Valentine's Day: Thrifty NYers ditch the typical night out
Try as it might, the holiday industrial complex can't woo some of New York's love birds into costly, ostentatious displays of their affection. Many younger New Yorkers, while willing to observe the holiday in their own creative ways, are thumbing their nose at the traditional Valentine's Day dinner out.
For example Ashley Mason, 21, a restaurant lover and blogger for ny.eater.com, won't be dining out this Thursday.
Restaurants "are extremely expensive on Valentine's Day," often incorporating pricey prix fixe menus that are full of fatty items such as foie gras and filet mignon, said Mason. Nor does the Upper West Sider relish dressing up to slog through what is typically less-than-spectacular winter weather only to encounter a crowded restaurant with service that is almost always worse than it is on a normal night. Cooking a romantic meal with her boyfriend, Didrik Soderstrom, 22, at his Greenpoint apartment, "is so much less stressful. And you can really spend time together, which is what Valentine's Day is really about," Mason said.
A survey last month by CreditDonkey showed that while 65% of respondents planned to take their significant other to dinner this Feb. 14, only 49% wanted to be taken out, proving, according to researchers, that "many partners don't always want what they get."
Only 43% of the younger generation prefers to stay in and cook a special dinner on the internationally recognized day of love, according to a recent survey by Chemistry.com.
Dinner out on "Valentine's Day "doesn't apply to me and my wife at all," said Matt King, 22, of Parkchester, who works as a security guard. He and his wife, he said, "celebrate our love for each other every day."
Young people may be boycotting restaurants on the holiday but "the explosion of dining culture and influx of tourists into NYC has kept Valentine's Day one of the biggest days of the year for restaurants -- even if it's on a weekday," said Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the NYC chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. While some restaurants may substitute premium price menus for regular fare, others "offer discounted deals to draw in couples," he added.
Saruh Lacoff, 25, and her partner of four years have taken each other on zero cost adventures to parks, the Staten Island Ferry and music events on Feb. 14. In years past, Lacoff and Evan O'Donnell, 25, both musicians who live in Kensington, have filled up dozens of stickers and hand cut paper hearts with sentiments expressing appreciation for each other.
"I don't ignore," the day, said Lacoff. "I just don't buy into the monetary aspect." She has no need to be wined and dined on Valentine's Day. Her partner doesn't even need to buy her chocolates, because he "shows me appreciation all the time," she said.
Women who feel truly treasured by their mates don't really need a show of costly caring on Feb. 14, agreed Nicole Matthews, 26, of Mill Basin, a marketing professional who is currently single.
"If you're on point on everything else, then Valentine's Day is just another day. But if you're not a partner who consistently displays love, caring and appreciation, Matthews continued, "then Valentine's Day is the ultimate make up day."