Isabel Gillies is the author of Starry Night, which is out next week! To celebrate the release of Starry Night, a romantic novel set in New York City, Isabel is here on the blog with some of the most swoon-worthy places in NYC!
"New York just by itself is romantic -- It has a heart beat. I’m not kidding. All you have to do (and I urge you to do it one day, if not today) is walk by yourself for three blocks and pay attention. It doesn’t matter where you are in the city. Midtown, The East Village, Chelsea, Harlem, SOHO – doesn’t matter, you just need to be able to absorb it. Take a deep breath, open your eyes and ears and start walking. At first it may be overwhelming (kind of like love), you may feel too much. So many people, so many noises, smells, voices, it can take your breath away, but stay with it. In about a block, you get your pace. You begin to be in step with the people around you, you start to grove a little. And very soon after, you can feel the heart beat. It definitely comes from below and I’m pretty sure the subways racing below you add to it. It’s extremely cool and pretty sexy. Anyway, I fell in love with my first boyfriend in NYC and my last, that last one is now my husband. It’s an awesome place to fall in love.
Here are some places:
Central Park is an obvious place to start. Actually, lets bust it open to all parks in NYC. There are quite a few romantic movies that have Central Park in them. Enchanted, When Harry Met Sally, Hair, to name a few. But the reason I think it’s romantic is because you can walk there. Walk and walk and walk. People fall in love when they walk and talk. Maybe it has something to do with the blood flow? You can hold hands, you can comment on all the great things happening around you, like a beautiful tree or bridge. Or you might walk next to kids playing and that might trigger some kind of maybe-we-will-be-married-one-day feeling? There are ice cream carts here and there, so there might be an opportunity to share an ice cream sandwich? And you can feel far away from life in Central Park – it’s an escape. I have DEFINITELY been in love in that park. That park pulses with romance.
Okay, I think that Washington Square Park is exceedingly romantic. And I mean right under the Arch. I was given a pretty great kiss under that Arch when I was at New York University, so maybe that is why I think it’s romantic, but it is in general. There are all these fantastic NYU students swarming around, and I find learning and college life a turn on. There is also almost always someone playing music, or drums, and that is exhilarating. You are in the heart of Greenwich Village, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think that is really fun. All of those elements make that spot extremely romantic.
Coffee Shops. Yup. Just you plain old coffee shop. I think it’s because of the French fries. Any opportunity to share creates romance, and French Fries are a great way to start. Two milk shakes and a plate of fries in a booth = romance.
MOVIE THEATERS! Okay, I know there are movie theaters everywhere, and I one hundred percent believe that going to the movies ANYWERE is romantic, but I will go out on a limb and say that going to the movies in NYC is one of the greatest romantic things to do on this earth. Better than a sunset. Here’s why: It’s a mini adventure. There is the arrangement to meet in front of the theater, and that is so fun and lovely. Maybe it’s the most romantic part? How I am picturing it is, one person is walking towards the theater having just come from the subway (another romantic spot believe it or not), and the other person is waiting – maybe reading a magazine or a book, and then there is the moment when you both look up and see each other. It’s SUCH A GREAT MOMENT! Big smiles, big expectations for the adventure. Romance.
The Met! Of course a lot of Starry Night takes place in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that is because it is (in my opinion) one of the romantic bulls’ eyes in all of the world. I think it’s those steps that do it. Even when the museum is closed those steps are magical. I think millions of people have fallen in love on those steps -- and that is part of the magic. Not only do you feel the weight and power of centuries of art, but you feel love. I know someone once fell in love with me just BECAUSE I took him to sit on the steps.
If you can get on a rooftop, that is always good for romance. I think the Staten Island Ferry is extremely romantic. Looking at the Hudson River is romantic. The seedy bars of East Village are romantic. The cherry blossoms in the West Village are wonderfully romantic, if you can be in NYC in April…
Let’s face it, almost anywhere in NYC is down right romantic."
Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies’s Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?
For a chance to win a lovely, lovely copy of Starry Night, fill out the form below!