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Real-life NYC meet cutes that will melt your heart

Forget swiping right! These serendipitous tales prove it’s still possible to find love IRL in NYC.

By Heather Corcoran

Karr Couple
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

It may seem like the only way to meet someone in the city these days is by swiping on apps or studying online profiles for hours. However, these real-life couples prove that you can still make a new connection the old-fashioned way. (And when you do, check out some of best date ideas, cheap date ideas and romantic restaurants recommendations to figure out what to do next.)



Photograph: Matt Bernstein

Racquel Chevremont & Mickalene Thomas

Racquel, art consultant and curator, and Mickalene, visual artist, filmmaker and curator, met at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002. Dating since 2011.

Racquel: We met when Mickalene was artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Mickalene: The first time we interacted was at my open studio. I was working in Brooklyn in a basement studio.
Racquel: I remember being very attracted to her, but we were both in different times of our lives.
Mickalene: She was a collector and I was an artist, so the dynamics are different when you’re in those situations.
Racquel: We would see each other at events. We were always friends. Then, in 2011, I was in Paris and she was in Giverny, France, doing a residency at Monet’s estate, and we ended up having dinner together. That was the first time that we’d actually been together, alone.
Mickalene: That was probably the first time I realized there was something there, more than just the flirtation.
Racquel: We were both married at the time. We kind of got to know each other on a much more personal level, not just the “us” that we project to the outside world. It was just so easy, and everything just flowed. Sometimes, [love] might present itself, but you’re too scared because of other things that are going on in your life at that moment. You don’t want to turn your entire life upside down, but sometimes you just have to take that leap.

Racquel and Mickalene
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

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Photograph: Matt Bernstein

Roseann Wang & Thomas Nilsson

Roseann and Thomas, photographers, met in July 2013 outside Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho. Married October 2014; their son, Lucas, was born January 2017.

Thomas: We met in the Cronut line. It was the craze that summer. We’re both photographers, and I was there to take pictures of the line—it was around the block at six in the morning.
Roseann: There was a photographer who started taking photos—that’s how we started communicating. When I got home, I emailed him that it would be great to have some souvenir photos.
Thomas: We decided to meet. She suggested we go back and get Cronuts.
Roseann: I think we met at 5:40am…
Thomas: On a Saturday morning. It’s a little bit early, waiting two to three hours and getting to know each other without being drunk.
Roseann: We had a really good conversation. We talked about all these really random news articles. Later on, in October, Banksy came to town, and I just became obsessed. We would go to different Banksy exhibits throughout the city—Brooklyn, the Bronx.
Thomas: We met every day for a while doing this, and then the last [day] of October was the last mural. We missed seeing each other. I proposed on a Sunday afternoon. I chose Grand Central because it’s one of my favorite places in New York—that room, it’s like magic. It’s a little bit nerve-racking doing it in public, but that also adds to it. Five minutes later, it was all back to normal.

Roseann and Thomas
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

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Photograph: Matt Bernstein

Shadi Jurdi & Richard Thomas

Shadi, senior editor in marketing at Etsy, and Richard, bartender, met in April 2015 at One Last Shag in Bed-Stuy. Dating.

Richard: I was bartending in Bed-Stuy, and my friend was doing a shot with this guy at the end of the bar. I was like, “Who is that?”
Shadi: I came into the bar on a Saturday afternoon, noticed Richard, and I was like, “Oh my god, this guy is so cute.” We started talking, and he bought me a shot.
Richard: I remember there was a sea of people. I was like, “I’m not making drinks for anybody else. I’m doing the shot with him.” We didn’t really talk that much that night. I got Shadi’s number from our mutual friend, and I didn’t even call him. He came back to the bar a week later, on a chill Sunday night. I would have just been getting off my shift, and I was like, “Oh, that’s Shadi from last week. Let me hang out for a minute.”
Shadi: We had a drink at the bar, and I remember dancing at One Last Shag—there was a DJ. Then we went over to Happyfun Hideaway, which is another queer Bushwick bar. We were hanging out at the bar and talking, and we had our first kiss there.
Richard: We did?
Shadi: Yup. It was a night of drinking and dancing, super laid-back—casual and easy.
Richard: Just like me.

Shadi and Richard
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

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Photograph: Matt Bernstein

James Aguiar & Mark Haldeman

James, VP creative and fashion director at Modern Luxury magazines, and Mark, U.S. regional manager of Paul Smith, met in June 1991 at the bar Work on the Upper West Side. Married April 2018 at the Easter Parade.

James: There was this gay bar called the Work. Mark was there on his actual first night ever in New York City.
Mark: That was back in the day, when you could actually meet someone in a bar. I didn’t even know it was a gay bar.
James: Mark was tall, he looked Midwestern, and he had shoulder-length, ringlety red hair. He looked like he was new to New York.
Mark: James was the exact opposite. He had a darker complexion, a little more exotic—not the type of person you’d find in Minnesota, for sure. On his way out, we caught each other’s eye. I remember saying, “It’s my first day here.” He said, “If you ever want anyone to show you around, let me know,” and he gave me his phone number.
James: We exchanged numbers, dated for three months. Then we just went our separate ways.
Mark: I had no designs or intentions. I just had a feeling it wasn’t the end of it.
James: And it wasn’t! Five years later, I was working at Bergdorf Goodman. I was in a Fifth Avenue window, Mark walked by, and I tapped on the glass. He saw me, I came out, and we reconnected.
Mark: When people say, “You’re so lucky—I can’t believe you met each other the first day you moved to New York,” I always say, “Luck definitely had a part in it, but it was also fate and being open to the possibility.” You’ve got to say “I’m not going to be afraid. I’m going to take a chance.”

Mark and James
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

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Photograph: Matt Bernstein

Erin & Kevin Kerr

Erin, senior director of media relations, and Kevin, marketing analytics partner, met in November 2012 at East End Tavern in Yorkville. Married September 2017.

Erin: We met during Superstorm Sandy. I was living on the Upper East Side, and, after the storm hit, we still had power.
Kevin: I was living in Greenwich Village. My roommate had two friends living on the Upper East Side, and they said we could crash on their couch for as long as necessary.
Erin: It was the one time that the Upper East Side was the place to be.
Kevin: We were going out every single night. On night four or five, a couple of us rallied: “Let’s just go to a local bar, nothing crazy.” The first time I saw Erin, I drank enough to have liquid courage and go talk to her. After exchanging numbers, I went back to our friend’s apartment and was pretty giddy.
Erin: Kevin texted me two days later, on Saturday morning, and asked me to go out that night. We got along instantly—we never wanted the night to end. After barhopping, I ended up inviting him back to my apartment, where I had plans with a bunch of my friends. We discovered that, the entire week, he had been staying in the apartment directly above mine. We had crossed paths a million times! This was the silver lining of a terrible scenario.

Erin and Kevin
Photograph: Matt Bernstein

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