Charles Petzold

License to Wed

October 23, 2007
New York, N.Y.

This morning Deirdre and I took the #6 train to the City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge stop. Our destination was the building known as One Center Street. Normally you have to fight through the film crews shooting Law & Order episodes in the neighborhood, but the site was relatively quiet today.

After going through the metal detector we headed up to Room 262, Marriage License Applications, and joined the other young happy couples who have chosen this morning to fill out the "Affidavit and Application for a Marriage License." (Instructions for the process are here.) After filling out the form, we presented it with our IDs to a clerk who typed the information into a Windows program. A second screen turned toward us let us double-check her work.

At another window we forked over a money order for $35 — "No other method of payment will be accepted" — and got a printed document that will be completed by the judge who performs the ceremony five days from now. There are no longer any weird medical tests or examinations associated with getting a marriage license in New York State. It's all just paperwork.

Alternatively, if we had brought a witness, we could have then gone across the hall to Room 257, the City Clerk's Chapel, and had the ceremony actually performed right then and there.

Instead we took the M15 bus back uptown — switching from subway to bus for the return trip is counted as a free transfer — and smooched all the way home.