Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day on a Student Budget

It is February, 14, 2011. Valentine's Day is here, and the sunny and beautiful one. The weather is so sping-like that the smile gets on your face without an effort. You see people rushing to their loved ones with bouquets of flowers and gift bags full of love. In this holiday rush you may be thinking, "Where should I go to make this day special?" If in addition to this, you are a student and looking to spend as little as possible, while still having a great time, I could give you a piece of advice about where to go the last minute if you haven't decided upon anything yet.
With the weather tremendous as it is, I would recommend that you spend this afternoon outside in the sun. A walk along the Brooklyn Bridge may be a romantic one, if you like being on your feet holding hands with your loved one. If you think that there will be too many people there, and you would like a more intimate setting, you may head to Central Park in the city or to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. You can bring a throw and make a picnic out of things you both enjoy savoring. There are picturous lakes in both parks, and if you enjoy being by the water as much as I do (I use every opportunity to sit by a river bank or on a beach), this would be a great scenery for you. This is also a great day for ice-skating, if you know how to do it. I would recommend the skating rink at a Bryant Park. If it is not overcrowded today, which you will find out once you see the line of people waiting to get in, you will get a large space to skate on and the skates for about $13, and I think, this is "skate as much as you want." They may offer you to pay $20 and skip the line, which you shouldn't do because what that means is that the rink will be overcrowded, and you won't really enjoy it.
Some couples love to go window-shopping, looking through stores hoping to find something. This is a great idea for those who haven't yet bought a gift for the special one. You can go shopping with your boyfriend/girlfriend and buy him/her something that you see he/she likes right on the spot. This is actually a great surprise, even though it doesn't seem to be. My boyfriend met me at Union Square last week and said, "Let's go take a look at Kindles." I wasn't eager to do it, as I wanted to have one, and every time looking at it was pretty painful. However, we went to a couple of stores, and he finally bought me a Kindle, which I didn't expect to happen that particular day. It was an awesome surprise, and you can do the same thing with your loved one.
Another romantic way to celebrate St. Valentine's Day may be going on a cruise around New York. There are varios boats leaving from 45 street and 12 avenue. You can get a short trip that lasts 2 hours or a longer one that will keep you on a boat for 4 hours. Whichever you choose, you will enjoy riding a cruise boat in the sun with you beloved. These trips are not cheap, though, but you can always go there and ask if they have any students savings program; maybe, they will give you 10-15% off, which never hurts if you are on a student budget. Anywhere you go, try to get the best deal with your student ID: if you use it only on campus, you are not getting everything you could from it.
If you prefer eating at a fine restaurant to wandering outside, or if you need great ideas for a later dinner, you may try romantic "Tanti Baci Caffe." It is an Italian place located at 31 West 8th Street between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street. It has a nice quiet place with a homey feeling to it where you would love to sit with someone you love. The manager and the waiters are always at your service, and the food price range is approximately $15-20 for an entree. Another good place to go is an Argentinian restaurant "Buenos Aires" at 513 East 6th Street. It is not decorated specially for romantic dinners, but as it gets later, they put out candles. But what you really go there for is their wine collection and their famous steaks imported from Argentina, the country well-known as the best for meat exports. Good as it is, it is not crazily expensive, as the portions are big and could be easily shared.

I also enjoy having coffee and dessert at "The View," a restaurant at the Marriott Hotel in the Times Square area. This restaurant is moving around, and you have a chance to see the city from different sides. Their dinner prices are too high for a student budget, so try to get there in the afternoon, better before 5pm. There is no minimum at this time, and you can sip your coffee and enjoy the beautiful panoramic view.

And finally, if you are planning to stay home, make this experience special as well. You may cook or order your dinner from a local restaurant (no pizza, please, it is too casual), decorate your appartment and think of something special your loved one would enjoy. Spread the wings of your creativity here, and remember that you can get student discounts at many restaurants even if you order take out or delivery, for chocolate and other sweet treats you would like to be spoiled with on this special day.
Wherever you go and whatever you do, remember that this holiday is not about going somewhere; it is an opportunity to spend some time with the one you love, so make sure you do something that you both will remember for years!

 Images are taken from XKCD and Gawker websites.  

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