Matching Rhythms, Despite Opposite Sleep Schedules

Maxwell Quested Wolkin thought he had found a fellow baseball fan when he noticed Olivia Ida Russin was wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers jacket in a photo on her OkCupid profile.

But after they connected on the dating website in May 2014, he learned, to his dismay, that she was more a fan of the jacket than the sport.

That didn’t stop them from continuing to chat. A couple weeks later, they met for a first date at a pizza restaurant near Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. Over appetizers and drinks, they talked more before taking an afternoon stroll around Prospect Park, then stopping at another restaurant, this one French, for escargot.

Though baseball wasn’t a common bond, the two found other points of connection. Both grew up on the West Coast (Ms. Russin in Los Angeles, Mr. Wolkin in San Francisco), they have a mutual passion for creative pursuits (music for her, film for him) and, as Mr. Wolkin put it, they share an appreciation for a “Jewish sense of humor.”

At the end of their first date, he walked her to the subway and they shared a kiss before parting.

“It felt like a unique find in terms of a match of our rhythms,” Mr. Wolkin said. “To be both kind of laid back Californians on one level and like, loud, insane people on another level, you know?”

They eventually realized their compatibility had its limits: Ms. Russin, who is in a band, likes staying out late, while Mr. Wolkin is an early riser. But “he would make getting up early fun,” Ms. Russin said, by planning morning activities, such as bird-watching excursions. “He would take things that I felt like were sort of old and make them feel young and fresh.”

Three months into their courtship, in August 2014, the two attended a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game in Coney Island. Afterward, while walking along the Steeplechase Pier, they agreed to be exclusive.

At the time, each lived in different sections of Brooklyn, she in Bushwick and he in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. For two years they would visit each other, often taking multiple trains or buses, before Ms. Russin became the primary commuter when Mr. Wolkin bought a studio apartment in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, in September 2016.

By then the couple had fallen into a groove, enjoying a relationship that allowed them to live separately and maintain their creative passions. But as they grew closer, they realized they did not want as much physical distance between them.

In the spring of 2019, Mr. Wolkin set out to sell his studio and buy a one-bedroom apartment for them to live in. Soon after, he realized that he wanted to commit to a life with Ms. Russin before they committed to a mortgage together.

On a quiet gray morning in January 2020, Mr. Wolkin suggested an outing to Coney Island for pizza and bird watching. After lunch, they walked out onto the Steeplechase Pier and spotted a surf scoter, a large sea duck, bobbing in the icy water. Ms. Russin peered at it through a pair of binoculars, and when she turned around to offer them to Mr. Wolkin, he was down on one knee.

Two months later, the pandemic shut down the city. Still living separately, they biked to visit each other until May 2020, when Mr. Wolkin sold his studio. That month, after six years of living apart, they moved into a sublet together.

Mr. Wolkin, 33, is now the director of exhibition at Film Movement, an independent film distributor. Ms. Russin, 30, is the design coordinator at Rizzoli International Publications, an art book publisher.

In April 2021, the two moved into a one-bedroom apartment they bought in Windsor Terrace. Three months later, they adopted a Beagle basset, whom they named Valentine.

They by then had already postponed their wedding once because of the pandemic, from the summer of 2021 to this June, where they had decided to get married at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

But Covid would derail them once again. On the morning they were to wed, Ms. Russin woke up feeling unwell and took a Covid test. It was positive. Upon seeing the result, she cried and began texting family and friends to call off the event.

Despite the setback, they remained determined to marry. On June 30, when it was safe to do so, they were wed at the New York City Clerk’s Office in Brooklyn. Waldo Ramirez, a staff member of the City Clerk’s Office, officiated and the couple’s friend Max Branigan served as the witness and photographer.

Following the ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated at a nearby Shake Shack to cheers from employees and patrons.