Classic TV and movie dates
Think the perfect romantic rendezvous exists only in movies and on TV? Make it a reality with one of these pop-culture-inspired outings.
Tue Dec 1 2009
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Grab your indie-rock-lovin' significant other and head downtown for a marathon evening based on the 2008 flick. Start off at Arlene's Grocery (95 Stanton St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts; 212-358-1633, arlenesgrocery.net), where Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) first met, for a preshow beer ($3--$6). Thus fortified, it's time to hit the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St between Bowery and Chrystie St; 212-533-2111, boweryballroom.com); the titular characters searched for publicity-shy rockers Where's Fluffy? here, but in real life you can listen to folkster Elvis Perkins play Friday 4 at 8:30pm ($18, advance $16). After the show, walk north and polish off a plate of pierogi ($9.50) at Veselka (144 Second Ave at 9th St; 212-228-9682, veselka.com), just like the two lovebirds did near the end of the film. But wait, you're not done yet! Hop on the L train at First Avenue, and jump out near Union Pool (484 Union Ave at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-609-0484)—renamed Brooklyn Pool in the film—for a nightcap. Nick and Norah wound up making out at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, but we think it's just fine if you get a little frisky here.
Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) is a Queens girl through and through, so pay homage with a date in her home borough. Begin at Flushing Meadows--Corona Park (111th St to Van Wyck Expwy between Flushing Bay and Grand Central Pkwy, Flushing Meadows, Queens; nycgovparks.org), where Betty and her rich beau, Matt, discussed moving in together. Trace their path by strolling past the Unisphere before taking the 7 train to Jackson Heights. Pop by the small house on 92nd Street near Elmhurst Avenue that's used for the exterior shots of the casa de Suarez (a family actually lives there, so don't gawk for too long), then expand your horizons at Himalayan Yak (72-20 Roosevelt Ave between 72nd and 73rd Sts, Jackson Heights, Queens; 718-779-1119, himalayanyakrestaurant.com), a three-year-old Tibetan eatery that was featured on UB as a date spot for Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius). Though yak tongue (which he mistakenly ordered) is indeed on the menu, you can also sample the butter tea ($1.25 for a cup, $4.99 for a pot) and Bhutan (goat intestines sauted with tomato and onion, $5.99) if you're feeling daring. Come after 9pm on the weekends to hear traditional Nepalese and Hindi music performed by a live band, and don't be afraid to get up and dance—Betty wouldn't be.
Flight of the Conchords
Generally speaking, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement aren't the best at mackin' on the ladies. But in the season-one episode "Girlfriends," the Kiwi cuties successfully bagged two sassy ladies with their poor French in the ditty "Foux du Fafa." To re-create their Gallic jaunt, begin at Fabiane's Cafe & Pastry (142 North 5th St at Bedford Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-9632, fabianescafeandpastry.com), the site of their first meeting. Grab un baguette with butter and jam ($3.50) and a caf au lait ($2.50) to set the mood before heading off to Urban Rustic (236 North 12th St between Driggs and Union Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-9444, urbanrusticnyc.com). At this supermarch you can identify random products en franais (Ananas! ) and grab a quick lunch—try one of the shop's fresh sandwiches (like the Colvin, with roast beef and cheddar cheese; $9). Skip over to Monsignor McGolrick Park (Driggs Ave at Monitor St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; nycgovparks.org) where the gang went for a picnic and bike ride; you and your sweetie can stroll around the Shelter Pavilion, whispering sweet French nothings in each other's ears. End the Conchords-inspired day at East River Bar (97 South 6th St between Bedford Ave and Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-302-0511) to dance the night away underneath a disco ball. Whether or not you wear white bell-bottoms like Bret did is entirely up to you.
How does a sorta-nerdy Brooklyn boy woo an Upper East Side girl? If you're GG's Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), you take her to a nice restaurant. He and Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) hit Upper West Side joint Isabella's (359 Columbus Ave at 77th St; 212-724-2100, brguestrestaurants.com) for their first date (the restaurant was used for exterior shots in that scene). Follow S's lead and order the Maine lobster and shrimp croquettes ($9) and, in lieu of the fictional duck dish, the roasted chicken cassoulet ($17.95)—here's hoping your date can afford more than just a salad. Little did Dan know that what Serena really wanted to do was down brewskies and play pool at a skanky dive bar (because that's how Upper East Side prep-school girls roll). Their date continued at the Hog Pit (37 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave; 212-213-4871, hogpit.com), which recently moved from its original Meatpacking District location (where the episode was actually filmed) to a new space in Chelsea. Challenge your honey at the billiards table ($1.50 per game) as you sip an always-classy Pabst Blue Ribbon ($3). You'll be smooching on the street in no time.
Despite the somewhat pervy plot of the 1979 film (a 42-year-old dating a 17-year-old is weird, even for Woody Allen), the movie remains a quintessential NYC rom-com. Begin your romp at the landmark http://newyork.timeout.com/restaurants/chelsea/3953/empire-dinerEmpire Diner (210 Tenth Ave at 22nd St; 212-243-2736, empire-diner.com), which is featured in the opening credits of the film. Stick with a classic dish: A bagel with lox and cream cheese ($12.50) is as iconic as the city itself. Then head uptown to the Museum of Modern Art (11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-708-9400, moma.org), where Isaac (Woody Allen) begins a coy flirtation with his future love, Mary (Diane Keaton), in the serene Sculpture Gallery. While you're there, wander through "The Erotic Object: Surrealist Sculpture from the Collection," on view through January 4; these sexually and psychologically suggestive pieces—like Meret Oppenheim's fur-lined teacup—would surely win favor with Allen. Cap the day off with a stroll east toward Riverview Terrace (58th St near First Ave), within the tiny community of Sutton Place; the famous scene of Isaac and Mary watching the sun rise over the Queensboro Bridge was filmed in this exact spot. The bench they sat on is no longer there, so bring a blanket if you plan on chatting until the break of dawn.