Once upon a time in Manhattan, two strangers swiped right.
“Dating & New York,” a modern-day romantic comedy about relationships in an app-dominated age, comes to theaters on Sept. 10. Writer and director Jonah Feingold — who wanted to create a romantic comedy that was both “timeless” and “modern” — fused elements of traditional rom-coms with modern-day technology for his story.
“I’d never seen just a movie that explores what happens on the phone screen,” the 31-year-old New York native told The Post of today’s complex dating world, and the idea behind his directorial debut.
“Dating & New York” explores the minutiae of dating technology and the nuances of social media, like checking someone’s Instagram grid to see if they’re single, the fear of double-texting [texting more than once without a reply] and debating how long you’re supposed to wait to respond to whoever you’re talking to.
“The rules are changing,” Feingold said. “You can say a lot with a text message, and even more by viewing someone’s story on Instagram.”
“Dating & New York,” which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June, follows two single millennials: Milo, played by Jaboukie Young-White, who is most known for his role in “Someone Great” and as a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” and Wendy, played by Francesca Reale, who was in the third season of “Stranger Things.” The duo first meets through a dating app called Meet Cute, and they eventually become friends with benefits after trying and failing in the New York City dating arena.
The film takes place in Manhattan, but because it was an indie film on a budget, Feingold said finding locations to shoot scenes took some creativity. One of his friends owns the bar August Laura — located right around the corner from Tompkins Square Park — that Feingold used as a first-date spot, a brunch location and as a comedy club. But he also picked places that felt iconic to New York, as well as locations that sparked ideas for the script.
“I was at Tompkins Square Park and literally, when I was walking through, I saw like five couples breaking up,” he said. “So I took out my Notes app on my phone and wrote it down in our list of locations.”
Later, the park became the backdrop to a scene when Milo and Wendy are making fun of other couples breaking up.
Beyond the what the city had to offer, Feingold also looked to his own life and his cinematic idols for ideas.
Feingold, a fan of Nora Ephron films such as “You’ve Got Mail,” also lists classics including “His Girl Friday” and “The Shop Around the Corner” as inspirations. He said he grew up watching Disney movies, as well as early 2000s hits such as “27 Dresses” and “Notting Hill.”
For the storyline, he drew inspiration from his own experience with dating apps and luck and misfortune within the realm of dating technology.
“The movie is sort of supposed to make a point that says the less games you play, the more likely you are to probably succeed as a couple,” he said. “The more authentic you are on the app, the more likely you are to find somebody who you will like.”
When watching the movie, Feingold wants his audience to first smile and then feel less alone in the dating vortex. While trying to find “the one” might be daunting and overwhelming, he wants viewers to know that we’re all in it together.
“We’re all trying to figure out this sort of new, modern landscape of romance,” he said. “The movie is supposed to act as a time capsule for this era of dating, and it’s all going to be okay.”
Jonah’s Top 3 dating hot spots in NYC
Located on the Upper East Side, Feingold calls this place his “home.” JG Melon is his favorite spot for anything — whether it’s a date or a meal with family and friends. It’s cash only, but don’t worry if you forget some dollar bills, as there’s an ATM right across the street. Dubbed a “saloon with food,” JG Melon is the ultimate day-to-night Manhattan haunt.
1291 3rd Ave.
Sauced is a place Feingold said he “will forever love.” It’s a wine bar with great music and a “really cool vibe.” Located in Williamsburg, the local bar and restaurant is menu-free, only serving daily specials. It has a wide array of wines, but is walk-in only, so plan accordingly.
331 Bedford Ave.
The Lot Radio
Also located in Brooklyn, the Lot Radio began as just a radio station and expanded into a low-key, all-dirt patio with food and drinks. There’s no hassle or line, Feingold said, which is why he likes it so much. He even had his birthday party there so that everyone could celebrate together and not have to worry about getting in.
17 Nassau Ave.
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