Hearts and Minds: Valentine’s Talks in NYC

By Alison Durkee

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, the day when Americans celebrate—or express contempt for—love and the relationships in their life. Learn about the ins and outs of romantic entanglements, both past and present, with these upcoming events in NYC.

If you’re looking for ways to spend your February 14th this year, there are plenty of options around the city. Take in a movie by heading to Housing Works for their Valentine’s Day Movie Marathon, or enjoy some live music at the Merchant’s House Museum with their Love in the Parlors concert featuring music by the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society. Museumgoers can also enjoy special Valentine’s-themed tours from several of the city’s top museums, including the Guggenheim Museum’s Love and Art tour, the Love in the Time of Revolution tour at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and the New-York Historical Society’s tour of Stories of Romance Through History.

Literary lovers, meanwhile, can enjoy love-centric readings on the 14th from author Lesli Cohen, who will hold an event for her book This Love Story Will Self-Destruct at McNally Jackson, and Tavi Gevinson with a special love-themed edition of the online magazine Rookie. After Gevinson’s event at The Strand, the bookstore will also mark the holiday with a delicious chocolate tasting. Those looking for a more interactive way to spend the holiday can also head to a Valentine’s Day poetry workshop for couples at the Prospect Heights Brainery, or make their way to The Three Jewels to investigate the karmic seeds behind successful relationships.

Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday to mark next week. New Yorkers who are currently unattached can express themselves through verse at a Poetry for Singles workshop on February 15 in honor of Singles Awareness Day. The day before Valentine’s Day (February 13), ladies can appreciate the other women in their life thanks to Galentine’s Day, the holiday devoted to female friendship that was first popularized by the television show Parks and Recreation. Celebrate the sisterhood by heading to The Strand on February 13 for a Galentine’s Day celebration complete with crafting and wine, or celebrate on the 15th at Caveat with an all-female Galentine’s edition of their Academic Stand-Up series.

The days leading up to Valentine’s Day will also offer a few less traditional workshops to prepare for the holiday. Center yourself and relax before the holiday with a special three-hour yoga workshop, A Valentine’s Maha Sadhana, which will take place at the Dharma Yoga Center on February 10. Those looking to give a loved one a special bouquet on Wednesday can also create their own unique floral arrangement at a Valentine’s Day Bouquet workshop at the Green-Wood Cemetery on February 13.

Both before and after Valentine’s Day, New Yorkers will still have plenty of chances to celebrate and interrogate the idea of love. Love, of course, has been the focus of stories throughout history, and there’s plenty to learn about what these creatives have had to say. Celebrate one of Hollywood’s most enduring love stories, Casablanca, at an event centered on the classic film on February 27, or go back to the Renaissance with a session on William Shakespeare and his classic play Taming of the Shrew on February 11, which will ask a big question: What is Love? On February 26, hear from women currently taking on one of the most love-filled genres, romance novels, at a panel discussion that “woman-splains” the popular form to an open-minded male moderator.

Of course, sometimes the best love stories are those that aren’t a work of fiction. Take in some real stories of romance at a reading and discussion of Kathrin Werner’s book Love and Happiness – True Stories of True Love, which will take place on February 9. That same evening, New Yorkers can also dive into the idiosyncratic approaches to romance at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Free Friday: Free Love event, which will offer love-centric talks and free access to the historical society’s exhibitions. Or join the Gotham Philosophic Society on February 15th for a symposium on love itself, “that which makes us human.” The event at Las Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Washington Heights will feature a lawyer, a poet, and a philosopher.

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