Note: Some of the venues listed below are no longer open, but the first date advice here is still rock solid and employs a variety of dating skills I’ve honed over the years.
Last night I was out with a very hot woman I met through a friend, and we were hanging out in my old neighborhood – the lower east side of Manhattan.
My how things have changed. It’s such an interesting neighborhood. When I lived there (1994-2000), it underwent a radical change – which continues to this day.
I had wanted to explore the area from Rivington Street to Houston, between Allen and Clinton for some time.
We started out at the Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery, which has an excellent array of cupcakes, teas, coffees etc. It has a small seating area in the front – let’s call it cozy.
I wonder if they will be able to have outdoor seating on the street too (if memory serves, they do have a bench in front). The atmosphere was very “sweet” and simple, definitely friendly – a plus for a neighborhood which has the subtle air of snobbery nowadays.
The only drawback was the service was slow – and the line was very confusing.
In my book, How To Get A Girlfriend, I counsel guys to have a couple of ideas for good first dates. They should be creative, adventurous and…..inexpensive.
I am definitely NOT a proponent for taking women (whom you barely know, by the way) to an expensive restaurant in hopes of impressing them with your taste and $$.
Perhaps eventually this is a good idea (can you afford it??), but initially try to use your imagination.
What we did was have a few cupcakes at SSSB, then we set-out to explore the neighborhood.
At the corner of Rivington & Clinton is a very interesting little cafe called Falai (note: this place is now closed, but it was super warm and intimate).
The look inside was like peering through a window into another world. The street is fairly dirty and unkempt, but the interior of Falai is absolutely pristine.
We did not go inside, but the prices at the cafe were VERY affordable, and the atmosphere was very clean and cozy.
Like most NYC cafes and restaurants, it did appear cramped, but I can’t imagine it would interfere with a stimulating conversation.
Next, we peered into the old Angel Orensanz temple on Norfolk, just south of Houston. Fortunately the doors were unlocked and we could sneak inside.
Being a little mischievous and rebellious is sometimes a good thing – women love adventure.
Inside they feature galleries of photography, sculpture and paintings. They also have performances in the main hall. The interior of the temple is VERY special. It is an old synagogue, with a massive hall as the central space.
See the ideas here?
As you stroll thru the date, you essentially give her a tour of the neighborhood, while hitting some of the local hotspots. Ideally, you’ve spent some time down there before and actually know what you are talking about.
You reveal your adventurous spirit, while also experiencing some great new neighborhood hotspots.
YES – a first date CAN be this simple…simply pick a neighborhood and explore – just be sure to pick an interesting one like the LES of Manhattan!
The last spot we hit was Teany, again on Rivington Street. Teany was apparently opened by Moby and his (ex?)-girlfriend Kelly.
The cafe is, again, small but the teas we had were all very good and fresh (key). We sat outside, and watched the LESers walk past, on their way to and from the local clubs.
The “coolness” was palpable when three rockers spilled out of their cab, drunken, and fell down the stairs into the cafe. They were awarded a seat and tea like the rest of us.
One was on his feet dancing to Squeeze instantly, while Kelly, totally nonchalant, just minded her business and kept working. The staff at Teany is very sweet and kind, as is the overall atmosphere.
This is an ideal spot to end a date – no question.
So, what are the first date ideas at play here?
First, we are exploring a neighborhood which is changing rapidly – and you are LEADING this experience.
Next, you are taking her to places that you know (so, scout out these venues FIRST), which should be charming and interesting – “he has great taste, and he knows all these cool places!”.
Last, not a lot of money will pass through your hands, in case the evening is a dud, or if you find you simply don’t have a helluva lot in common.
To check out my complete list of first date tips check out my “Lucky 7” post right here:
First Date Tips – Stephen Nash’s Lucky 7