Moving to New York? American or not, dating in New York City can be a shock to the system for anyone who isn’t a fully-fledged, self-described, all-out New Yorker. Whether you’re moving from the other side of the world or just a few states away, you’ll be amazed at the differences in the rules of the game.

Ultimately, only one thing can prepare you for dating in NYC: dating in NYC.

  • The skew of the sexes

For reasons way too complex to delve into here, NYC has a pretty astounding gender skew. In his enlightening 2015 book Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, Jon Birger contends that there as many as 200,000 more single women than single men in the Big Apple. What makes NYC so unique is how this gender skew bends the dating game. In most parts of the world, cultural and societal norms that dictate that it is men who pursue and court women. In NYC – not so much! Women outnumber men, which can sometimes lead to the gents not giving a relationship a chance before they move on. This in turn can lead to…

  • Hook-ups galore

Sex and the City was not wrong. Without exaggerating (much), the NYC dating scene is underpinned by a culture of casual amorous relations, an atmosphere of anything-goes. With masses of young, successful, dynamic, intelligent, sexy people crammed together on a tiny island – an island which is itself characterized by bars open until 4am – one-night stands are very much the norm. Last call at the bar? Last sweep of who is going home with whom. Furthermore…

  • To commit or not commit

The combination of hook-up culture and women outnumbering men can lead to a lack of commitment in some men. If men perceive there to be an abundance of women, they may feel less inclined to try as hard as they would anywhere else in the world to make the relationship work. For this reason, even planning date number two might seem like a big step to some guys; they might consider it a far more serious proposition than it actually is! Sometimes, female New Yorkers who are looking for love might feel like they need to compromise on what they really want in a long-term partner – but this isn’t the case. If she makes it clear to whomever she is seeing that she is dating other guys as well, it gives the message to him that other guys are interested in her, and also instils in him a sense of competition, which might be just what he needs in order to actually commit!

  • Don’t confuse casual with cheap

If you’ve just moved to New York from a small town, you could be forgiven for thinking taking your date somewhere like Olive Garden would be perfectly fine – and it may well be, back home. But that won’t cut it here in NYC! In a city where you’re not looking at much change from a twenty for a standard cocktail, even a relatively low-key date night in the Big Apple is going to set you back somewhat – so be prepared. Everyone is in the same boat, though, and many New Yorkers take it in their stride, seeing it just part-and-parcel of the City’s dating scene.

  • The two-river rule

New Yorkers, on the whole, are not fans of commuting. A wonderful quirk of New York City dating, understanding the two-river rule, a specialized slice of etiquette, will distinguish you as a true native. He lives in Manhattan, you live in Williamsburg. For a lot of New Yorkers, crossing East River and the Hudson just for a date would be something of a big deal – you must be pretty into each other.


Do you live in New York? Bored of idle bar chat, uncommitted city-goers, the same old dates night after night? If you’re looking for true love, why not get in touch with Maclynn (formerly Vida)? An international, award-winning NYC matchmaking agency, our network boasts only the most exceptional singletons, both from New York and all over the world, all of them just waiting for that special someone. Call us today.