NEW YORK CITY — Valentine's Day is a polarizing holiday. For couples happy in love, Feb. 14 is a time to celebrate. For the rest of us, it's a reminder of what we might be missing.
While some singles dream of love this holiday, others just want to vent about their dating frustrations. Then there are others who just want to avoid the commercial hoopla and enjoy a normal weekend.
Whatever your approach, if you're single, here are some opportunities to find what you're seeking.
For those who'd like to meet someone:
New York coach Tracey Steinberg counsels her love-seeking singletons to avoid taking the holiday too seriously. She recommends sports bars for low-key encounters but, "as long as you're surrounded by single people," she says, you're likely to find what you're looking for.
1. Katch Astoria, an upscale sports lounge and grill voted "Best Singles Spot" in Queens, is hosting a "Nuts and Bolts" Valentine's singles party for those committed to finding a match. Everyone will receive half of a two-piece nuts and bolts set upon entry and will be challenged to find its match to win a prize. February 14 at 9 p.m. Free admission. 31-19 Newtown Avenue.
2. Meanwhile, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater will host a special Valentine's Day Salsa Class for singles and couples at theirMidtown extension studio. Partners will rotate, multiplying your chances of meeting a special someone new. Single tickets cost $25. Register here. 405 W. 55th St., Midtown.
3. Psychologists say a basic component of love is commitment. Why not begin building that immediately with a blind date at the "Valentine's Day Tough Love Relay" at Van Cortlandt Park? Serious-minded singles will be paired for a 2x2 mile race starting at 11 a.m. on the 14th. Meet at the Tortoise & Hare Statue on Broadway. Single tickets cost $16; register here. First-place couples will win a meal for two.
For those who've said goodbye to love (at least for now):
4. Those looking to wallow in singledom can share their despair at "The Rejection Show: Valentine's Day Heartbreak Haven," a comedy show at performance space Littlefield in which professional and amateur writers present their so-called failures. Check it out at 8 p.m. on the 14th at 622 Degraw St. in Gowanus. Buy tickets for $10 here or buy them at the door for $12.
5. Sometimes love isn't pretty. Investigate the darker side of Eros at the Morbid Anatomy Museum's characteristically macabre Valentine's Day event, "Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts: A Valentine's Day Lecture and Rare Film Screening" 8 p.m. on February 14. Admission costs $12. 424 Third Ave., Gowanus.
6. Commisserate with your fellow lonely hearts at Love Bites: The Power Ballads Sing-Along. Eight-dollar tickets will be available at the door of Union Hall. 21+. There'll be free drinks and a power ballad costume contest. Dress up as your favorite '80s/'90s rocker or R&B legend, or just wear something inspired by the era. 702 Union St., Park Slope.
7. Finally, the lovesick can achieve catharsis with the crooners of Your Ex-Girlfriends, the ladies-only country and honky tonk cover band. They'll sing covers by Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Elvis and more. February 14, 7 p.m. at the Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St. Tickets cost $15.
For those who'd prefer to ignore the whole thing:
8. It's just another weekend at the City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival, the month-long celebration of all things sweet, no Valentine required. Check out the calendar of flavors here. 3 W. 18th St., Flatiron.
9. Movie musicals in a darkened theater are a time-tested way to escape from heartache. This Sunday, check out Best Picture-winning 1951 film "An American in Paris" at Film Forum. Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron sing along to a George Gershwin score. 11:00 a.m. Tickets cost $7.50. 209 West Houston St.
10. And finally, if none of that gets you far enough away from love, there's always Staten Island. The Blue Heron Nature Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 15th. Gather at the Blue Heron Park Nature Center, 22 Poillon Ave., Annandale, Staten Island. Suitable for all ages. For more information, call Elaine Croteau at 718-698-6056.