Well folks, it’s winter in New York City. And not the shiny big tree, holiday lights and getting presents half-of-winter, I mean the post-New-Years-hangover, bitter-January-wind-and-frost half. That’s when work is slow, temperature is low and there aren’t a whole lot of holidays to mark the time. In short, this isn’t the time of year for romance. Or so I thought…
As it turns out, wintertime IS for lovers in NYC, at least when it comes to LUNY’s private tour clients. I recently did a spate of private tours to couples and families that were enjoying different aspect of the marital cycle. First tour was a young man by the name of Gideon (we’re a rare breed) and his lovely wife Clarissa for their two-week long honeymoon in New York!
Gideon and Clarissa were an interesting pair: Mormons from Australia, and true to the stereotype, Gideon and Clarissa didn’t drink alcohol or coffee and were some of the sweetest, nicest, friendliest tourists I have ever met. And in the Mormon faith, they actually got married a little late in life: 25 and 22 years old, respectively.
One key stop on the tour was at Happy Warrior Park (named after the legendary New York Governor Al Smith.) The Park is known among certain circles as Rocksteady Park – in the late 1970’s, the Rocksteady crew from The South Bronx invented the B-boy culture known as break-dancing. If being an Australian Mormon named Gideon wasn’t unique enough, my Oz-boy was also a B-boy who NEEDED to do at least one “freeze” in his personal breakdancing mecca.
One week later, I led another lovely tour, this time for the Jenkins family, 9 in all, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Matriarch Lee-Ann had taken a tour of NYC with my brother Matt only 8 months earlier, and enjoyed it so much that she wanted to bring the whole family along for their winter vacation. However, there was a special activity planned for the trip.
While walking the family over the bridge, I spoke of the legendary union between chief engineer Washington Roebling and his loving, devoted and brilliant wife Emily. Emily took over management and supervision of the bridge after her husband had come down with a crippling case of the bends. With love, patience and unwavering devotion, the two worked together to complete the greatest bridge the world had ever seen. There is no symbol in New York City that greater represents the power of a good marriage than that of the Brooklyn Bridge. (At this point in my Brooklyn Bridge tale, I gave the wink and nod to Lee Ann’s son Blake)
I stepped back and Blake produced a small box from his jacket pocket. He got down on one knee and proposed to his now-fiancee Jess. For the next four hours I got to enjoy touring the Jenkins family through Brooklyn while all floating on a cloud of euphoria after such a happy occasion.
It’s always a joy to be a part of these couples’ marital stories. You know what else is a joy? Having work in the wintertime! In fact, one might even ask “Hey, why is Gideon giving all these private tours? Isn’t Matt around?” As a matter of fact, Matt wasn’t around… he was off on vacation in Mexico with his lovely girlfriend Jenny. Little did I know while I was giving my tour to the Jenkins clan, Jenny and Matt were no longer just boyfriend and girlfriend.
Late one evening on the side of the road in Tulum, after crashing their Vespa (with only minor scrapes) Matt told the love of his life that he couldn’t spend one more day without her being his official partner in life. He then produced a ring and proposed.
So let me wish a MAZEL-TOV the size of the Empire State Building to my brother Matt and my sister-in-law to be Jenny on their engagement!!!!!
Who’d a thought? I guess January is for lovers!
By Gideon Levy