@NewYorkNico and @Melzy917 on #NewYorkNiConnections and Dating
Club Mel could be kinda called Club Lonely sometimes because I’m a very single man, and even though being single is great, single can sometimes be lonely in these dark uncertain times. So I reached out to my friend New York Nico (aka Nicolas Heller) because I’ve been watching the #NewYorkNiConnections videos he’s been posting all week on his Insta. The people in the videos are amazing and I thought maybe, just maybe, I would do a video myself and hopefully get some action or maybe even more out of it? So I called Nico up from Club Mel to see what was up and talk to him about it.
MEL OTTENBERG: Hi, Nico how are you? Are you ready to talk to Club Mel about REAL LOVE?!
NICOLAS HELLER: Oh yeah.
OTTENBERG: Sick. You look cute today. Your beard looks good.
HELLER: Thank you.
OTTENBERG: Okay Nico, aka New York Nico, aka Nicholas Heller. So I’m loving your New York NiConnections videos. Is that what they’re called?
HELLER: Yes. New York NiConnections.
OTTENBERG: Oh great, well I’m really into them. Tell me about them.
HELLER: Well, it all started on Sunday when I was at the Easter parade and this lovely couple approached me and said they had met through my Instagram. I had posted a photo that the dude had submitted to my Best New York Photo contest. She found him through that and they started DMing and long story short, they’ve been in a relationship for a few months now. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that someone who was put on my Instagram has found love. So I shot a short little interview of them explaining how their relationship came to be, and put that on my Instagram. I thought it would be a cute opportunity to let single people shoot their shot, say what they were looking for within my comment thread, and see if people would respond to them. So I did that, and it took off. As someone who’s been in a relationship throughout the pandemic, I didn’t realize how lonely a lot of people have been. But it totally makes sense.
OTTENBERG: It’s lonely out here, Nico.
HELLER: I know, I know. So when I started seeing that I was like, “Oh shit, maybe I can do something with these people.” So, similar to what I did with the Best New York Accent contest this time last year, I asked people to submit videos talking about what they were looking for in a relationship. I said I would post those videos and help them find love for the summer.
OTTENBERG: Hot love for the summer is important.
HELLER: So it started off with a bang. I started getting all these submissions and amazing people, super vulnerable and honest.
OTTENBERG: I’m riveted by these people being all vulnerable and talking about what they really want.
HELLER: It’s been great. I dubbed myself the Unofficial Talent Scout of New York. I love people. I love seeing their differences and similarities. Like @LukeyLunchb0x, this guy hasn’t had a girlfriend since sixth grade. He’s 28 years old now.
OTTENBERG: Oh shit!
HELLER: He’s a bigger guy, but he just came through with the confidence, the humor, the charm. He just blew me away. I’m sure he’s going to get many dates from this. But if nothing else, he’s a new talent for sure. He’s funny as hell.
OTTENBERG: I’m really here for Lukey Lunchb0x.
HELLER: Hey Mel, I just found out that you were single. So I feel like you should be posting a video too, but it sounds like you’re getting cold feet.
OTTENBERG: Well, fuck. I mean it’s hard to be real like that with a camera on. But why not? Fuck it. It’s 2021. I can get real.
HELLER: Do you feel like you’re above this?
OTTENBERG: No dude! I am not above it at all. No no no. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can be a part of it. But not above. I mean, I’m on Grindr, Scruff, and even Lox Club. I’m out there. So anyways, here are my stats, Nico. My—
HELLER: Okay, go ahead.
OTTENBERG: So first of all let’s talk about my stats. My name’s Mel, I’m 44. I’m 6 feet. I’m 200 pounds, Nico. I am very hairy and people say I’m very funny. I have a sense of humor. I live in Greenwich Village. I think being single is cool, but I think being in love is cooler. Is talking about love too much? Is that just too scary?
HELLER: No, I don’t think so. I mean, look, I just started this on Monday, so I don’t have all the analytics; what works, what doesn’t work.
OTTENBERG: There are no analytics to love, baby. Maybe you’re the next OkCupid meets Hinge meets Grindr, Lox Club, and whatever straight people’s version of Grindr is.
OTTENBERG: So now should I tell you what I’m into and you can tell me if these are the things I should put in my video?
HELLER: For sure. But first of all I would say that already I think you would kill it, just from what you’ve told me.
OTTENBERG: Oh really?
HELLER: Oh yeah. Obviously appearance is a big part of it. You’re very handsome, man.
OTTENBERG: ME?! Gee thanks, Nico.
HELLER: I’m seeing that people who are really being vulnerable and speaking from the heart are getting the most attention. So there have been some people who have posted who kind of put it on a little bit. It’s a little performative and it doesn’t seem like they’re getting as much attention. But the people who are really being vulnerable and honest, and it’s very obvious, those are the ones who I feel like are succeeding the most.
OTTENBERG: Oh wow.
HELLER: So in terms of what you just gave me, I feel like you’re on the right track.
OTTENBERG: Wait, what did I say again? Okay. Well, listen, I like fun dates.
OTTENBERG: I like roller-coasters.
HELLER: That’s good.
OTTENBERG: Alright. I’m looking for a man to go on fun dates with, I like roller-coasters. I like midnight movies. I like wasting time. I like talking shit. I like to travel. I like food adventures, and I like men. How am I doing so far?
HELLER: Why was “I like men” the last thing you said? I think that should probably be one of the first things you say.
OTTENBERG: Okay. Men, over boys.
HELLER: Get it out there.
OTTENBERG: I like art, I like running, and working out, and furniture, and clothes. Wait I can skip all that stuff. Or should I keep it?
HELLER: You didn’t say what you do. People want to know what you do. You’re a very successful stylist, creative director—
OTTENBERG: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. My name is Mel. I live in Greenwich Village. I’m 44. I’m 6 feet, 200 pounds. I’m a fashion stylist and I’m the creative director of Interview magazine. Being single’s cool but it’s lonely out here.
HELLER: Perfect. Then you get into what you’re looking for.
OTTENBERG: All right. What am I looking for? I wanna be so passionate about someone that I want them for me breakfast, me lunch and me motherfuckin’ dinner, to quote the great Colin Farrell. But passion and beauty fade so I’m looking for more too, Nico.
OTTENBERG: Let’s say I’m looking for a funny, entertaining, interesting guy. I think let’s say he’s between 5’8″ and 6’6″. Nico, I like hairy forearms, strong dicks, and great asses. But should I not say that? It’s true though.
OTTENBERG: Maybe that’s just a given and I don’t need to say that.
HELLER: It might be a given.
OTTENBERG: Maybe you’re not exactly the right person to ask.
HELLER: Right. I’m like this licensed fucking love doctor now, according to everybody.
OTTENBERG: Dr. Nico. Yeah the field is being played, but maybe I’m looking for a little more, you know? More can be interesting, right?
OTTENBERG: It’s true. Maybe.
HELLER: But Mel, I still think you need to talk more about what type of person you’re looking for. Try to avoid the clichés.
OTTENBERG: Okay, okay.
HELLER: Everyone says, “Oh, I want a funny guy. I want like an adventurous guy. I want…” You know?
OTTENBERG: Noted. Yes. You’re so right. Okay. Well I’m interested in someone who reads books and has opinions. Maybe he likes techno music? He will sing karaoke with me and take it seriously with confidence. A man that I can learn things from and with about life. Yes, I’m looking for a good-looking guy but also a guy that I can learn from. A psychic told me that the next guy is gonna be my height, but who knows so let’s say he’s 5’8″ to 6’6″. Where you at, buddy?
HELLER: That’s perfect, stuff like that is great.
OTTENBERG: Okay. Oh, wait, wait, wait. Nico enough about me. Tell me about God’s Love We Deliver. You’re such a good guy. Us Jews call you a mensch, babe. You’re a mensch.
HELLER: I appreciate that.
HELLER: Well, after I saw how quickly this is taking off, I was like, “What can I do to incorporate like a charitable element?” So Instagram has this great feature where you can just add a fundraiser to every post where all the money will go directly to a charity of your choosing. So I added that. It hasn’t been putting the number because I’m making it optional. It’s not like, the only way you can can post on my page is if you make a donation. But then this morning I was like, “Look, there’s so many people submitting videos right now, and being super persistent about me posting them.” I’m like, “If you want your video to the top of the list, then you got to donate $250 to God’s Love We Deliver.” And people have been doing it, so.
OTTENBERG: Oh, sick, sick, sick. Nico, get that money to the people in need babe.
HELLER: Exactly, so.
OTTENBERG: So, obviously I’m going to give you money because—
HELLER: Oh wow. You don’t have to.
OTTENBERG: You’re a pal and I appreciate what you do in New York City. You have been keeping me entertained in a very not-entertaining time. So thank you. Then of course, way back to me, anything else? Or am I killing it? I’m just going to keep out the big dicks, right?
HELLER: I think you’re killing it, Mel. If you just sat in front of your fucking phone and went like this, you would still get 100 DMs. So just the fact you now know what you want, thanks to me—
OTTENBERG: Thanks to you.
HELLER: I think you’ll do very, very well.
OTTENBERG: All right. Well thanks Nico. Thanks for helping me find love and thanks for the people. Us single New Yorkers, we appreciate you, babe.
HELLER: Of course. Appreciate you.
OTTENBERG: All right. Keep it coming babe, I like it. I like it, I like it.
HELLER: Thank you.
OTTENBERG: I can see it.
HELLER: Thank you.
OTTENBERG: Have a good day. Bye. I’m going to text you later bye.