Let's be honest: Dating in this big apple of a city is anything but easy — even for guys, who at least have the ratio scale in their favor (FYI: there are nearly 400,000 more women than men in New York, according to the Department of City Planning). But especially in urban environments, online and app dating has become the new normal. It's an easier, faster and more convenient way of meeting people. It also sensibly gives you the opportunity to narrow down what you're looking for in a partner — whether it's just for the night or potentially for the long haul.
Either way, with eight million people and dozens of dating apps in this big city, there are more than enough opportunities to find someone you're truly compatible with. So instead of trolling the same old bars or throwing in the towel and catching up on your Netflix queue, try these seven vetted and viable dating solutions.
1. In Real Life
If coming up with new and creative one-liners to lure in someone whose interest in you goes far beyond your witty, non-murder-y talents is getting old, not to fear. Believe it or not, it's still possible to meet a single, eligible and baggage-less broad in the big city (seriously it happens every day). And, while Meetup is a great way to meet and connect with people in the flesh, it's not the only way. The city is filled with intramural sports leagues and programs like Zog Spots, NYC Social Sports Club and NoPro Sports. In fact, the company you work for might even have a team, and most of the time they cover the cost of their employees.
This might not be the newest dating site or app to hit the market (Zoosk has been around since 2007), but it's definitely still a top contender. The appeal is generally based on its user-friendly interface and seamless matchmaking ability. You don't have to fill out a 3 hour-long questionnaire or spend a week trying to get the hang of it. You also don't have to worry about doing all the heavy lifting. Since it's a gender-equal site, women put as much effort into finding a match as men. It also weeds out any fakes or catfish by verifying your phone number and photos, which it does by opening your camera and prompting you to stare straight ahead, to the right and then the left. With a free membership, you can create a profile and search for possible matches, but they tend to make it pretty tricky to actually communicate with others unless you're paying for a membership which you can score for as little as $12.49 a month (with their 12-month plan).
Learn more at Zoosk
Read our full Zoosk review
Quite possibly the most well-known dating site and app out there today (thanks, in part, to their fairly relatable nationwide television ads), Match has consistently sailed to the top of the best online dating lists. One key reason why is their always-improving technology and innovative new features, like Missed Connections, which they just recently launched in early 2017. The location-based feature is ideal for city dwellers, New Yorkers in particular, because it allows users to see other members they've crossed paths with IRL — kind of bridging the gap (or at least blurring the lines) between online dating and real-life meeting. Match's top-notch matching capabilities aren't too shabby either, taking into consideration the features, attributes, qualities, etc. that you indicate you're looking for.
Learn more at Match
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With 17 years of experience in their back pocket, eHarmony's matching system just works. It's comfortable with its reputation as the site for finding true, lasting love, which may be one of the reasons it's remained a world leader in the online dating industry for nearly two decades. The appeal is their 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility matching system that analyzes factors such as complementary traits, similarities, differences, etc. Its approach is unique and 100% customized to the individual user in that it only allows you to see other users who it deems would make a good match for you. This means no browsing, searching or scrolling necessary, so your index finger can enjoy a well-deserved break. How many matches you'll see will be based on how frequently you use the site.
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Considering almost every single and eligible bachelorette in New York City and the rest of the universe has this app in a dating folder on their smartphone, OkCupid comes in clutch for urban daters. It's garnered a solid reputation over the years as a safe, reliable and relatively enjoyable online dating experience. Signup requires basic information entered through a series of yes or no questions that are later used to determine your compatibility with others. If you've used it in the past, you'll find that its platform and features have gone relatively unchanged, which goes to show its time-tested online dating experience is one that just works.
Learn more at OkCupid
Read our full OkCupid review
Non-commitment-o-phobs (to dating sites, that is) and those sick of paying membership fees will love Mingle2, which is 100% free. Its signup process is also one you can breeze through, requiring just 30 seconds-worth of deets on the homepage (email address, DOB, sexual orientation — the usual). Once you create a username and password, add some primary interests and confirm your city, you're good to go — even uploading a photo is optional. You can go ahead and add as much information as you like in their open-ended bio section or instantly get started by picking one of their discovery options of mutual matching or the traditional search route. Their search features are anything but broad, allowing you to search by name, username, active user, etc. You can also request to be matched with someone. Another one of their top features, known as Mutual Match, is essentially a game of "hot or not," which allows you to vote yes, no, or maybe on profiles it shows you.
Learn more at Mingle2
Read our full Mingle2 review
This app — scratch that, online social networking portal — isn't just for online dating, though it does a pretty damn good job at improving your chances of meeting someone naturally whom you actually can stand for longer than a 30-minute date, which may be part of its charm, since there's no dating involved. The company was founded in NYC back in 2002 and since has become a way for organizers to manage the many functions associated with in-person meetings of all kinds. Users simply enter their zip code, tag topics they're interested in, be it sports and fitness, writing and literature, sci-fi and gaming, LGBTQ or many others. They create or locate a group to arrange a place to meet and that's where the magic happens. It's free of charge for individual users, though Meetup does charge organizers fees to create and manage groups.
Learn more at Meetup
Another seemingly obvious method is to put down your phone. Literally. When you're out at that bar waiting for your friend to arrive, shake off the temptation to find social comfort in your newsfeeds and instead take a look around. Engage in conversation with that cute girl with her head in her smartphone. On that same note, when you do meet someone, don't swipe left too quickly. The temptation to find something better instead is real, especially with the plethora of online sites and apps at your fingertips, but try to ease up on your craving for instant gratification. If your goal is a long-term relationship, or even marriage, let go of your intuition to press fast forward to see where it will go. Letting things develop naturally, which may mean slowly, is a more realistic approach to finding out whether or not things are meant to be.