The Love Beat

080105 article lovebeat The Love BeatEmily Fromm and David (Lefty) Leibowitz

Met: April 2002

Engaged: April 14, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Summer 2006

When Emily Fromm, 30, an editor for People magazine’s Web site, first met David (Lefty) Leibowitz, 34, a senior producer in interactive technology at Young & Rubicam, “the sparks and flames were out of control,” she said.

In more ways than one, apparently. The meeting was arranged by mutual friends at a party deep in Brooklyn thrown by the Madagascar Institute, an artists’ collective whose motto is “Fear is never boring.” The homemade pyrotechnics present included the “Flamethrower Simon,” a life-sized version of the popular late-70’s electronic game. Instead of a series of electronic bleeps, this Simon was shooting out a sequence of nine-foot flames. Ms. Fromm and Mr. Leibowitz wisely chose not to play, instead climbing together into an inflatable plastic igloo where, according to him, “Emily was turning on the charm.”

“No, I wasn’t!” Ms. Fromm said with a smile over drinks at North Square lounge, batting big blue eyes beneath her light-brown bangs. A couple of days after the party, they had their first date at Milk and Honey, the members-only Lower East Side cocktail lounge. Mr. Leibowitz was drawn to Ms. Fromm’s “beauty and sanity,” while she was impressed that he didn’t brag about his many impressive personal achievements. To date, Mr. Leibowitz has co-authored a book (Invisible Frontier: Exploring the Tunnels, Ruins and Rooftops of Hidden New York); published an “urban adventure” magazine called Jinx; taught himself to play pedal-steel guitar; and even earned his certification to referee professional wrestling. He’s also got hazel eyes and an athletic bod. “Hot!” Ms. Fromm told their friends.

At the time, she was living in a civilized studio in Chelsea, while Mr. Leibowitz had a third-floor bachelor pad in a house in Greenpoint that he shared with his pet pit bull Champ. “I am an animal lover, but like most people, I was afraid of them,” Ms. Fromm said. After dating for a year and a half, the couple bought a two-bedroom co-op in Windsor Terrace where, Mr. Leibowitz said, “Every day feels like living in the country.” And Ms. Fromm has become Champ’s biggest champion. “This is a dog that gets terrorized by my cat,” she said. They’ve commissioned two portraits of the beast to hang in the “country estate”: one velvet, one watercolor.

A co-founder of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League (bounce!), Mr. Leibowitz considered proposing to Ms. Fromm between rounds with a replica of the diamond that Harry gave Charlotte on Sex and the City (which Ms. Fromm had previously admired), but then decided to go the traditional route instead. They were vacationing in Rincón, Puerto Rico, drinking piña coladas before a flaming sunset, when he slipped his paternal grandmother’s ring—an antique platinum setting with a diamond in the center and four baguettes on either side—onto his sweetheart’s left hand. (When they returned to the mainland, he gave her the Sex and the City knock-off in a Tiffany box just for fun). Though the couple is still searching for an appropriate venue for the ceremony, they know exactly who they’d like to marry them, though they have yet to establish contact: Rabbi Abraham Abraham, the president of the Coney Island–Brighton Beach Ice-Breakers, who swims in the Atlantic every New Year’s Day. “This guy is so cool!” Mr. Leibowitz said enthusiastically.

skinnyblueline The Love Beat

Dylan Stein and Gabriel Blau

Met: April 11, 2003

Engaged: May 2, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: May 28, 2006

When Dylan Stein, 25, first set eyes on the blue-eyed, brown-haired Gabriel Blau, also 25, outside of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Shabbat services on the Upper West Side, his mind was immediately filled with impure thoughts. “He was wearing a very tight shirt, and I admired how his body looked,” said Mr. Stein, an N.Y.U. post-baccalaureate pre-med student, sitting at Chef Scott Quentin Campbell’s @SQC (the Love Beat dined well this week).

Mr. Blau actually recognized Mr. Stein, with his reddish-brown beard, glasses and baseball cap, from a crowded Jewish Queer Youth Group meeting that had taken place the previous evening at the Manhattan J.C.C. He decided that this was a “cute religious boy trying to go incognito.” Introduced by another congregation member, the two sat chatting throughout what Mr. Blau, part-owner of an Internet marketing company called Visible Shops, referred to as a “Shabbat: The Musical!”– style service. Afterwards, Mr. Stein suggested that they go for sushi to Roppongi on the Upper West Side. The more traditional Mr. Blau thought the notion of sushi on Shabbat “weird,” but found his new acquaintance too “cute” to refuse. Within a matter of weeks, Mr. Stein had moved from his two-bedroom in Astoria (which he shared with a friend from his high-school days at Fieldston) into Mr. Blau’s sixth-floor walkup in Spanish Harlem. “We were attached at the hip,” Mr. Stein said, and he wasn’t really exaggerating: Since the two met, they’ve spent virtually no nights apart.

“It was very clear from the first conversation that we were both interested in having a serious relationship,” Mr. Blau said.

“We didn’t want to be scenesters,” Mr. Stein agreed. He demonstrated how he used to wiggle his ring finger suggestively towards Mr. Blau as he did one fateful afternoon this spring while seated on Mr. Blau’s lap. Mr. Stein suddenly announced that he had to use the men’s room.

“I just have one question,” said Mr. Blau, with enough gravitas to bring nature’s call to a halt.

“O.K.,” Mr. Stein responded.

The crucial question was then popped, and answered in the affirmative.

Both devoted foodies who insist that the key to a successful relationship is “a healthy appetite and a gym membership,” the couple exchanged potatoes in lieu of rings. (Mr. Stein, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, studied bread baking long before he became interested in medicine.) They’ve enjoyed two engagement parties: one given by friends at the swank faux-ski lodge Gstaad in the Flatiron District, the other thrown by some family members with a big bottle of champagne at Pascal’s Restaurant in Larchmont. The happy duo just moved into a one-bedroom in an elevator building (with laundry!) in Stuyvesant Town.

The wedding will be held at Studio 450, with one male and one female rabbi presiding. The 140 invitees will be treated to Middle Eastern food, and the couple is considering replacing the traditional wedding cake with cupcakes or brownies. They’re still deciding on their wedding attire. “Tuxedo suits!” Mr. Blau said.

“Paul Smith!” Mr. Stein interjected.

As for having kids, “I’m ready today,” said Mr. Blau. “Dylan wants to wait till he’s through with medical school.”

“So I’ll know what they’ll look like,” Mr. Stein explained.