Just ahead of Valentine’s Day last year, Victor Lee, a 28-year-old clothing manufacturer from Manhattan, noticed something missing from social media: true love.
Sure, his timelines were flooded with sappy posts featuring gushy PDA by lovestruck Gen Z’ers and starry-eyed newlyweds.
But Lee, who’s been with his girlfriend for five years, was looking for more substantive content — videos that celebrated romances that have stood the test of time.
So, he tapped childhood pal Aaron Feinberg, 28, a WeWork hospitality specialist, who looped in his buddy Jeremy Bernstein, 29, an on-the-street renewable energy salesman from Brooklyn.
The friends created the TikTok and Instagram accounts @MeetCutesNYC, which has amassed a combined 1.2 million followers.
The trio interviews NYC couples on the street, asking people how they met their longtime significant other.
“None of us have a background in social media,” said Lee, who edits their accounts’ videos — some which have scored upwards of 14 million views on TikTok.
“But whenever I meet a new couple, I love asking, ‘How’d you guys meet?’” he told The Post. “They’re always fun and engaging stories that are full of surprises.”
Feinberg, who serves as cameraman and used his iPhone to tape the early anecdotes, says he and the team felt they’d struck social media gold on day one.
“The first couple we spoke to were incredibly welcoming and open. We immediately knew we had something,” he said,.
The guys, each of whom still works at a full-time job, shoot content all over Manhattan in their off hours.
However, they’ve bookmarked the corner of Greene Street and Broome Street in Soho as the best high-foot-traffic locale for chatting with sweethearts out for a leisurely stroll.
And Bernstein, the off-camera interviewer, tells The Post his impromptu probes aren’t solely about entertaining those on social media.
The subjects of the sidewalk talks get to enjoy some nostalgia.
“Couples get a chance to think about the beginning of their relationship, something some of them haven’t thought about in 40 years, and it’s really special for them,” he said. “People find love and connection at all ages and in so many different ways.”
Here are a few of MeetCutesNYC’s cutest stories.
Karla Lightfoot-Briggs, a 50-something hypnotherapist from Murray Hill, first locked eyes with Jeffery Briggs across a crowded room while waiting in line to embrace South Indian spiritual leader Amma, best known as “The Hugging Saint,” in July 2008.
“I noticed her,” Briggs, who works in pharmaceutical marketing, told The Post. “Eventually we were seated next to each other and we talked for the rest of the night until 8:00 in the morning.”
The pair were engaged by December 2008 and tied the knot in October 2010. Sharing their story was thought-provoking.
“The experience invited us to really look at what brought us together,” Lightfoot-Briggs said. “It helped us acknowledge who we are [to one another].”
He choo-choo-chose her
David, a former train operations supervisor at Grand Central Station, first saw blond bombshell Bonnie 30 years ago, spotting her through the one-way window in his office as she walked down a station platform. He told MeetCutesNYC, “The next day, I put the train on the same track so I could see her again. Then I did it a third time. Finally, I was putting every train on that track to make sure I [saw her].”
He eventually asked Bonnie, who was initially unaware of his train track trickery, on a date and they’ve been married for 20 years.
All the signs were there
Jamil, a deaf sign language instructor in Manhattan, set his sights on Angela, a Brooklyn preschool teacher who isn’t hearing impaired, after she enrolled in his signing class for work. Once Angela had completed the course, they started dating and they’ve been going strong for four years. “Our languages are different. Our worlds are different. But we still connected,” Jamil signed in a social media post as Angela interpreted.
Sock it to me, babe
Ty Watts is convinced that her husband, Brandon, mistook her for the sister of ‘90s R&B singer Coko when they first met at a wedding 20 years ago. At the time, she was 18 and he was 19. But Brandon says it was Ty’s natural beauty, rather than her resemblance to a celebrity, that drew him in. “I was immediately attracted to her,” he said. “I knew she was the one right away.” And Ty fell for Brandon just as fast — even though he wore two pair of socks to boost his height on their first date. “He gives me tall man energy,” she joked. The lovebirds share two sons and look forward to someday being grandparents.
Hairs looking at you, kids
Shawna didn’t like Meekie Young when the two first met as cosmetology school classmates in August 2011. The Brooklynite thought the native Louisianan was “too cocky,” when it came to her barbering skills. But after getting a glimpse of Meekie’s kind heart in class, Shawna found herself head over heels in love. “I joke that I’m the best thing that Shawna got out of hair school,” Meekie, 39, told The Post. “But really, she was the best thing I got.” The couple, who live in Jersey City, New Jersey, exchanged vows in October 2018, and now share a toddler son and daughter. “Every day I look at my wife and I’m like, ‘Wow, I really married this girl,’ Shawna, 33, a stay-at-home-mom, told The Post. “We have a beautiful story and we are happy to share it.”
It was Anthony’s fancy footwork that first left Timmy wonderstruck 17 years. The two, who hadn’t previously met, were both partying at one of the city’s choice gay clubs when Timmy became entranced by his soon-to-be hubby’s mesmerizing moves. “I saw him dancing and I went up to him,” said Timmy. “And here we are.” The duo said “I do” eight years ago. Anthony says a willingness to “go with the flow” is what’s kept them together.
An ideal arrangement
Muthanna and Fajer didn’t follow the timeworn “first comes love, then comes marriage” trope. The Kuwaiti couple, who recently visited their children in New York, had an arranged marriage, as is common in their culture. They say it’s made their partnership strong. “We never hide anything [from one another],” Muthanna said. “Whenever we see in each other that there is some problem,” he continued before Fajer chimed in, “We solve it directly.”
Drop it like it’s hot honeys
Just hours before DJ’ing a party hosted by Snoop Dogg, Shiron attended a housewarming party, where he met his would-be wife, Anya. Unfortunately for Shiron, Anya didn’t speak any English at the time, and wasn’t impressed by his gig with the “Drop It Like It’s Hot” hitmaker.
But 15 years later, the pair are a permanent item. “He never stops growing. He’s always evolving,” says Anya of her hubby when asked her favorite thing about him. And Shiron commended his bride on her cooking and parenting skills, adding, “She listens. She’s gorgeous and she’s sensitive.”