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A Romance Furthered by After-Hours Strolls Through the Met

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Pavol Roskovensky eagerly gave Claire Anderson-Wheeler the inside scoop on the Temple of Dendur, pointing out centuries-old graffiti, like “Leonardo 1820,” on its gate and walls as they strolled through the Metropolitan Museum of Art after-hours. She also got an intimate look at her favorite Monet, Bonnard and Van Gogh paintings in the Impressionist collection.

Occasionally, a security guard or a museum employee walked by, or they heard the whir of a vacuum cleaner. But otherwise, Ms. Anderson-Wheeler said, “It was so calm.”

Her visit that evening, in March 2022, was the first of at least a dozen she made at the invitation of Mr. Roskovensky, 37, who worked as an art handler in the Met’s Greek and Roman wings until last May. (With permission, he could show guests around when the museum was closed to the public.)

Ms. Anderson-Wheeler, 38, was excited about having special access to the museum, she said, but more excited about her blossoming relationship with Mr. Roskovensky, whom she had matched with on OkCupid in December 2021. That month, they had their first date at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment in Manhattan’s Union Square area.

They sat outdoors on a balmy Thursday evening and spoke about their dreams over Sierra Nevada Pale Ales. He also told her about how ancient artifacts in the museums’ storage rooms can smell of clay and earth — and about the time he had to move a priceless terra cotta egg dating to 420 B.C.

Mr. Roskovensky, born in Slovakia, came to this country with his parents when he was 9, and then grew up on Staten Island.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

His initial meeting with Ms. Anderson-Wheeler felt more like “a reunion” than a new connection, he said. “I talked about what my art means to me,” said Mr. Roskovensky, who is an abstract painter. “She talked about her writing.”

Until July, Ms. Anderson-Wheeler was a literary agent, focusing on children’s books, at Regal Hoffmann & Associates in Manhattan. Her debut novel, “The Gatsby Gambit,” a Jazz Age mystery, is to be published by Viking by the spring of 2025. She has already self-published three novels online under the pen name Claire Amarti.

Ms. Anderson-Wheeler was born in Washington and later lived in Dublin until she was 10. As a teen she traveled around Europe with her mother. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law from Trinity College in Dublin, and received a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in England.

She said she was taken by Mr. Roskovensky’s “sense of wonder and magic.” After leaving the bar, they kissed on a street corner.

“It was all over after that first kiss,” he said. “No question. She was it.”

They began texting daily, and soon she visited his art studio, where he showed her a painting he had recently completed: a stormy triptych, “Carpathian Sea.” Mr. Roskovensky, who has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston through Tufts University, has had his paintings in group shows at Iona College, Long Island University and Westbeth Gallery, as well as in employee art shows at the Met.

He soon brought his pasta maker over to Ms. Anderson-Wheeler’s place, and they made ravioli while listening to a playlist of Italian songs. About two months after they met at the bar, and a week after Valentine’s Day, he told Ms. Anderson-Wheeler he loved her on Feb. 21 — her birthday.

“I remember feeling so happy to say it back,” she said.

Two months later, while visiting his brother and sister in Cape Coral, Fla., in April 2022, Mr. Roskovensky said he told his brother with “1000 percent certainty” that he was going to marry Ms. Anderson-Wheeler.

On Dec. 16, 2022, one year after their first date, he got down on one knee just after they walked through a Gothic arch of fairy lights during a Lightscape tour at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This summer, they moved from New York to Jamaica Plain, Mass. Mr. Roskovensky is now in a post-baccalaureate fine arts program focusing on painting at Brandeis University.

On Dec. 16, the second anniversary of their first date, they were wed in the library at the House of the Redeemer, also known as the Edith Fabbri House, a mansion with an Italian Renaissance art collection in Manhattan. Brittney Brady, a friend of the groom who received a one-day New York State officiant license, led the ceremony before 35 guests.

“We walked down a beautiful staircase to the theme song to ‘Rocky,’ and everyone cheered,” Ms. Anderson-Wheeler said, and they later enjoyed Sacher torte from the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

On Dec. 30, the couple plans to celebrate with his family, including both his grandmothers, in Bardejov, Slovakia, before traveling to celebrate with hers in Dublin on Jan. 6.

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