"It's always a busier-than-usual day for winter," said McSweeney, who noted that typically winter is a downtime for the Queens Marriage Bureau.He predicted that offices would be full with lines forming out the door as couples decided to wed. "It's a great shot in the arm for us," he said. "All our offices are busy as predicted."Around noon at Queens Borough Hall, though, there was not much in the way of celebration or festivity, with only a handful of couples trickling in and out of the marriage bureau. Most couples were there to obtain marriage papers, not to get married, and a white arch outside welcomed only one couple."Today is just a beautiful day," one man said before walking into the office to get papers with his girlfriend, the sun shining on grass muddied from days of rain and snow. "It's not really about Valentine's Day or anything."Another couple, who gave their first names as Caltempa and Ana Bel, was also on the scene just to get papers sorted out. "We came down last week and we didn't have all the documents," Caltempa said. "Today is just my day off."The borough's marriage bureau, tucked away at the side of Borough Hall unceremoniously shares space with the Summons Office. A court officer periodically emerged to tartly inform the small group of people outside which line was which.A young couple emerged from the other side of the building after entering the Marriage Bureau, briefly posing under the bower as a friend snapped pictures.They declined to give their names and seemed in a hurry, but insisted the event was not occasioned by Valentine's Day."We just met on the 14th and my daughter's birthday is on the 14th," the new bride said as she left the lot. "It's just a coincidence."Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@time
©2008 Community News Group
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