Eileen and Robert’s NYT Story: A Plot Fit for a Rom-Com

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Our adorable couple Eileen and Robert were featured in the NYT. Brooklyn natives this couple had the sweetest love story, but we aren’t the only ones who think so. Jenny Block writer at the NYT article lays out there decade long romance.

For 10 years, Eileen Patricia Fitzpatrick and Robert Mitchell Minondo refused to ruin their close-knit friendship. So they never even tested the waters of romance. But they could only hold out for so long.

The two met in 2003 in junior high school — at what was then Intermediate School 30 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn — as part of a large group of friends that formed that year and still exists today. Ms. Fitzpatrick, now 31, and Mr. Minondo, 32, became especially close.

“We started hanging out together after school,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “We clicked right in the beginning. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, he was always the first person I would call.”

They both dated, sometimes even within their friend group, but never one another. “We were so close that we would have sleepovers because we were binge-watching ‘Lost,’” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. Still: “A handhold never even happened.”

That felt too risky, they said. What if it didn’t work?

But then 10 years of friendship passed, and New Year’s Eve 2013 rolled around. “We both didn’t have the best night, but I went to pick something up from her place after going out and we kissed,” Mr. Minondo said..They struggled to navigate this new terrain for a couple months. “We were like, ‘This probably isn’t the best idea,’” Mr. Minondo said.

“I was still very hesitant about ruining the friendship,” Ms. Fitzpatrick added. “We were hanging out. But we were hanging out and kissing.”

Finally, however, Ms. Fitzpatrick said, “I felt like I was lying to myself, and said, ‘Let’s just go for it.’” So she asked Mr. Minondo on a date.

In March 2013, they went to Casa Pepe, where their eighth grade end-of-year lunch had been held. “I was very adamant about being the one to pay for the date, and Robert knew me well enough to let me,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “It was easy and comfortable because we had been friends for so long.”

Three years later, they moved into the Brooklyn brownstone of a friend’s family. “I think when we moved in together, we both felt that we were in this till the end,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said.

In 2019, they moved into their own apartment in Bay Ridge, where they still live.

Cheyanna De Nichola

Ms. Fitzpatrick, who grew up in Bay Ridge, is a pastry chef and assistant kitchen manager at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus, Brooklyn. She completed the professional pastry and baking arts program at the International Culinary Center for Professional Pastry Arts in Manhattan, which has since merged with the International Culinary Educational School.

Mr. Minondo, who is also from Bay Ridge, holds a G.E.D. and works as a mobile technology analyst at Bloomberg L.P. in Manhattan.

It was in the early months of the pandemic that Mr. Minondo knew it was time to propose. “I was like, ‘This beautiful woman has spent all this time with me. How have I not done this already?’” Mr. Minondo said.

On Sept. 26, 2021, the couple went with friends to Storm King Art Center, an outdoor art museum, in New Windsor, N.Y., a place they loved. “We spent the day looking at art in nature,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “All the while I had no idea what was coming.”

When they got to the top of Museum Hill, a picturesque spot in the middle of the property, Mr. Minondo proposed. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and cried happy tears for days after,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said.  

The couple had become domestic partners on Jan. 27, 2020. “I wanted him to make the choices about me if, God forbid, something happened,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “And we wanted to keep that date because the partnership was very important to us.”

So it was on Jan. 27 that they were wed before 113 guests at Deity, a former synagogue turned events space in Boerum Hill, by their longtime friend Gerard Sullivan, whose family owned the brownstone where they first lived together. Mr. Sullivan was ordained by the Universal Life Church.

Ms. Fitzpatrick said she wore the signature of her brother, Daniel Joseph Fitzpatrick, on the bottom of her shoe “so he was with me in a way.” Mr. Fitzpatrick died by suicide at the age of 13 in 2016.

The couple had a small ceremonial cake, but the main event was pie — lots of pie, given Ms. Fitzpatrick’s specialty. “We had 150 mini three-inch pies” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “I made them all myself.”

Having both been born and raised in Brooklyn, the couple couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. “We will live here after marriage and honestly probably die here,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “New York or nowhere baby.”

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