Whether you're rolling solo, shacked up with the love of your life, or somewhere in between, New York is not short on ideas for Valentine's Day.
The holiday, which gets its name from the patron Saint Valentine, is centuries old and is rooted in both Christian and Roman traditions. At least three different men behind Valentine's Day--who go by the names Valentine or Valentinus--are recognized by the Catholic church, and led third century lives reportedly marred by imprisonment, torture and secret marriages.
So where did the exchange of cute cards come from? Possibly a lovelorn last message from an imprisoned Valentine to his crush. But when lowered postage rates allowed ornate love notes and frilly nothings to become all the rage in a Victorian-era England, the tradition soon spread around the world. While the British Museum reportedly has the oldest Valentine on display, we're partial to its collection of eleven Valentine cards from the 19th century, including one that warmly starts, "You miserable wrangling snip."
Whatever you think about Valentine's Day, here are a few things to do with (or without) a loved one on Monday, Feb. 14:
The Cutting Edge, at Bryant Park Enjoy Monday's unseasonably warm weather in Bryant Park with a 6:30 P.M. screening of "The Cutting Edge." Watch the romance unfold between a hockey player (D.B. Sweeney) and a figure skater (Moira Kelly) bound for Olympic-glory. Cheap dates will love the free admission. In Manhattan.
The Show and Tell, at Union Hall The spoken word can do wonders for the heart. Pull up a chair as Colleen Kane's series "Show and Tell" continues in Brooklyn's Union Hall, with a heartwarming 8 P.M. Valentine's Day show featuring Missy Brown, Garry N. Hannon, Andy Ross, Emily Spivack and Christen Clifford. The Show and Tell will set you back $5. In Brooklyn.
Don Pasquale, at The Metropolitan Opera Conniving old men, mock wedding ceremonies and stacks of debt. If this is what comes to mind when you think of love, then a performance of "Don Pasquale" is your bag. The Metropolitan Opera continues on Monday night at 8 P.M. with its run of the Donizetti classic, starring Anna Netrebko under the baton of music director James Levine. Tickets start at $25. In Manhattan.
1970s Valentine's Day Key Party-Downsouth, at Southpaw. If you and your valentine want to have some old school fun tonight, head to a '70s-themed key party at Southpaw in Brooklyn. The keys start flying at 9 P.M. when all guests who have parted with the $20 entry fee will receive one key with his or her number on it. Drop yours into the fish bowl on the way in, then talk to other people who will also be dressed in polyester. Laugh really hard at their jokes. Continue to ignore your own partner. Then take someone else's number from the fishbowl on the way out. End of story. In Brooklyn.
Sex and Taboo, a Valentine's Day Massacre, at Le Poisson Rouge Tiptoe among the twisted at this dance and burlesque show, presented at Le Poisson Rouge in conjunction with Cassandra Rosebeetle. Brought to you by the people who maintain, "It just isn't Valentine's Day without torture devices, obsessive love, and blood," this show gets underway at 10 P.M. and features performance artist Miss Rose Wood, Desert Sin, Michael Laing and Cassandra. Tickets cost $14. In Manhattan.
The Rejection Show’s Valentine’s Day Heartbreak Haven, at the Bell House The Rejection Show brings on its Valentine celebration of all things no, nein, niet, bu yao, non. On Monday at 8 P.M., you can comfort yourself knowing that you are not alone in your misery, as comedians, writers, filmmakers and TV personalities relate past romantic failures for your viewing pleasure. Featuring performances and stories from the book "Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped and Canceled." Tickets are $10. In Brooklyn.