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Photographs: Hollis Johnson

Meet the Undateables: Orlando and Renée

We're setting up New Yorkers who swear they’re totally undateable, and sending them out on socially distanced dates across the city

By Will Gleason

Why they’re single
Orlando: He has a hard time with trust.
Renée: She works too much.

Ideal date:
Orlando: Walking along the boardwalk on Coney Island
Renée: Meeting up for a cocktail


First impression
Orlando: "She was well put together and well dressed. Very polite. It looked like she was very open and into it. I would say she was definitely focused, open and intelligent.
Renée: "First impression was... I don’t know. I just kind of knew that that’s who he was. He was super easy to talk to. He was very personable, and he asked a lot of questions."

Photograph: Hollis Johnson

Orlando: "I did get the sense that we’re from different worlds, that’s for sure. We just come from different kinds of environments. But honestly, I think personality wise there was some compatibility. So that was kind of cool! We were able to talk pretty easily."
Renée: "There was no chemistry. We talked about work, family, pets, favorite movies, favorite books. We covered the whole gamut. Ninety minutes is a long time for a first date!"

Awkward Moment
Orlando: "Nothing super awkward. When I first got into the booth, I tripped a bit which was awkward. It also got a little quiet toward the end of the night. I was wondering if I should bring up something deeper, we were only talking about lighthearded things, but I decided to keep it lighthearted." 
Renée "There was a couple of awkward moments but the most was that there was a mix-up and he called me by the wrong name at the start of the date."

Photograph: Hollis Johnson

Dystopia Dating Vibes
Orlando: "We spent a lot of time talking about how we both avoid the subway and how things have been more dangerous in the street. Being outside in a booth when it’s cold is weird. Luckily, we had a heater which made it doable. Wearing a mask was weird. Honestly, this was the first date I’d been on since Covid. But it was about as weird as I thought it’d be."
Renée: "I was in full lockdown. I’ve only been out and about in small groups. But the restaurant did a really good job. They have these outdoor pods with heaters in them. For me, the most surreal thing was that I was out with someone I knew nothing about and I haven’t done anything like that since March. 

Orlando: "It’s funny. I took all the leftovers! She said she didn’t mind. I was kind of embarrassed about that, but I had to be real. She was cool about it. We walked to the corner. She got a cab, I was going to my car. We just said goodbye. I think we both knew we weren’t doing much more. It was cold that night, so I could tell she kind of wanted to get into the cab." 
Renée: "He drove. I was going to get a cab. We parked ways. We said it was nice to meet each other and then said goodbye! Just got out." 

Photograph: Hollis Johnson

Verdict [On a scale of five hearts]

Orlando:  "I would give it a three because there was a lot of compatibility, but we’re not gonna keep in touch or anything. Honestly, it was probably a little better than my expectations going in. I was imagining someone repulsive and she was much better than repulsive." 
Renée:  " it was an experience that I was glad that I did. I’m glad that I went but unfortunately it was not a love connection. He’s a very nice guy, though. We just weren’t a match."

Our daters went to e's BAR (511 Amsterdam Ave, Upper West Side)


Orlando: "The fries and the guacamole were really good. This is the first time I’ve ever had shishitos which I’d definitely recommend. The bar food was really good! The servers and staff were all nice and friendly. They had an outdoor area on the street and these plastic booths on the sidewalk with heaters in them."
Renée: "I had a burger and fries. The staff and the service was amazing. And their outdoor set-up for Covid is great. They have heaters, which is not super normal on the west side for some reason, and they were very well separated. The pods were nice, and the staff was great." 

RECOMMENDED: See more Undateables

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The best date ideas in NYC

Marie's Crisis
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

Feast at Minetta Tavern, then drink and sing at Marie’s Crisis Café

Restaurants French Greenwich Village

A West Village institution with classy decor, Minetta Tavern serves up that famous burger that’s on your bucket list. After your splurge, turn things up a notch at Marie’s Crisis Café, the iconic piano bar down the street. You can listen to some show tunes and join in the singing once you’ve got a few drinks in you. Who knows, maybe you and your date will harmonize!

Photograph: Francine Daveta

See a burlesque show at the Slipper Room

Nightlife Nightlife Lower East Side

Drop your inhibitions at this seductive, throwback lounge. Cheeky performers will leave you and your date laughing, curious and maybe a bit aroused. From your table by the stage (the space is small enough that there’s not really a bad seat in the house) expect the unexpected as aerial performers, singers, comedians, dancers and sexily clad lads and laddies perform circus and sideshow tricks. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything like it in the Lower East Side—or anywhere else.

Dreamland Roller Disco
Photograph: Courtesy Dreamland Roller Disco

Couple skate during Dreamland Roller Disco

Things to do Downtown Brooklyn

Dreamland Roller Disco provides a modern twist on a retro date. Besides, isn’t there something cute about falling on your butts together? What makes Dreamland special are its themed nights. February is chock-full of romantic rendezvous, such as the upcoming disco party I Feel Love on Valentine’s Day. 

City Point BKLYN, Downton Brooklyn ( $20–$26 (includes skate rental).

Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

Get cozy on the cheap at Porcelain

Restaurants Austrian Ridgewood

The Austrian-inspired cuisine and lived-in but chic aesthetic make Porcelain a charming first-date option. The prices are refreshingly low, too, with plates in the $10 range. Grab a couple of big, plush chairs, then split brunch and a pastry or three. If that’s not as sweet as can be, we don’t know what is. 

Kick Axe Throwing
Photograph: Courtesy Kick Axe Throwing

Sharpen your skills at Kick Axe Throwing

News Drinking

Craving an out-of-the-ordinary daytime date that doesn’t involve drinking the afternoon away? Kick Axe Throwing, in Gowanus is an urban adventure that's bound to make you look like a badass—plus, it opens at 11am during the week. Before chucking those hatchets, peruse the Runner & Stone café a few blocks away for a caffeine or pastry fix.

Photograph: Courtesy VR World

Trip out at VR World NYC

Attractions Arcades and amusements Midtown

New York is brimming with unique, exciting activities. But if you’re pining for something truly cutting-edge, explore another city—or another planet, for that matter—by bringing your date to VR World, a theme park that proffers 50 mind-bending interactive experiences.

Photograph: Courtesy Pips / Liz Clayman

Stay for a while (or just a minute) at Pips

Restaurants Italian Brooklyn Heights

Versatility is a key quality in a date spot: somewhere you want to stay but can still bolt if need be. If that’s what you’re seeking, get thee to Jared Braithwaite’s bar Pips, which sports an impressive wine selection alongside small plates inspired by coastal Italian cuisine. Plus, it’s right on Atlantic Avenue, so your subway escape-route options are plentiful. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

Bask in the beauty of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Prospect Park

You and your special someone don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in an idyllic pastoral paradise with this century-old Kings County NYC park. Nestled away by Prospect Park, you’ll find over 50 acres of cherry blossoms, rose gardens and the bright flora of the tropics in the balmy conservatory. No matter the season, you’ll be sure to see beautiful plant life.

Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Gabi Porter

Feast and catch a flick at Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

Why bother going to two separate places when you can combine this classic date at one fantastic eat-in cinema? Grab one of the luxurious, big comfy chairs and take advantage of the table with the seats. Chow down on tacos, burgers, charcuterie or small plates as you take in buzzworthy indie films and retro re-releases. And be sure to take advantage of the sweet cocktail and beer menu. 


Have a great date in Times Square (really) at Bugis Street Brasserie

Restaurants Chinese Midtown West

No one foresees anything good (with the possible exception of a Broadway show) to come out of Times Square. But consider Bugis Street Brasserie’s laksa: Comprising rice vermicelli, shrimp, chicken, fish cake and bean sprouts, this super-spicy noodle soup is sure to heat up your night. Your date might give you some side-eye as they’re guided into a hotel lobby packed with tourists, but sometimes great things emerge from unexpected places.

St. Luke in the Fields Gardens
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Hold hands in St. Luke in the Fields Gardens

News City Life

Broke, huh? Well, it sounds like you’re craving a space so bucolic, you love birds will forget it’s free of charge! Everyone appreciates a hidden urban oasis, and the St. Luke in the Fields Gardens—just off Hudson Street, between Barrow and Christopher Streets in the West Village—are up there with the best of them.


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