Photo: Mary + Roy
When popping the question in New York City, one could easily be bewitched by the lure of classic, history-saturated locations from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty. However, if you crave a truly unique proposal, the only way to proceed is by selecting a distinctive and under-the-radar locale. Thankfully, the Big Apple is full of obscure, romantic restaurants and nature-steeped nooks that offer both beauty and privacy from curious onlookers. Rachael Vanden-Heuvel of Sweet Pea Events, Cristina Verger of Cristina Verger Event Planning & Production LLC, and Sarah Pease of Brilliant Event Planning reveal their favorite hidden proposal spots in New York City.
Botanists and nature aficionados alike will adore Governor's Island for its unadulterated urban vistas and air of repose. "This quiet island is filled with perfect waterfront picnic spots, million-dollar views of Manhattan, and is a protected historical location," Pease recommends.
Midtown Loft and Terrace
An urban oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, Midtown Loft and Terrace offers a beautiful backdrop for a planned proposal. "In the middle of Manhattan, this terrace is just below the Empire State Building and even though you are in the thick of the city, this space creates a private area for an intimate proposal. The photos are stunning and this can be followed up with a romantic dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants," Vanden-Heuvel recommends.
If you wish to include the Statue of Liberty in your proposal without braving the throngs of tourists, try one of Pier A's beautifully revamped restaurants instead; the locale features an enchanting view of the monument along with a mouthwatering menu perfect for toasting to a new engagement. "The newly renovated, yet historical pier has the closest view of Statue of Liberty, along with either casual or fine dining restaurants inside one building," Vanden-Heuvel advises.
Red Rooster Harlem
Verger suggests that couples seeking a unique and festive proposal experience head uptown to Red Rooster Harlem. The location, she insists, will suit a "fun and full of energy proposal perhaps followed by jazz downstairs at Ginny's Jazz Club."
The Lake at Central Park
If a sailboat is out of the question, Verger recommends lending the proposal a nautical air by renting a row boat from the Central Park Boathouse. The proposal plan also possesses unforeseen advantages for skittish brides-to-be. "She can't escape from here!" Verger quips.
If you prefer the intimacy of a traditional restaurant proposal, look no further than New York landmark La Grenouille. "A gorgeous room for an elegant and very romantic proposal à la Française," Verger says.
The Union Square Farmer's Market
If your foodie proclivities are innate to your relationship, why not make sustenance the focal point of your proposal? "[While] walking through the farmers' market on 14th street, looking at fresh flowers, pop the question and the ring," Verger urges.
The Arsenal in Central Park
History and highly romantic vistas unite in The Arsenal at Central Park. "It's not cheap, but the view from this iconic building can't be beat. If you're lucky, you'll also be able to see the sea lions in the zoo directly in front of you!" Pease says.
A Vintage Bank Vault
Creatively celebrate your impending union by selecting a proposal location that unites the heritage and future of New York City simultaneously. "The Big Apple is filled with tons of bars, private dining rooms, and restaurants that previously served as bank vaults. Many even still have the original steel doors and mechanics in place — the perfect place to tell your sweetheart that your love is priceless," Pease proclaims.
The Abandoned City Hall Subway Station
Pease reminds couples that while tall buildings with viewing points might offer an unparalleled perspective for a proposal, exploring underground is also a unique option. "Forget the skyscrapers and plan ahead... Book a ride on the City Hall Station subway tour and pop the question in this abandoned subway station surrounded by walls of classic tiles and vaulted ceilings," Pease says.