On their first date, at a New York restaurant in late February 2020, Jessica Rosenblum told Steve Young that he looked like a lot more fun in his photo, which was provided by an acquaintance who had set them up. He laughed, delighted by her “cutting” sense of humor.
“I thought it was hilarious,” he said, adding that he was also enthralled by her background as a nightclub impresario. “We had a very interesting conversation. I clearly wanted to see her again.”
Ms. Rosenblum, 55, is an interior designer. But in the ’80s and ’90s, she was a fixture in the world of hip-hop who worked as an event producer, party promoter and D.J. manager. Before dropping out to pursue a career in “the scene,” she spent a couple of years at Barnard College.
Mr. Young, 62, had a somewhat more conventional trajectory. From Cincinnati, he graduated and received a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Miami in Ohio, and studied law at George Washington University. He is now the global head of litigation for EY, the accounting firm.
On a second date, which both described as unspectacular, she made it clear that she was more interested in fixing up his West Village loft than she was in starting something up with its owner. But Mr. Young wasn’t put off.
“I really liked spending time with her, so I’m like, OK fine, maybe I’ll get lucky and my decorator will turn into my girlfriend,” he said.
Then, just a few weeks after they met, the pandemic changed everything.
He had left for a weekend in Los Angeles in March, and was stuck there for six weeks. Just as he departed, Ms. Rosenblum fell ill with what she was pretty sure was the coronavirus. Both were isolated and alone, and their telephone conversations, initially about Mr. Young’s loft, became increasingly personal.
“We just ended up on the phone every day for an hour or two,” Ms. Rosenblum said.
When he returned to a desolate New York in May, he asked if she’d find him a temporary spot in Woodstock, N.Y., which she had retreated to after recovering sufficiently from her illness.
“It didn’t really cross my mind that he was just really trying to be near me,” said Ms. Rosenblum, who grew up in Woodstock and ended up finding Mr. Young a place not far from where she was staying.
The pair hiked the Catskills, took long drives, ate takeout food and drank wine. When his rental there ended, he moved into another, and in August 2020, the two rented a house in Montauk.
“We just were inseparable, but it still wasn’t romantic,” Ms. Rosenblum said, “although he made it clear that he wanted it that way, and I made it clear that I didn’t.”
When they finally returned to New York City, in September, Mr. Young told Ms. Rosenblum that it was time for him to recalibrate.
“We played house and it worked out wonderfully and we really enjoyed it,” Mr. Young said. “But if you don’t want to take it to the next step, I basically said, I have to move on.”
Ms. Rosenblum had a long conversation with herself and the next night, she said, “I think I’m the one who needs to recalibrate. And it was just ‘on’ from that minute.”
“We treat each other with a kindness that I’ve never really felt for someone before, and we bring that out in each other,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “That is pretty special.”
The couple married Oct. 17 at Cipriani Wall Street, with 30 guests vaccinated against the coronavirus attending. Pierre N. Leval, a senior circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, officiated. In June, they plan to have a big bash at the Brooklyn Grange.
“I had this wild life and all these adventures, but in a funny way, being with Stephen is the greatest adventure of all because I never expected to do it,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “It’s conventional. That, for me, is an adventure.”