RP Relationship Guru Nancy Slotnick Written Up in DNAInfo.com

From Emily Frost of DNAInfo.com:

UPPER WEST SIDE — Nancy Slotnick has been setting people up in New York City for decades.

But now the longtime Upper West Side resident is bridging the gap between online  dating and traditional matchmaking with a new concierge dating service called Matchmaker Cafe.

Slotnick has spent the last year building a database of single people, now  3,000 members strong, who can browse each other’s Facebook profiles before requesting a meeting that Slotnick  and her team help orchestrate.

Matchmaker Cafe fights the inertia that Slotnick said usually accompanies  online dating, where two people end up talking online for a while but never  meet. Her service “cuts to the quick,” she said.

“People have more of a tendency to put [a meeting] off or to stand each other  up without the matchmaker,” she said.

Slotnick picks what she calls “hot spots” that lend themselves to easy  transitions from coffee to drinks or to a longer meal, or to meeting other  singles if the date doesn’t go well. She then meets both parties at the arranged  spot and introduces them. The meeting serves to reduce the anxiety and  awkwardness of a blind date, she said.

“It adds the hand-holding through the process,” she said.

Matchmaker Cafe has been in beta mode since 2011, but this month Slotnick  launched the paid model, in which clients pay $39.99 a month for the ability to  request meetings with other members.

Women tend to be more passive on the site, creating a membership for free and  then waiting for others to ask about them, Slotnick explained. However, she said  that anyone serious about finding love should devote 15 hours a week to the  search, which means going out to traditional dating spots like bars, but also becoming open to  interactions at places like gyms, grocery stores or even the subway.

“With careers, people don’t have qualms about strategy, but with dating it’s  supposed to magically happen,” she said. “You do have to have [finding love] on  your radar screen as a goal.”

Behind the scenes, Slotnick makes herself available to customers with advice  about how to make it work, an added service that she said distinguishes her  model from existing online dating companies.

But, “I don’t believe you can outsource [the work of creating a  relationship],” she said.

Slotnick spends part of her time moving around the city scouting new  locations for dates. She said she hopes to eventually create partnerships with  these dating hubs.

Slotnick once owned one of these hubs herself, when she started Drip Cafe on  East 83rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in 1996 as a place devoted to helping people  find relationships. In the pre-internet, pre-online dating era, cafe customers  could spend time flipping through binders of hand-written dating profiles, and  then Slotnick would help them schedule a date at the cafe. She said that at any  one time, 20 to 25 dates were happening at Drip.

During the cafe’s eight-year run, “we made hundreds of marriages,” Slotnick  said.

Drip had a liquor license and offered counter service, which Slotnick  believes are essential elements for creating the kind of freedom of movement  that promotes interaction among guests.

Though Slotnick believes the Upper West Side went through a period when many  of the neighborhood’s residents, and Drip’s customers, settled down and started  having children, there has been a resurgence of singles in the area lately, she  said.

“The Upper West Side is getting single again,” she said, noting the many  singles moving to the Lincoln Center area.

One of her favorite places to arrange meetings is the lobby of the Empire Hotel. She said she also sees possibilities at the new  restaurant The Smith in Lincoln Square.

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