The heart of the city was pulsing with love Tuesday, as four couples got married, three got engaged and oodles of others renewed their vows in Times Square.
Stephanie Torres, 40, a Coney Island snake charmer and Tim Porter, 32, a welder who specializes in set design, were first up, tying the knot a little after 11 a.m.
Torres – now officially Torres-Porter — reckoned she won the contest for the comped nuptials as a result of her essay that explained how her romance epitomized the melting pot nature of The Crossroads of the World, where people of all backgrounds come together. The bridegroom is of German and Irish descent, she noted “and I’m Puerto Rican!”
The Coney Island couple were married, fittingly, in front of a “public data sculpture” of a heart that highlights the role immigrants play in NYC.
Porter said he had been nagging his inamorata to commit for years. “We’ve been living together a very long time. We have a boy!” he exclaimed. Their son, Gunner, who Porter held throughout the ceremony, will be three in April.
The officiant, Hollis Kam, a human resource director for the Times Square Alliance, who became a Universal Life Church reverend in 2008, crafted the vows, which asked the forces of the universe to allow the pair to “live in perfect harmony,” “be eternally happy” and to “always be the best of friends.”
Torres-Porter surrendered to Porter’s pleas for marriage in the wake of a tragedy, after her sister, Rebecca Tighe, 26, was struck by a tow truck and killed while crossing a street in Massapequa Park, L.I., the week before Thanksgiving. The shock of losing her younger sister was a tragic lesson, she explained, “not to wait. Don’t put things off. Tomorrow is not promised.”
Torres-Porter’s ripple-y white tiered wedding dress, faux fur red stole, and her husband’s dapper attire were acquired rapidly and mostly online, with all costs clocking in at under $500.
“Bargain basement! It’s great!” Bill Tighe, the bride’s stepdad said of the no-fuss nuptials. Tighe, of Seaford, L.I., walked the blue-haired bride down the outdoor aisle as “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” by ABBA blared from speakers and 40 friends and family members — and not a few tourists — brandished phone cameras to document the very public ceremony in the freezing cold.
Torres-Porter wasn’t interested in having a wedding at The Pierre with the Lester Lanin Orchestra. If they had the dough for that kind of an event, “we’d buy a condo!” said Torres-Porter, a renter.
But isn’t there a downside for a woman having her wedding anniversary fall on the same day as Valentine’s Day? Torres-Porter didn’t think so. “Now at least I’ll get at least one (gift), which I never do. Now he better get me at least one present!” she exclaimed.
This year’s Valentine’s Day extravaganza was the fourth year of weddings and proposals, the sixth year of vow renewals and the ninth year of the heart sculpture, which will be on display until March 5.