By Tammy Scileppi
If you heart someone, express your love on Valentine’s Day.
As Feb. 14 draws near chubby Cupid and his fellow cherubim seem to be popping up everywhere. All thanks to King Henry VIII of England, who nominated Saint Valentine so he would spread the love.
Many Queens shop owners have been heralding Cupid’s arrival by stocking store shelves with decorative chocolate heart boxes, plush teddy bears and cutesy gifts and cards. Here and there local restaurants are prepping to offer special menus, while florists are busy arranging gorgeous (spelled “pricey”) bouquets of roses.
Did you know?
Feb. 14 is the most important holiday for florists, accounting for about 32 percent of annual sales. Approximately one billion Valentine cards are exchanged each year — the largest seasonal card-selling occasion after Christmas.
Most Valentine’s Day cards (83 percent) are purchased by women; the rest by men. Half of all consumers prefer to receive a humorous Valentine, followed by a romantic greeting (31percent) and then a more risque card (8.2 percent).
In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. (Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800s).
Pink is said to be connected with Saint Valentine, whose burial may have caused the pink almond tree to blossom. The color of the heart, red, is a symbol of warmth and feeling, while white symbolizes purity and faith.
But red also symbolizes the color of blood.
CHICAGO – Feb. 14, 1929 — The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Popular mobster and former New Yorker Al Capone celebrated V-Day by allegedly ordering hits on seven members of the George “Bugs” Moran North Siders gang.
A media frenzy ensued, focusing on the organized-crime boss and his illegal Prohibition-era activities. The feds redoubled their efforts and eventually found enough incriminating evidence (like tax evasion) to take Capone off the streets. Eventually, he wound up in the slammer at Alcatraz but was released after only 6 1/2 years.
Traditional or not?
Since Saint Valentine is no longer considered just the patron saint of martyred and passionate lovers, friends, parents, kids and everyone in between can equally enjoy hearting each other. Even pets. (Approximately 3 percent of pet owners will give a Valentine’s Day gift to their pet).
Life may be like a box of chocolates, but enlightened Valentine’s Day progressives have come to realize that just a pretty, red heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates won’t cut it in 2013.
So heed this warning: if you haven’t already, you should check out jewelry and department stores for sales on heart pendants and charms or friendship rings; anything sparkly, for that special lady or gent in your life or for mom.
Males tend to spend more money on Valentine’s Day gifts than do females, and are more likely to buy big-ticket items with the average amount spent being $95.
For something handmade but fab, visit: www.etsy.com.
And, if you heart queens, check out: www.cafepress.com/+i-love-queens-new-york+gifts
Long Island City-based artisan, Liza Fiorentinos creates lovely, unique gift items and home accessories (luludi.net).
Celebrating with Queens style
Cabana Nuevo Latino will offer its usual delicious, authentic Cuban cuisine, but will decorate to honor Cupid
107-10 70th Rd., Forest Hills
718-263-3600 (no reservations; always crowded, but worth the wait)
A romantic, elegant restaurant:
The Astor Room
34-12 36th St., Astoria
Featuring a harpist as live music entertainment. $55 Per Person
Celebrate a retro family Valentine’s Day with yummy handmade ice cream, and more treats.
Eddie’s Sweet Shop
105-29 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills
Bring your BF’s to:
Laughing Devil Comedy Club
47-38 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City
Valentine’s Weekend Spectacular
Thursday, 2/14/13 – 8 PM
The ultimate date night, it offers a fantastic lineup of headliners debating the he-said/she-said hilarities of life for $30. Each ticket comes with two soft drinks, glasses of wine, or two of their 14 draft beers. laughingdevil.com/tickets
Girls night out?
At Bayside’s New Orleans-themed sports bar Bourbon Street
40-12 Bell Blvd., Bayside
718-224-2200 (reservations needed)
(see a la carte menu at): www.bourbonstreetny.com/Valentines
Valentine’s Day tea party:
26-11 23rd Ave., Astoria
Feb 13, 2013
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fancy tea party! Come dressed in your finest attire and enjoy snacks, drinks, and lovely violin music. We’ll finish up with some Tea Time stories and make Valentine’s Cards!
$12 dollars, $6 dollars for add’l child (sibling)
Portofino’s is already decorated and will be offering a prix fix menu
109-32 Ascan Ave., Forest Hills
Your choice of Il Toscano will impress your date.
42-05 235th St., Douglaston
(Similar to last year’s menu; flowers for the ladies)
A la carte menu at: iltoscanony.com
It will be hard to keep your dancing feet in your seat while you watch professional tango dancers pick up the tempo at the Thalia Theatre.
41-17 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside
Seva (Indian fare)
30-07 34th St.
(Valentine Day prix fix menu)
Or, how about a romantic candlelit dinner at home? Champagne, dark chocolate and strawberries make elegant treats.
Valentine’s Day is also about celebrating friendship:
A time to show appreciation to those you care about — this way, there’s no reason to feel left out if you don’t have a significant other. Buy flowers, craft a gift, write a poem, share quality time together. It’s not always what you do but who you’re with that really matters.