In July of last year, Mr. Wallaby and I decided to plan a getaway for New Year’s. Since New Orleans, we hadn’t traveled out-of-state together, and we wanted to take a mini-cation to somewhere romantic. We brainstormed potential (domestic) travel destinations and settled on NYC, knowing that the Christmas decorations would still be up over New Year’s, and there would be no shortage of energy and excitement that time of year. Also, flights were pretty cheap since we were booking in July. Score!
Flash forward to last December. We arrived in New York without a hitch. Mr. Wallaby and I followed the ambitious itinerary I had planned to a T. We picked up some macarons at Lauduree and had breakfast at Tiffany’s; we took in some exhibitions at the MoMA and the Met; and we did our fair share of people watching all over Manhattan. To celebrate New Year’s Eve, we got tickets to a penthouse party at a swanky hotel in Hell’s Kitchen. We put on our finest and for a night got to pretend that we were posh city-goers having a night on the town. (At least, we thought we were pretty cool!)
Freezing our tails off at the Top of the Rock…yet 100% happy and in love / Personal photo
The next morning, New Year’s day, we bundled up and ventured outside. Our hotel was a block from Central Park West, and after grabbing some coffee and pastries from Zabar’s, we started our trek across Central Park. At the recommendation of some friends, we were planning to attend a gospel service at Brooklyn Tabernacle, so I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the subway station to catch the train to Brooklyn. Mr. Wallaby was being resistant, and he seemed a little moody—I thought maybe he hadn’t eaten enough pastries for breakfast. He announced that he wanted to see Strawberry Fields, and like two tourists with no sense of direction, we began wandering around Central Park searching for Strawberry Fields. Mr. W occasionally listens to the Beatles, and someone once gave him a Beatles T-shirt as a gift, but I was slightly surprised that he was so adamant about getting to Strawberry Fields.
A sunny, crisp morning in Central Park / Personal picture
Once we arrived at the iconic “Imagine” mosaic, we were swarmed by tourists. (Really? At 9 AM on New Year’s day?) Mr. W was disappointed that the area was so crowded, so he pulled me aside and sat down next to me on a big boulder behind the privacy of some trees. After a couple minutes of small talk, he began reflecting on our relationship and telling me about everything he loves about me. The words were coming out a mile a minute, and just as I figured out what he was doing, he got down on one knee and proposed. I said YES! But poor Mr. W was so nervous that he doesn’t remember a word that either of us said. We kissed, and then we heard clapping from nearby…a small crowd of tourists passing by had noticed what was going on and stopped to watch! One of them gratuitously borrowed our camera and took some photos of Mr. W re-enacting the proposal, and gave us her best wishes for a happy marriage.
Mr. W proposing in Central Park—swoooon / Personal picture
Right after Mr. W “engaged” me. Sorry for the ghostly complexions—it was January, after all! / Personal photo
Sheer joy / Personal picture
The rest of the day was a blur. We walked around Central Park for a long time, basking in happiness and enjoying the time together alone. Eventually we called our families and told them the great news. By evening we were famished and worn out from a long emotional day, but we wanted to go somewhere special for dinner to celebrate the occasion. Through some Yelp searching but more from sheer randomness and luck, we found a restaurant just two blocks from our hotel that had opened a week before. We shared our first meal as fiance and fiancee at Caffe Storico. It might have been the excitement of the day, but let me tell you, I have never had a better Italian meal!
Caffe Storico / Photo via nyhistory.org
Did your engagement take place in another city? Did you tell your families right away, or did you spend some time alone before sharing the news?