TimesSquareArts-Heart of Hearts Untapped Cities AFineLyneHeart of Hearts Kissing Booth Coming to Times Square

If you’re like us, Valentine’s Day is a holiday to search for the lesser known New York City. The Untapped Cities team will be hitting up the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment plant for the annual Valentine’s Day tour of the digester eggs. But there are plenty of other alternative activities like a chocolate takedown, an undie run, special tours, and more:

1. Paranormal Investigation at the Morris Jumel Mansion

The Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights was constructed in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British loyalist .During the Revolutionary War, both George Washington and British and Hessian forces occupied the house. On July 10, 1790, Washington returned to the house and dined there with members of his administration including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox. The mansion was purchased by Stephen and Eliza Jumel (Eliza would go on to marry Aaron Burr, who briefly lived at the house). In 1903, the City purchased the house and its grounds and a year later it opened to the public as a museum.

On Saturday, February 13th, there will be a special Valentine’s Day paranormal investigation event after hours, hosted by NYC Parks highlighting the numerous love affairs weaved within the Morris-Jumel Mansion’s history. As the event describes, “Learn the basics of ghost hunting while attempting to communicate with some of the mansion’s previous tenants and quite possibly, reveal their romantic past.”

Space is limited. Advanced paid registration is strongly suggested at [email protected].

2. The 2016 Cupid Undie Run

If you got a rush from the Coney Island Polar Bear Swim, the Cupid Undie Run is next and is for a good cause: the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The event takes place on February 13th starting at noon at Stage 48 in Chelsea. Last year the multi-city event raised $2.8 million.

3.  Name a Cockroach at the Bronx Zoo

For the especially romantic (or spiteful), you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bronx Zoo for Valentine’s Day. The description from the website is priceless:

Tens of thousands of roaches remain nameless and would make a great symbol of your love. For $10, we’ll send your loved one a digital certificate (like this one) to cherish for years to come, featuring the name of your Valentine’s roach.

This year, you can even up the romance by adding chocolate. For $25, you’ll receive a printed roach certificate and something sweet, made with love by the Nunu Chocolate company in Brooklyn, NY.*

Your donation will also help us protect these misunderstood love bugs, along with a lot of other animals, both big and small.

As they say, roaches make the heart beat faster.

4. Private Untapped Cities Tours of New York City

Private Urban Exploration Tours-Untapped Cities-NYC

While you might be familiar with our ongoing series of Behind the Scenes tours of New York City, we soft-launched a private tour offering starting in late 2015. So far guests have done photo explorations of stunning abandoned industrial buildings in Brooklyn, a subway tour that explores the art, history, and future of the subway system in downtown Manhattan, and gone on small group versions of our classic tours like the Remnants of Penn Station and the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal.

The tours are led by our expert tour guides, who are specialized in specific aspects of the “untapped” side of New York City.

Contact us below for private tour requests. We’re also offering a special limited time 15% Valentine’s Day discount to all of our upcoming tours this year using code VDAY16. Our full list of tours is available here

5. Brooklyn Chocolate Takedown

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus is all the range these days, and on February 14th, the Brooklyn Chocolate Takedown, an “Extra Special Valentine’s Day Takedown” will be going down. Self-taught cooks bring in their delectable creations and the public partakes in an culinary eating extravaganza. It’s all so romantic that the Takedown team says four couples have met at Takedown events and gotten married.

6. Times Square Heart of Hearts Kissing Booth

TimesSquareArts-Heart of Hearts Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Collective-LOK” is the winner of this year’s annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design

Over the past eight years, the Times Square Alliance has invited architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a Valentine’s Day installation. This year, Collective-LOK is the winner. CLOK’s Heart of Hearts is a faceted ring of twelve golden, mirrored hearts that will create an alternative pavilion, which in turn, creates a kaleidoscope reflecting the constant movement and color of Times Square. Inside the ring, you will find diamond-shaped spaces with six kissing booths, all mirrored and reflecting your Heart of Hearts. We hope its contagious. The Heart of Hearts will be on display starting February 9th.

Also, Times Square Arts and the Midnight Moment Program will present Busi (Kitty) (2001), the video of a cat drinking milk, every night at 11:57 pm during the month of February, coinciding with a Guggenheim Museum Event about the artists  Fischli/Weiss.

See our recommended urbanism and art installations picks for this month.

7. Morbid Anatomy Library Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop: Valentine Day’s Special

Join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Morbid Anatomy’s popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop. From the description: “Rhinoceros beetles: nature’s tiny giants. Adorable, with their giant heads and tiny legs, and wonderful antler-like protrusions. If you think they would be even more adorable drinking tiny beers and holding tiny fishing poles, [this is] the perfect class for you! Students will learn to make–and leave with their own!–shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine.”

8. Awakenings Techno Event

If EDM is your thing, there will be a 2-day techno festival starting on February 14th at Hammerstein Ballroom. Awakenings Festival first made its premiere at the Electric Zoo on Randalls Island this past fall and will bring DJs like Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg, Pan Pot, Julia Govor and Kamran Sadeghi for this stand-alone event.

9. Digester Egg Tours at Newtown Creek

Every year, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant hosts its Valentine’s Day tour of the start-of-the-art digester eggs. Who knew so many people wanted to see how sludge gets transformed into better things, but then again–could be a metaphor for romantic hopes in general. Due to popular demand, this tour is already sold out but they have already added an April date, so stay tuned on the DEP website.

10. Launch of Supercinema at the McKittrick Hotel

The team behind Sleep No More is at it again on Saturday February 13th at the McKittrick Hotel with a Baz Luhrmann Romeo & Juliet-inspired party that will kickoff Supercinema, a series of costume parties inspired by iconic films. “Experience the film like never before with a night of dancing, live performances and and open bar,” the event listing describes. While there, don’t miss the rooftop bar – a veritable cabin in the woods during winter.

BonusL Lunar Chinese New Year Festivities

This year, Chinese New Year coincides with Valentine’s Day so if you’re still less inclined for the holiday despite our rather un-Valentine’s Day picks, there will be plenty of dim sum, parades and other festivities for the Chinese holiday around the city. Though festivities begin next weekend, February 6th, the 17th annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival will be held on February 14th.

Next, check out 18 art installations not to miss in NYC this month.