Single In The ’Burbs

How do Westchester singles find love—or ­something reasonably close? It’s not as bleak as you might think. Before you give up on the county and head for Manhattan, read on.

Single In The ’Burbs

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How do Westchester singles find love—or ­something reasonably close? It’s not as bleak as you might think. Before you give up on the county and head for Manhattan, read on.


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Dating in Westchester. Just the thought of it elicits a chuckle, particularly from those of us who swore we would never leave Manhattan. According to the 2000 Census, nearly 56 percent of Westchester’s population over age 15 is currently married, leaving roughly 44 percent of the never-married, separated, divorced or widowed population to choose from. So, how do Westchester singles look for love—or something reasonably close?

It’s a lot like looking for a job, experts say. You probably won’t find your dream job by simply sending out resumes or answering the want ads any more than you’ll meet Mr. or Ms. Right through or (although it is a hoot to check out those sites). You have to be creative and you have to be proactive. Rather than trolling the bars or scanning the personal columns, the best advice is to get out and do what you enjoy anyway. Odds are good that you’ll eventually meet someone who shares the same interests.


Dr. Edward Petrosky, a member of the Psychology Department at Iona College, believes that personality is the key to a healthy dating life. “A socially active, extroverted person will most likely meet many people in any setting, whereas a person with strong social anxiety may have difficulty meeting people—even if he or she is in the hottest night club.”


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Merna Popper, the former publisher of Women’s News, is a case in point. Married twice, she is now dating a younger man she met while teaching a writing class at Westchester Community College. In between husbands, she has never lacked for male companionship. “I think the best way to meet a man is in the normal course of life,” she says. “Once, I met a lovely man in an office building in White Plains. He held the elevator door for me, we flirted and went out a few times. Another time a friend and I had dinner at a restaurant and two lovely men were seated at a table right next to ours. We chatted, and they ended up leaving with our check—and my phone number. You never know where you will find friendship, and maybe love.” Does this lucky-in-love woman have any advice for the love lorn? “Be fearless, don’t listen to your mother and always talk to strangers,” she says. “They won’t be strangers very long.”


For those less outgoing than Popper, joining a group or organization may be a better way to meet people in the suburbs. “Joining health clubs, churches, hiking or biking clubs, taking dance lessons as opposed to going to a disco are ways of finding people with similar interests,” says Cynthia Haupt, a psychotherapist in Cross River who also offers workshops for people after divorce. But however you choose to go about looking for a companion, you have to take action. “Prince Charming isn’t going to knock on the door,” says Dail Metzger, owner of The Singles Network, a dating service with an office in Hartsdale and three offices in Fairfield County.


“The benefit to dating services is that it’s a great way to get out and have a social life without wasting time on inappropriate matches,” says Metzger who notes that her business has tripled over the past 12 years. While she believes that the best way to meet people is through friends and family, she points out that most people today live away from their families and don’t have time to socialize with neighbors. So her service, she says, acts as a surrogate family, pairing up eligible men and women. Has it worked for her? “I can’t date my inventory,” she demurs.


Meeting new people over an excellent meal is the goal of the Single Gourmet, says Nancie Hart, who started the Westchester branch of this nationwide club seven years ago. “Men come because they like the idea that they can dine with ladies and not have to date them immediately,” she says. “And the divorced ladies like to come because when they were married, they were used to going to very nice restaurants.” The group’s activities include sit-down dinners in gourmet restaurants as well as events that feature live music, dancing and travel, which appeal to a younger crowd. “Our younger members like the upscale restaurants too, because they may be dating guys who can’t afford to take them,” she says. “They pay their own fare and have a lovely evening.”


Roberta Sherman, a member of the Single Gourmet who lives just south of the Westchester border, enjoys the cozy atmosphere of the dinners. “I’ve met really nice people—men and women—through the Single Gourmet. Everybody is sociable, and I tend to see people again, making it easier to build friendships.” And Then, There’s

Always the City


“For young people, if they’re not into going to bars, it is very hard to meet people,” says Diane Murphy, a psychologist in Katonah. “They come back from college and don’t necessarily want to resort to their high-school friends. Many end up going into the city.”

Elizabeth McSpedon, 27, a teacher from Yonkers, who loves living in Westchester, concedes that she goes into Manhattan to meet people. “Yonkers and White Plains have high concentrations of bars,” she says. But since Westchester is a smaller community, she “tends to bump into the same people all the time,” she says. “In Manhattan, you never know who you’re going to meet.”


Newly single people face additional challenges. “When people get divorced and want to meet people, all of a sudden they are thrown back into adolescence,” Haupt says. “All the issues they had back then, come back.” Great, now we get to experience teenage angst without the benefit of youth. Parents in particular have to walk a fine line between meeting their own needs for companionship and their children’s needs. “It’s always going to be a juggling act,” Haupt says.


Media and High-Tech Dating


Personal ads have gained a certain quirky respectability—New York magazine even includes pictures of prospective dates in its columns; no more hiding behind the anonymity of a P.O. box. And online dating is gaining momentum as people who are pressed for time and living in less-than-fertile hunting grounds flock to sites like and


Diane Murphy is “amazed at the number of people who make connections on the Internet,” not just through the dating sites, but also through the high-school-reunion sites. “Westchester is such a family-oriented community that it is really hard for divorced or widowed people to get out of that mode, particularly during the first year. This is a safe way for someone new to dating to get in touch with an old high-school or college sweetheart,” she says.


Everyone has heard horror stories of online dating, but surely, given its popularity, it must be worthwhile for some. Kathleen Roldan at, who has possibly the coolest job title in the world, the Director of Dating, says there are 300,000 singles (oh, and probably a few not so single) in the New York metropolitan area that have a profile on the service.


Jane (not her real name), 27, an attractive blonde who lives in White Plains, says she has no problem finding men to date. So why does she go online? “I decided to try after my girlfriend met her husband through a similar service. My other two girlfriends just got engaged to guys they met online,” she says. Besides, she’s too busy to spend nights at clubs or go skiing for singles weekends. “I have a full-time job,” Jane continues, “I’m starting my own company and hate being picked up in bars. The fantastic thing about is you can search through hundreds of profiles, look at pictures, income, education, hobbies—you can actually ‘prequalify’ before you decide to meet someone in person. I was surprised how many gorgeous, successful men are using, and most of them for the same reason—they are tired of the bar scene, too. It’s a lot of fun and a great alternative to blind dates.”


There’s one problem though. Some of those “gorgeous” people lie about themselves. One man she met through the site confided that he agreed to meet a young woman without seeing her picture, and it turned out she was more like size 14 (not 4 as she claimed to be). And after five minutes of conversation, she told him she felt comfortable enough with him to tell him her secrets such as “I tried to kill myself at college…twice.” Next!

“I never thought I’d be doing this,” says Julie, 28, also of White Plains, who has had “lots of first dates” through “I am not a bar-scene type of girl. And I know this does work—I just haven’t found the perfect match for me yet.”


Editor’s note: As we went to press, Jane called to tell us she finally met her “100 percent match”—just in time for Valentine’s Day WHERE SINGLES MEET


If hitting the bars was good enough for baby

boomers, it should be good enough for their kids. 

Here are some of the hotter spots:


Dance Fever


Pearl (

107 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains

; 683-8888). Two dance rooms: DJs spin hip-hop music in one room, and a mix of tunes in the other. Don’t go on an empty stomach since this place serves primarily beer and bar chow. Open until 4 a.m.; happy hour Fridays from 5-9 p.m. Needless to say this
place attracts a young,
energetic crowd.


The Thirsty Turtle Bar (

201 East Post Road, White Plains

; 993-0505). Definitely a place for people who want to party. Live bands rock the house on Thursdays and Saturdays, DJ spins dance music on Fridays to the wee hours. You always can check out the other bars in the area.


Mar D’s (

219 Main Street

, Eastchester; 961-1111). A cozy, fine-dining Italian restaurant, but on Friday nights, the back opens up to make way for live musical entertainment featuring Frank Sinatra songs and other smooth sounds from the era. The crowd, mostly in their 40s and 50s, are free to get up from their tables and boogie.


Music and Food


Trotters restaurant & lounge (

175 Main Street, White Plains

; 421-5012). You can enjoy a fine Italian meal every day of the week (except Sundays when it’s closed) and listen to cool sounds. The older crowd also enjoys live bands on Fridays and a jazz band on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays after 10 p.m., a DJ appeals to people in their 20s and 30s. Closed Sundays.


The Bayou (

580 Gramatan Avenue

, Mt. Vernon; 668-2634). Live bands belt out blues, zydeco and funk music from Thursdays to Saturdays in this Cajun/Creole restaurant. Want to know if romance is in your future? Check out the fortune-teller on Wednesdays. Special Mardi Gras bands from Louisiana appear
this month.


The City at the Ramada Inn (1 Ramada Plaza, New Rochelle; 576-4141). This martini lounge/restaurant/disco attracts the 25- to 40-year-old crowd. On Fridays and Saturdays, either a live band or DJ plays tunes from the ’70s up to today’s hits.


Irish pubs


Rory Dolan’s (

890 McLean Avenue, Yonkers

; 776-2946). In a strip of

McLean Avenue

lined with Irish pubs, this one features a young and lively crowd. A DJ or band plays disco music on Thursdays and Sundays while there’s traditional Irish music on Mondays. Also recommended are Rockin’ robin’s bar & restaurant (

942 McLean Avenue, Yonkers

; 237-0202) and Dooley Mac’s Publick House (

179 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains

; 428-0211)


› › › Chains

T.G.I. Friday’s (825 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale; 722-4088); Bennigan’s (2 Executive Boulevard, Yonkers; 966-1100) These chain restaurants may seem more like family establishments than a singles’ bar, but 20- to 30-something singles still come here to hang out with their friends. With their generous food servings and extensive drink menu, it’s a good place to chill. Oh, and Bennigan’s holds a karaoke night with a DJ every Thursday.


Mighty Joe Young’s (

610 West Hartsdale Avenue, White Plains

; 428-6868). You just might catch jungle fever at this gorilla-inspired bar. Order a buffalo or ostrich steak and wash it down with a Funky Monkey Frozen Banana Daiquri. There are no live bands on weekends, but with its tiki bar and extensive list of creatively named cocktails, this place is a chimp, I mean, champ.


On Tap


The Black Bear Saloon (formerly McFadden’s,

166 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains

, 422-3270). This place hops, especially during happy hour on Thursdays and Fridays—over 25 corporate crowd.


Tap House Café (

13 Adams Street, Bedford

Hills; 244-8591). Good music here—it’s the kind of place where people get up and start dancing spontaneously.


CaféNani (

182 East Post Road, White Plains

; 287-0157). Like the Tap House, with a crowd in the upper 20s and 30s.


the Lazy Boy Saloon & ale house (

154 Marmaroneck Avenue, White Plains

; 761-0272). A big crowd plus 400 types of beer and pub food.


Novita caffe bar (

93 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains

; 397-2292). Plush couches where you can lay back and have a drink. 


Central Square Café (

870 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale

; 472-7828) has a decent scene at the bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.


Fairfield County


The Loft Martini Lounge (

97 Washington Street, South Norwalk

; 203-838-6555). The Loft is in the center of SoNo—Fairfield’s singles mecca.


Temple Bar (

120 Bedford Street, Stamford

; 203-708-9000). A genial Irish pub atmosphere with pub grub and live entertainment including Irish folk, jazz and acoustic music.


Dome (

253 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich

; 203-661-3443).
The regulars call it the “Do Me.”  ‘Nuff said.

Cynthia Macapagal Covey


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