When I moved to New York, I went on lots of dates alone…

At first, I didn’t know many people in the city, and had to go it alone most of the time. It was lonely in the beginning, but it helped me to cultivate a love of my neighborhood and develop other favorite parts of town. The more I did it, the easier it was to do fun things alone. Not unlike dating another person, it’s a great way to get know yourself better and even learn about interests you didn’t know you had. Here are just a few of my go-tos:

The Broadway show
At the beginning of the year, I made a New Year’s Resolution to take myself to a Broadway show once a month. A dear friend had spontaneously gifted me a ticket to see Slave Play and another friend Venmoed me money to buy a cocktail at intermission. It was something I probably wouldn’t have done for myself, but after that experience, I will definitely do it again. It was wonderful to take in the show and afterward, silently mull it over on the train home. Plus, the audience that night was an historical all-black audience. By the end of the night, everyone was buddies with everyone else in their row. I enter the ticket lottery every week, crossing my fingers for my next show — up next: the new West Side Story and Moulin Rouge!

The rooftop picnic
When I moved into my current apartment, I went up to the rooftop and nearly cried. The view of the skyline was so beautiful that I started going up every night to watch the sunset. One evening, I decided to bring my salmon dinner upstairs with a glass of wine. Listening to the city quiet down and all the Mr. Softee trucks lazily roll down my street became the perfect soundtrack to my regular old weekday dinner. Dining alone will always make me think of this scene!

The cocktail and a book
I’ve always admired people who sat at bars solo with a book and their drink of choice. It made me think, “Why haven’t I ever done this?” So, one day after work, I went next door to one of my favorite neighborhood bars, and settled in at a candle-lit community table with a new read and a gin and tonic. It’s easily the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Why do I need another person to enjoy a drink at my favorite bar? Myself and my new novel were plenty company!

The day-saver
A couple summers ago, I experienced an apartment fiasco and had to get an Airbnb for the foreseeable future. A couple days later, after shoving all my belongings into my temporary room, I sat on the bed, defeated. I needed a break from logistics and figuring out the next step. Then suddenly I had a thought. “I’M GOING TO A MUSEUM”, I announced to the empty apartment. I went to MoMA and shut my planning brain off. Allowing myself that afternoon to relax and gaze at Picasso and Cézanne was the perfect remedy.

Where do you like to go on dates alone? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Do or don’t: dining solo and do you have a personal ritual?

(Photo of Frédérique Harrel.)