The viral social media account, founded by Aaron Feinberg, Jeremy Bernstein and Victor Lee, shares posts about real-life New York City love stories
“Excuse me, sorry, are you two a couple?” This is the line that friends Aaron Feinberg, Jeremy Bernstein and Victor Lee have been using to approach strangers on the street since founding "Meet Cutes NYC" in February.
Their TikTok and Instagram pages, which have accumulated roughly 2.5 million followers, share the real-life love stories of couples in New York City, offering inspiration and a daily reminder that love can be found on any street corner.
“Jeremy and I grew up together on the Upper West Side and when I was ten, my family moved to Fort Washington where I met Victor,” Feinberg tells PEOPLE. “One day, Victor and I were talking about ways that we can make an impact on social media, and he came up with the idea of walking up to couples on the street."
"I was like ‘I have the perfect guy. He’s a professional at it,’” Feinberg says about Bernstein, who sells renewable energy on the street. “The next day Jeremy and I were out on the street for eight hours, with no idea what we were getting ourselves into.”
On that day, the trio, who are all 29, set out on a journey that they never anticipated would lead them to where they are today.
“In that first eight-hour stint, we got two videos and we were like, we’re going to post these and see what happens,” Feinberg says. “The second video went completely viral and we got this flooding of responses that we just would’ve never imagined, people connecting to what we were doing.”
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However, despite some early viral success, the trio admits it took some time to get into the groove.
“The first day was very difficult because you're just nervous to get rejected, right?,” Bernstein tells PEOPLE. “Then after the thousandth time that people are like, 'No,' or 'We're not a couple,' it doesn't phase you at all."
"For every video we get that we post, we might get 15 rejections," he adds. "But over six months of doing this every day, we've gotten a real skill at determining who's a couple.”
Although they film about "a hundred takes a day," Feinberg says that they "sort of just know" when they've stumbled upon a person with a story they'd want to post.
Whether it be a train conductor who altered the train schedule so he could frequently see the same woman, who is now his wife of 20 years, or the story of a woman who ditched her blind date for a cute man sitting next to her at a performance, "Meet Cutes NYC" has documented an array of stories from all different walks of life.
“There's so many different stories, so many different ways of meeting people,” Lee tells PEOPLE. “I think a lot of the reason why our account works is because it gives a lot of hope to a lot of people that you can meet in various ways.”
Bernstein continues, “People love love, and I think what we're trying to do is show that there's not one formula or not one way to be in a relationship. I think we all really believe in that."
The three founders also say they take the advice they learn from strangers and apply it to their own respective relationships.
“When we first started 'Meet Cutes,' I was just starting a relationship, and I have times when we’re filming that I am reflecting on the words we've gathered from couples, and my heart feels it and understands it," Feinberg says. "We just learn a lot from it and it’s special.”
Lee adds, “I have been with my girlfriend for five years, and I do have to say a lot of the stories we hear, we get really strong advice about how successful marriages or relationships work and I do take a lot of the advice to heart.”
As for the future, the trio looks forward to spreading love worldwide.
“I think getting stories from all over the world is going to be a next big step for us,” Bernstein says. “Possibly doing different languages, just trying to really encapsulate the love of the world, if you will, and just see what love is like in different places, in different cultures all over the world.”
Whatever they do, and wherever they go, "Meet Cutes NYC" will continue to foster joy. “I think what we want our account to show is the fun of love,” Feinberg says. “You can meet anybody anywhere, talk to somebody, engage, have a conversation, ask people about their lives. Who knows what will come of it?”
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