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Couples married over 50 years advise NYC daters on Valentine’s Day

couples-married-over-50-years-advise-nyc-daters-on-valentine’s-day
Couples married over 50 years advise NYC daters on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day comes just once a year — but for these folks, love is forever.

More than 60 long-time couples showed up at Empire Steakhouse in Midtown for a vow renewal ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the day and tell how they’ve managed to keep the flame alive.  

Among them were George Templeton, 80, and his his bride of 56 years, Elaine, 77, — who recalled the their first meeting as if it happened yesterday.

“The minute I saw her, she was the prettiest girl in the neighborhood. How could I not marry her?” George, told the Post as he sat at a table locking eyes on Elaine.

Couples renew vows on Valentine's Day.

Mayor Eric Adam’s Chief Advisor, Ingrid Lewis, officiated the group vow renewal ceremony. James Messerschmidt

Carol and Gregory Harris were one of the many couples that vow renewal ceremony James Messerschmidt

He had one easy bit of advice for newlyweds on how to make it last — don’t be so picky.

“The reason marriages don’t work with the young people today is because they’re looking for everything to be absolutely perfect. It’s not a perfect world. There’s good and bad, and you have to accept it all,” George said. 

Couple poses for photo during Valentine's Day vow renewal ceremony.

George and Elaine Templeton have been married 56 years. James Messerschmidt

Former Congressman George Hochbrueckner, 85, and his wife Carol, 83, first met at a dance at Stony Brook college in 1960.

Carol said George’s dancing skills stood out to her. He was dancing “the Lindy.”

“It was a fast dance,” George explained.

Couple of 62 years holds wedding photograph.

George and Carol Hochbrueckner have stayed married 62 years. James Messerschmidt

The Templeton couple also had their vows renewed at James Messerschmidt

Their marriage wasn’t guaranteed from the start– at least for Carol.

“I wasn’t too sure about him initially. He was a little arrogant,” Carol told a Post reporter of her husband in his younger years.

“Probably my time in the Navy,” George quipped. But the former sailor said he knew about Carol right away.

“When I first met her I said to her friend, ‘I’m going to marry that girl.’ She didn’t know that at the time, but that was my intention. So I guess it was love at first sight for me. But I had to work on her,” George said.

James Messerschmidt

James Messerschmidt

Eventually George won over Carol, and they went on to share a union that’s lasted 62 years.

“We went on a few dates and probably three months into the dating I knew I loved him,” Carol said.

The Hochbrueckners credited having a good sense of humor for their longtime union– plus love and respect.

“It still comes down to the basic formula. Love, respect and have a good sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself,” George said of how he and Carol have stayed married this long.

James Messerschmidt

They joined the 59 other couples in a group vow renewal ceremony officiated by Mayor Eric Adam’s Chief Advisor, Ingrid Lewis.

The event, sponsored by Empire Steakhouse, included a cake and food. Many of the couples brought old wedding photos and dressed in red for the romantic day including Alice and Fred Massa. Both of the 72-year-olds advised those looking for love to not be afraid to date their opposite.

Couple dances during vow renewal ceremony.

Alice and Fred Massa, both 72, advised those looking for love to not be afraid to date their opposite. James Messerschmidt

James Messerschmidt

James Messerschmidt

“The only two things we had in common — we always joke about it— are our morals and that we love to eat,” Fred said.

The couple, in the car on a trip back from Montreal a few months into dating, decided to tackle the opposites attract adage head on. 

“On the trip back from Montreal we realized that we didn’t have too much in common. So we made a list of 23 things that I had done that he had never done, or that he loved and I had never done, and we decided to buy tickets for those things. I did the Broadway tickets, and he bought hockey tickets. And we said, when the 23 things are done, we’ll see if this works. And by the time the 23 things were done we got married at the New York Botanical Garden,” Alice said. 

Couples renew vows on Valentine's Day.

Mayor Eric Adam’s Chief Advisor, Ingrid Lewis, officiated the group vow renewal ceremony. James Messerschmidt

“She took me to the ballet and it was Mikhail Baryshnikov. I’m looking at this guy flying through the air and I’m like is he on some kind of rope or something? And that was my first introduction to ballet. Now we always go to ballet,” Fred said.

“We opened ourselves physically to new things and our hearts opened,” he said. 

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