Valeriya Shevchenko running from City Hall after Tuesday's Earthquake. (AFP/Getty Ima …Everyone from Virginia to Boston has an earthquake story by now. Bet you anything,Valeriya Shevchenko's is better. The image of the 18-year-old dressed in a bridal gown and veil running through New York's City Hall Park graced the cover of every newspaper east of the Mississippi on Wednesday morning. It was the kind of million dollar photo that almost seemed staged: the earthquake wasn't that bad, was it?
Shevchenko's earthquake was. Today she told the New York Post about her momentary bridal panic. She'd arrived at City Hall with a friend to marry her 19-year old boyfriend, Dmitry Grif. The pressure was already mounting since Dmitry's parents weren't apprised of their plans and likely wouldn't be happy when they found out.
In the seconds after the earthquake (which she said she didn't really feel), the building was evacuated, and Dmitry was still M.I.A.
When even a minor disaster strikes New York, it's easy to think the worst. "They said they had stopped the train -- and my husband was on the train," Shevchenko told the Post. "I ran all the way to Chambers and Broadway in my wedding dress and with my long veil to make sure he was OK."
She tried to dial his cell, but phones weren't working, so she wrestled through the crowds towards the subway station. Then Dmitry emerged from the train's exit. "I saw him with flowers in a suit," his bride told the Post. "And I thought he looked so handsome."
By 3pm, they were back in City Hall saying their vows.
Grif, a biochemistry student at SUNY Stoneybrook, still lives under his parents roof. "His mom is going to go crazy," Shevchenko told the Post. "She won't be happy." Shevchenko, who was born in Ukraine, met Grif on a visit to the States, and later moved to New York to attend college and be closer to her love. She now lives with her aunt and uncle who also didn't know or approve of their marriage.
If they wanted to keep it a secret for a while, the earthquake ruined those plans. The potential for the earth opening under their feet was probably the farthest thing on both their minds as they headed to the courthouse. And the bride ending up on the cover of every newspaper and website in the country as a snapshot of the temporary mayhem it caused? Also not on their initial agenda. Maybe the sheer romance of their story, and the notion of a young bride running to try to rescue her groom will prove to their family they're meant for each other. Personally, I'm sold.
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