Engagement Photos: Ninja Style

Liz here.  I was actually involved in the business of engagements long before I became Mom and Dad’s (yes, that would be Marisa and Douglas) faithful minion.   One of my (and my husbands) earliest photography jobs was an engagement shoot.  I don’t mean the posed, smiling “we just got engaged, look at my ring” photos…that would have been too easy!  Our challenge was to literally stalk a couple on their journey through central park taking photos without the fiancée-to-be knowing.

 This involved a lot of sneaking around, pretending to look casual, and of course, hiding in the bushes.  After shooting/stalking them in the lower end of Central Park (Tavern on the Green, Bethesda Fountain, etc), we had to hop in a taxi behind theirs and head uptown to the Conservatory Garden for the actual proposal.  I can’t deny it was fun to rush into the taxi and dramatically yell, “follow that cab!”

 Upon arrival, we split up to catch different angles of the proposal.  There was an awkward moment when fiancée-to-be caught a glimpse of me trying to casually lounge on a bench.  What?  No, that wasn’t me skulking around you in a completely different area of town less than 30 minutes ago, what are you talking about?  I did get a weird look from her, but luckily it passed quickly.

Onto the proposal!  There I was, at a perfect angle as the gentleman got down on one knee.  Of course a giant family group had to pick that moment to pass right next to me and yell, “OH MY GOD IS HE PROPOSING???” and burst into ear-shattering cheers. I managed to click the shutter a few times before diving down into the bushes, scratching my arms on the way down.  Lousy thorns!

Overall that day was a lot of fun despite the blisters, sunburn, and scratches.  Sadly, I no longer have the images from that day.  It was exciting immortalize such a special time in a couple’s life on film.   I also learned that the CIA would probably not be recruiting me any time soon…

Have you ever witnessed a public proposal?

Romantic City: Mihoko’s 21 Grams

For a Romantic evening out, Mihoko’s 21 Grams cannot be topped!

* all images taken from their website *
While most NYC restaurants are designed with their business lunch/dinner clients in mind, I cannot tell you the absolute delight I felt walking into Mihoko’s 21 Grams.  The atmosphere screams, “Forget about work and let’s party in the most exclusive way!”  The decor sets the stage entirely for romance with pastel damask, white tablecloths, and flirtatious Louis XVI accents placed all over the rooms in unique ways.
When describing this room, I say that from the waist down it screams formal, three star french dining.  The tables are sectioned off by wooden screens, paneled with various colors of pastel damask.  The white table cloths are adorned with perfectly placed settings, beautiful cutlery, and elegant china.
 The walls tell a different story, though!  This large, Flatiron loft space is divided into three sections by a large bar in the center.  The walls are embellished with staggered heights of  Rococo paintings, mixed with wooden-framed, garland motif mirrors. The mirrors are consistent with those removed from old Parisian apartments.  They’re all featured whimsically, at playful, staggering heights.
I have to mention the basement bar – OMG!!!  It is papered with life size, black and white photo wallpaper of the walls of Versailles!  The furnishings encourage cozy talks and intimate conversation… so romantic!
The cocktail list is over the moon in uniqueness, featuring inspired combinations of the most delicious ingredients.  Both the food and cocktails are reflective of Mihoko’s (a well known Ballerina in Japan) love of all things French and Japanese.  Therefore, cocktail, dinner and dessert menus are enhanced with Japanese ingredients prepared in modern French ways.
That said, aside from the sushi menu they offer, the food appeared to be mostly modern French to me.
Unless you are coming here for drinks (which I highly recommend) or  dining here for just cocktails and sushi, I think this is more of a special occasion restaurant.  That said, hurry!  Find a special occasion to celebrate and make this your first, most romantic destination!  It’s gorgeous, playful and completely cool all at the same time.
Did I mention the interior designer is Bruno Borrione, a Philippe Stark prodigy?
Love, Marisa

Romantic City: Financial District

On our 11th year after September 11th

I remember every detail of this day as if it were yesterday and actually feel that this should be a national holiday, where we close our business and stay home and grieve for those who did not survive this horrific moment in our American history. When this day comes each year, I am so filled with sadness that I can’t imagine anyone who feels like working and going on with normal day to day activities. That said, I am not sure that those fallen would agree. I think the idea that we would grieve and feel the least bit defeated would simply feed into what the terrorist philosophy wanted. So in all due respect, I have come up with a bitter sweet day or evening of activities which will allow you to honor those you knew, loved or feel compassion for, while, living life and enjoying the beauty that NYC has to offer.

My favorite way to begin the day or evening would be to make arrangements to dine at the restaurant cafe of The World Center Hotel. (for hotel guests primarily, and not completely open to the public, however, they said they can make concessions). Their cafe view over looks the World Trade Center site and will inspire you with the progress made over the last 11 years. You have full view of the magnificent fountains in the foot print of the towers as well as the landscaping, the newer buildings and the updates on the large towers going up. When Liz and I dined there we thought it fun and appropriate to go fully American with Chicken Wings and Sliders which were very special and absolutely delicious! They have a full menu of salads and main courses, as well!  And the cocktails are a bargain and beautifully prepared.

Next store is the W Hotel Downtown, in the event you chose to have drinks before or after. The W is a great place to visit. Other ideas we have are to take a stroll over to Trinity Church, and head over the elevated walk way to the World Financial Center, through the back, to the patio and boating dock. The view is magnificent, and shows off the powerful vibe of NYC architecture in the most awe striking way.

We were disappointed to find that the bar at the top of the Ritz Carlton Downtown is now only available for weddings and private parties, but the concierge recommended to check out the roof top bar at the New Conrad Hotel. I must say, the view did not compare to The Ritz, and the cocktails were pricy but it was a lovely, intimate space, perfect for privacy and romance, with still an incredible view.

May you and your loved ones cherish this day, remember the fallen and make the most of each day we are here to enjoy our gorgeous city. A city perfect for the everyday romantic!

Love, Marisa