Remember your first few dates? You spent hours prepping for the event even though it was just your parents dropping you off at the movies. You and your date barely spoke, except to joke about your English teacher or share locker room drama. The sexual tension was incredible, and you had to stop holding hands every fifteen minutes in order to wipe the sweat onto your pants. You may not miss the nerves, but especially with a shot of nostalgia, middle-school date ideas can bring playfulness to a new relationship. Remember simpler times with these potential plans, in the city and at home:
Ride the Cyclone at Coney Island Though adults are commonplace at amusement parks, the oversized stuffed animals and saccharine snacks at Coney Island automatically invoke childhood memories. Ride the rickety Cyclone and then take advantage of the adrenaline to be extra affectionate (i.e. make out on the beach). Restore your energy after with a funnel cake and some cotton candy.
Go camping in your living room After you’ve had a couple “getting to know” you dinner dates, invite your intro to your house. Raid your linen closet for all the best blankets and make sure your pantry is stocked with s’mores supplies. Part 1: Roast hot dogs (on the barbeque or in the oven, whatever you have) then make your marshmallows golden brown over the burner. Part 2: Use the blankets to build a fort, with a window for stargazing or TV-watching. Then cuddle up close, because we all know camping gets cold.
Hang out like it’s after school Get popsicles from People’s Pops’ East Village location and find an empty bench in Tompkins Square Park. If you have a stoop, that will do just as well for the main event: share your favorite music with your date, teenager-on-a-schoolbus style, one headphone each. You may no longer own a walkman or even an iPod mini, but the intimacy of listening to the latest Shins or Strokes hasn’t changed.
Explore the play space on Governor’s Island Last year, Governor’s Island hosted a colorful, alternative playground structure. When it reopens this month, it will again be home to public art installations and plenty of open space for bike-riding and strolling. The developers want it to be a place of “leisure and delight,” so expect more whimsical additions soon. Pack a picnic and reminisce on back-in-the-day soccer games with juice pouches. The best part? They’re filled with wine.
Eat with your fingers Indulge your age-old love of carbs and sauces (smeared on your face, ideally), and stop by Pommes Frites, by Saint Mark’s. Since the place is tiny, get a cone of their delicious Belgian fries to go and spread out your sauces on any nearby stoop. Then walk to JoeDough for a Stoner’s sandwich–we’re pretty sure it’ll make your grade-school self drool in delight.