Maxwell Quested Wolkin thought he had found another baseball fan when he noticed Olivia Ida Russin wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers jacket in a photo on his OkCupid profile.
But after they hooked up on the dating site in May 2014, he learned, to his dismay, that she was more into the jacket than the sport.
That didn’t stop them from continuing to chat. A few weeks later, they met for a first date at a pizzeria near Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. As appetizers and drinks went by, they talked more before taking an afternoon stroll through Prospect Park, then stopping at another restaurant, this one French, for the escargot.
Although baseball is not a common bond, the two have found other points of connection. Both grew up on the West Coast (Ms. Russin in Los Angeles, Mr. Wolkin in San Francisco), they have a common passion for creative pursuits (music for her, cinema for him) and, as said Mr. Wolkin, they share an appreciation for a “Jewish sense of humor”.
At the end of their first date, he accompanied her to the subway and they shared a kiss before going their separate ways.
“It felt like a unique find in terms of matching our beats,” Wolkin said. “Be both laid-back Californians on one level and loud, crazy people on another level, you know?”
They came to realize that their compatibility had its limits: Mrs. Russin, who is part of a group, likes to go out late, while Mr. Wolkin is an early riser. But “he would make getting up early fun,” Ms Russin said, planning morning activities, such as bird-watching excursions. “He took things that I felt were a little old and made them feel young and fresh.”
Three months after they dated, in August 2014, the two attended a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game at Coney Island. Then, walking along Steeplechase Pier, they agreed to be exclusive.
At the time, each lived in different parts of Brooklyn, she in Bushwick and he in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. For two years they would visit each other, often taking multiple trains or buses, before Ms Russin became the main commuter when Mr Wolkin bought a studio at Prospect Lefferts Gardens in September 2016.
By then, the couple had fallen into a groove, enjoying a relationship that allowed them to live apart and maintain their creative passions. But as they got closer, they realized they didn’t want so much physical distance between them.
In the spring of 2019, Mr. Wolkin decided to sell his studio and buy a one-bedroom apartment for them to live in. Soon after, he realized he wanted to commit to a life with Mrs. Russin before they took on a mortgage together.
On a quiet gray morning in January 2020, Mr. Wolkin suggested a trip to Coney Island for pizza and birdwatching. After lunch, they stepped out onto Steeplechase Pier and spotted a surf scoter, a large sea duck, floating in the freezing water. Ms. Russin watched it through a pair of binoculars, and when she turned to offer them to Mr. Wolkin, he was on his knees.
Two months later, the pandemic paralyzed the city. Still living apart, they cycled to visit each other until May 2020 when Mr Wolkin sold his studio. That month, after six years of living apart, they moved into a sublet together.
Mr. Wolkin, 33, is now an exhibition director at Film Movement, an independent film distributor. Ms. Russin, 30, is a design coordinator at Rizzoli International Publications, an art book publisher.
In April 2021, the two moved into a one-bedroom apartment they bought in Windsor Terrace. Three months later, they adopted a Basset Beagle, which they named Valentine.
They had then already postponed their wedding once because of the pandemic, from the summer of 2021 to this month of June, where they had decided to get married at the New York aquarium in Coney Island.
But Covid would derail them once again. On the morning they were due to get married, Ms Russin woke up feeling unwell and took a Covid test. It was positive. Seeing the result, she cried and started texting her family and friends to cancel the event.
Despite the setback, they remained determined to get married. On June 30, when it was safe to do so, they married at the New York City Clerk’s office in Brooklyn. Waldo Ramirez, a staff member from the City Clerk’s Office, officiated, and the couple’s friend Max Branigan served as witness and photographer.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated at a nearby Shake Shack to cheers from employees and customers.