -- a mere subway ride to the top of the Island and the beauty and romance of Medieval Europe awaits in Manhatten. Setting is wonderful and romantic.
posted by peace_love_hope at 4:10 PM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

found myself recently with a friend from a bygone era on the rooftop terrace of the metropolitan museum (no lines to get in, you just need to find the right staircase/elevator).
the skyline+central park backdrop was spectacular, the silence surreal - there were very few people milling about, most romantically minding their business. (there's even a little café)
though she's married and we hadn't seen each other for twenty years - i almost proposed to her on the spot.
posted by progosk at 4:23 PM on February 2, 2007

I agree with librarianamy. There are wonderful little rooms scattered all through the Met that are done completely in the style of whatever area you're in. You could propose in an Egyptian temple (although that one probably will be the most tourist-filled), a room from the Ottoman period, a Japanese reception room, or a Roman bedroom. There are more too. The beauty of this idea is you can just wander the museum at random and propose when you hit on the right combination of location and lack of people.
posted by MsMolly at 4:37 PM on February 2, 2007

If you and she are dog lovers, how about at the Balto statue in Central Park?
posted by jasper411 at 4:42 PM on February 2, 2007

You know your beloved better than we do. Are you sure she will appreciate "I schemed and plotted and discussed this with other people and manipulated you to this spot so that I could surprise you"? I would not appreciate that, and instead would suggest doing the ring thing a day or two before you leave home, making it hopefully a celebration trip with lots of romantic moments. If for some reason she feels now is not the time to commit, you have time to sort things out in private -- much as I enjoy my mental image of you ambushing her on the top of the Empire State Building and her retaliating by pushing you over the edge, prudently grabbing the ring first of course.

Maybe there is a solution along the lines of "Darling, I planned to give this to you on top of the Empire State but I can't wait", with the option to stage a formal proposal there or somewhere of her choice with her as a willing participant without the stress of handling a surprise life-changing decision.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2007

I'm actually for the Empire State Building. You can go up to the oddly tiny 102nd floor for a little bit of extra money, which is never really that busy (it's not very well advertised). I'm sure if you talk to the staff, they may be able to give you some privacy, if you want edit. When I visited in January, it wasn't cold, the view was amazing, and there was just myself, my friend, and two eerily peaceful staff there for about 10 minutes.
posted by armoured-ant at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2007

I've got a different idea for you: Greenacre park. It's got a 25 foot high waterfall in a small park on 51st. between 2nd and 3rd. Google it. It might be cold, but you could bundle up and grab a "spontaneous" bottle of bubbly.

You'd be much less likely to have big crowds or tourists around. And I disagree with Idcoytco - she will appreciate that you gave serious thought to how you proposed instead of doing the ring thing a day or two before you leave home (without the romantic backdrop).

Congrats! Hope it goes smoothly for you...
posted by SciGuy at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2007

-Brooklyn Bridge walk (and a third vote for Grimaldi's at the end, along with chocolates from Jacques Torres in DUMBO!)
-Orchid hothouses at the Brooklyn or Bronx Botanic Gardens (weather be darned!)
-Temple of Dendur at the Met (with a spectacular view of Central Park) and all sorts of hi-toned places to head to for dinner...
-2/3 and 4/5 Transfer platform, Nevins Street subway station (my last time there I was proposed to. No, make that propositioned. Then again, you could cater the event with LifeSavers, salted peanuts and the Post).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 6:43 PM on February 2, 2007

The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History is kind of a magical place. Plus, surrounded by butterflies is a nice way to warm up after a skate or a stroll in Central Park.
posted by mds35 at 7:43 PM on February 2, 2007

Jacques Torres in DUMBO!

I actually meant to add that to my comment for the Brooklyn Bridge walk!
posted by R. Mutt at 7:44 PM on February 2, 2007

I used to work in the Empire State Building and love it, but it's not very romantic and is always overcrowded in tourist areas. A better option? Top of the Rock. 30 Rock at Rockefeller Center has a (usually surprisingly empty) observation deck that's newly been reopened after years of being closed, and it's quite nicely done.

The observation deck is, naturally, open to the elements, but there are a number of areas on the observation level that are indoors with nice views of (among other places) the Empire State Building and Central Park.

There are also plenty of little quiet corners to duck in to at Top of the Rock.

Barring that, the Whisper Gallery in Grand Central Station is a fantastic idea, as Ambrosia Voyeur pointed out. The various bridges and promenades and parks mentioned above are all wonderful places that are going to require you to freeze your ass off for a good amount of time while you walk there and back. Great ideas, all, but not in the winter.

I proposed in Manhattan by giving my now-wife a mango while walking up 2nd Ave. -- these things are only as much of a spectacle as you make them. Good luck!
posted by anildash at 8:13 PM on February 2, 2007

Ambrosia V's suggestion is GREAT idea, but I wonder if she would take a proposal as sincere rather than just think it's you playing around -- because it's such an unusual context. I think eye contact would be important for a moment like this so she can really see you mean it.

I think staying still rather than moving is actually good too, which I think knocks the horse-drawn carriage ride out of the running (aside from simply being distracted by motion or the driver talking, there are the other distracting factors of a carriage ride -- even people who don't go in thinking of it as animal cruelty are known to come out of it feeling concerned or even queasy for the horses).

I think will third The Cloisters. Magical and remarkable indeed (even in winter). And fast to get to on the A train.
posted by allterrainbrain at 11:05 PM on February 2, 2007

I proposed to my wife on Bow Bridge in Central Park, but it was in June, easier with the wind-chill situation. It's a place my wife and I can stroll to that we'll always know will be there.

My brother held a quick impromptu marriage vow ceremony in the tiny below grade park at the east dead end of 57 Street past York Street. It's the park with the bench that Woody Allen sits on for the poster of the movie Manhattan

That "park" (it's only like 60 feet by 60 feet or so) is never crowded, only visited by local residents who wont make a scene, or probably even notice. But again it's outside and out of the way of any point of interest by foot, so a limo or taxi will have to stand by.

As other's have noted, if you want a crowd to gather around and chant, do it in Times Square, then get on the glass elevators of the Marriot on 45th Street and go up to the View, a rotating restaturant. You do need a nice appropriate (but not dressy-dressy) follow-up "go-to" place after the question to celebrate and relax.

Inside, the museums are a good choice; you can always steer her to some area/room she has an interest in.
posted by Kensational at 6:52 AM on February 3, 2007

Honestly, I don't think there's you'll be likely to naturally find any place where more than a few people will notice (much less "chant") in this weather. It's not a movie..... it's nyc in February. I feel you shouldn't make plans based on that hope. I think you'll feel when the moment is right and I think that probably makes more sense than trying to plan very specifically.
posted by allterrainbrain at 9:50 AM on February 3, 2007

I would just note for the record that the Empire State Building has extremely long lines.

I proposed to my wife on the Liberty State Park Pensinsula, which has a great view of downtown. But since I lived right there at the time, it was easy. While that probably wouldn't make sense for you, you might try taking the ferry over to Liberty Island or Ellis Island and popping the question there. They are both great places in and of themselves, and have great views of the city.
posted by saladpants at 11:35 PM on February 3, 2007

If you go up the Empire late at night, you get night time views, and hardly any lines. FWIW, here's my story of a New York engagement.

A friend of mine took the Central Park route - he just took her on one of those horse'n'carriage things and while being wheeled around Central Park, he just whipped out the ring and asked her.

Be warned, if you do something like propose in a fancy place in New York, it's a rather hard thing to live up to afterwards ;-)
posted by badlydubbedboy at 2:23 AM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. She said yes! We went on a stroll through Central Park but it was way to cold. So we went to the Met, and as mentioned above, I knew when the moment was right. Right next to the Englehard Court is the Frank Lloyd Wright room. When we stepped inside, there was not a soul around. The heart started racing, which was my cue................. Thanks again everyone.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:15 AM on February 5, 2007

Auguri e figli maschi!
posted by mds35 at 7:19 AM on February 5, 2007

Woo hoo!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

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