This past weekend, teams of two braved the waters of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal armed with nothing more than canoes and kayaks.
Kids, you too can take the proverbial plunge: NYC's grungiest canal is actually one of the most romantic places in the city. It's true, and here's where to dive in for your best big night out.
Start early and engage in some friendly competition, cruise ship-style, at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. Even if you can't score a lane ($40 an hour), you can watch the action with pints of local craft beers, like Captain Lawrence IPA ($6), in hand.
Feeling peckish after a few games? Swing into cozy seafood shack Littleneck for Wild Goose and Ninigret Cup oysters from Rhode Island (market price) or raw littleneck clams on the half shell ($12 for a dozen). Slurp, sip Muscadet ($9 per glass) and pretend that you and your boo have road tripped to Maine.
Take your main course in the woodsy, rambling Backyard at The Pines, where the grill will be lit and the house-made kielbasa with ramp kimchi ($9) and blistered shishito peppers ($7) will be sizzling. Make summer crush dreams come true by building some DIY s'mores (free!) at the fire pit, side by side.
Afterward, gaze into each other's eyes in the glow of Lavender Lake's brick- and wood-enclosed back patio, lit softly with strung lights. Cocktails like the refreshing River's Edge ($12)—a gin and soda made grownup with grapefruit bitters and lemon—will have you starry-eyed.
Not alone come sunrise? Follow the smell of baking bread to Runner & Stone, where you two lovebirds can recap the night's shenanigans with lattes ($3), ideally while slathering house-made butter on half a wonderfully chewy baguette ($2). Baker Peter Endriss ferments the dough for a long time and the flavor runs deep.
And if you're flying solo, duck into Four & Twenty Blackbirds for the sweetest breakfast date we know: a thick slice of salty honey pie ($5.25).
Because pie is always the start of something good.
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