Call me a hater, because I am one, but I despise what Valentine’s Day does to New York City.
It’s already impossible to get a reservation at certain restaurants throughout the year—hi, Carbone—but on February 14 you are guaranteed to never get a table. (Even the line at Chipotle quadruples.) If you try to walk in anywhere, you risk incurring the laughter of the hostess in just about any eatery around town. And if you do get seated, be prepared to sell an organ to pay for food that’s outlandishly overpriced, even by New York standards.
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Meanwhile, watch out for the Valentine’s Day–themed mantle that envelops every single business for a month beforehand. Want to catch a movie at Nitehawk? You’re bound to the Love series. Craving a drink? Hope you don’t mind the V-Day happy hour! You will dine in all-pink-everything restaurants serving specials made only from organic tomatoes that, when cooked just so with a drizzle of cream, turn into a romantic pink sauce, served before your heart-shaped strawberry cake.
But the most irritating display of corporatized love comes courtesy of the Valentine’s Day section at Duane Reade: a horrifying space that’s like a rundown Tunnel of Love located in a hospital waiting room. It’s enough to make you run home, cuddle under your blanket and fall asleep watching a back-to-back screening of Blue Valentine and The Break-Up until NYC snaps out of it and returns to its normal, cynical self.