Danielle and Mark
How We Met
Since the day we met, Mark has been my greatest adventure. One rainy Tuesday in September 2015, we met for “one drink” near NYU, where I was studying to get my Master’s Degree. Mark was working in the city at the time. One drink later, we realized neither of us wanted to leave. Three (maybe four) drinks later, we realized we should both get on our way home, as I was traveling back to Brooklyn and him, to Long Island. Mark insisted on walking me to my bus stop and when we got there, waited with an umbrella over us until my bus pulled up. To this day, we argue over kissed who first as we said goodbye (but it was obviously him). Each year on September 29th, we go back to that same bar, to those same seats and order the same drink.
How They Asked
Our adventure together has introduced us to many new places and experiences, but we often find ourselves going back to the ones we love the most- concerts (Zac Brown Band, specifically), the Barnegat Lighthouse, Brooklyn Bridge Park, on a bike exploring a new city, or hiking our way up to a mountaintop- especially if it’s Bear Mountain.
After a busy start to the school year (I’m a Special Education teacher in Brooklyn), I was craving an escape. Weekend after weekend, we found ourselves running from wedding to birthday to work event, with not much time in between. While we enjoy every minute that we are fortunate to spend with our family and friends, I couldn’t wait to have a weekend with no plans, where we could escape and enjoy a day outside of the city. A three- day weekend was approaching with nothing on our calendars! Unbeknownst to me, Mark already had plans in the works, assuming that I would ask him to go to Bear Mountain that weekend (I guess I am predictable). He was right. By the middle of the week, I had already proposed the idea, “We have no plans this weekend! Do you want to go for a hike?”. Mark played it cool, saying “Sure. We can do that.” Saturday morning came and, naturally, I woke up by 7 AM, ready to head out. With his (secret) schedule in place, Mark kept stalling me. While it had crossed my mind that at some point Mark might think to propose at Bear Mountain, the Lighthouse or Brooklyn Bridge Park, I was convinced that I had planned this trip, so it couldn’t have been today! We packed up our backpacks (donuts, included), layered up (it was a cold one) and got on the road.
We began our hike, after finding our usual hiking sticks and deciding which trail we wanted to take. The hike was like any other (maybe a bit colder), complete with laughs and chats, and stop to take in the view. We got to Perkins Memorial Tower at the summit of Bear Mountain just before 2 PM. I was adjusting my layers and saw Mark fidgeting in his bag, but didn’t think anything of it. We walked up to a rock where we usually take a rest, before eating our sandwiches (which we also didn’t bring this time…). We put down our bags and sticks and took in the view. Mark began saying something to me, but I looked down and realized that my shoe was untied, as we stood at the tip of the rock! I bent over to tie my shoe and stood back up as Mark began talking again. When I looked back down, I realized my OTHER shoe was untied.
Not realizing, at this point, that there was a photographer standing a few feet behind us and not realizing that Mark was waiting for me to stand still, I bent down to tie my other shoe (Sorry, Mark!). When I had no more shoes to tie, Mark told me that there was a reason he brought me here today. My first thought was, “Wait a minute, I think I brought YOU here today.” It was then that Mark got down on one knee, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.
Excited, surprised and really confused, I responded, Is this a joke?!, but when I turned back and saw Sabrina taking pictures of us, I realized that “my plan to go hiking” was really all part of Mark’s plan. The answer was an easy YES. We spent the next half hour or so taking pictures and soaking at the moment. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I turned around to see both of our families running towards us with balloons and an “Engaged” banner.
Overwhelmed with love and excitement (and still confusion), we spent some more time taking group pictures on the top of the mountain. In between pictures, I kept trying to ask all of my questions to figure out how they pulled this all off! We spent that night celebrating over dinner and a toast with our families before they left to go home. At the Inn, Mark and our families had a room decorated with pictures and decorations to celebrate our engagement. We woke up to the power outage, leaving us no option but to enjoy a bottle of wine, fireside in the lodge, with my now fiancé. This guy, who I am lucky to spend the rest of my life with, had truly pulled off the most beautiful and thoughtful proposal I could have ever imagined.