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Largest Mistletoe in NYC Prompts Flatiron Kissathon

By Mary Johnson | December 13, 2011 7:04am | Updated on December 13, 2011 7:05am

FLATIRON — There was some serious smooching going on beside the Flatiron building on Monday, as men and women, babies and dogs, gathered under New York City’s largest mistletoe.

Staffers from a new dating website called FindYourFaceMate.com suspended massive balls of the kiss-inducing greenery from oversized candy canes in the pedestrian plaza at East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Passersby were then invited to stand under the provocative plant and kiss — for a cause.

For every lip lock up to 20,000 kisses, organizers agreed to donate $1 to Operation Smile, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children with facial deformities.

“We’re trying to bring love to New York one kiss at a time,” said Chip Sleeper, president of the new dating website.

Over the course of its first day on the streets of Manhattan, the mistletoe, created by Tudor City-based florist Michael George, attracted a bus full of 60 tourists, who lined up to cross “kiss” off their list of things to do in the Big Apple.

There was also love shown for pets and memorable mistletoe canoodling.

Parents Rob Sosin and Shay Costello Sosin gave their three-month-old son Lyric Woolworth Sosin kisses in unison underneath the mistletoe on Monday. Shay said the kiss was her first under mistletoe, something her husband debated. 

“That’s not true,” Rob said. “We’ve kissed under the mistletoe.”

“We have?” Shay asked, before adding with a smirk, “apparently one that was more memorable for him than me.”

Brooke Elkin, 43, stopped by with her dog, Fenway, to share a few furry kisses, which Elkin said was a first. She said she has never kissed anyone under the mistletoe.

“Definitely not Fenway,” she added. “Definitely not a dog.”

The purpose of the event was part do-gooding and Christmas cheer and part promotion for the dating site, which currently has about 46,000 members and makes romantic matches using facial recognition technology.

“We believe that people are attracted to people who have similar facial features as themselves,” said the site's founder Christina Bloom.

“Many scientists have done studies to attest to this theory,” she added. “We’re hoping that people catch on.”

Throughout the day, Bloom asked couples to kiss in front of a videographer and then pose side by side, pointing out similarities between couples as she spotted them.

One such couple was Amanda Corbyn, 27, and David Bertok, 30, who shared a few smooches before parting lips.

“I believe they are attracted to each other because they pretty much look the same,” Bloom said. “You’re twins?”

Corbyn laughed before clarifying, “No.”

The mistletoe will be hung in the pedestrian plaza at Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street until Tuesday at 8 p.m.