How to Navigate the Online Dating Scene in New York City

Did your summer love end with the chill of a fall breeze? Or did you spend last night whining with your girlfriends because you deleted Mr. Wrong from your phone yesterday…for the second time? Well, you may be in luck, because one of these dating websites could open the door to a new online suitor to date offline in the city!

1. Match is the largest online dating website and has a diverse user base. Members have the ability to perform their own searches, which is of course important for making your initial superficial judgments. There is a monthly fee, but many NYC users have raved that this cost is worth it, as they were sick of meeting people in Lower East Side dive bars who completely lack relationship potential.

2. eHarmony also has a large user base, but only for those seeking heterosexual relationships. (eHarmony has created the same-sex dating site Now that NYC has finally made gay marriage legal, keep this website in mind!) eHarmony uses “guided communication” through 256 required questions, covering “core traits” and “vital attributes,” like relationship skills and values. eHarmony is better for older singles who are looking to settle down soon. Guys on this site have not only paid a pretty steep fee — at least more than it would cost for a few vodka sodas to get you tipsy at a club — but they have also taken the time to fill out over 200 questions, and are allowing the matchmakers on the site to pre-select matches for them.

3. OkCupid is a free site, which has grown in popularity, especially in and around the city.  A member can search for singles in their borough or neighborhood and contact them via messages — similarly to Match — but without the cost. Hipsters looking for a brief romance are perfect for this site, however, beware of guys who are only in search of meaningless hookups, if that’s not what you’re looking for.

4. Plenty of Fish is another popular free dating site. You are given 30 matches, after creating a profile, that you would “most likely date.” Again, this cost-free approach leaves this site less exclusive as the pay-per-service platforms. Since signing up is free and easy, there could be a few more losers to weed out of the mix.

5. How About We takes an interesting approach to traditional online dating and is made up of profiles and matchmaking. After creating a brief profile — none of those intense eHarmony guided questions — a member suggests a date (a cooking class; Ice skating in Central Park followed by hot chocolate, etc). Guys and gals alike can ask out someone who proposed a date they would like to go on to enjoy something they have in common together. This approach to the online dating scene is a great way to get to know someone based on their tastes and interests, instead of reading a long paragraph answer to a boring question about emotional traits they’re seeking in a partner.

Ladies and gents of New York City, get online and find the love of your life — or even just a lovely person to spend chilly fall nights with under cozy sheets.

Sarah Shaker is an ex-soap opera producer, living, writing, and dating in the East Village.  After launching Bright Lights, My City, a niche NYC lifestyle blog, she began working in community management and social media.  Sarah is currently working for as the Regional Community Coordinator for, a hyperlocal website connecting neighbors to make their block a better place.

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  • Tara

    Great analysis!! Thru I met a wonderful guy and we’ve been dating for over a year. My BF just got married to her Match! In a busy NYC world, online dating is the most efficient way to meet someone that you already know a little bit about!