Utica Couple Celebrates Cosmic Engagement
Talk about perfect planning and being in the right place at the right time.
John Nicotera of Sauquoit and girlfriend, Erica Pendrak of New York Mills, have been together for about two years and currently reside in South Utica. He wanted to plan a proposal around not only for the love of his life, but also something he's loved for his entire life: space.
"I'm a Space junkie so I am always following Space news, rocket launches, etc," said Nicotera.
In his eyes, the perfect place to propose was Old Forge, while the comet, Neowise, was in sight. That's exactly what he did.
Over the past few days, Neowise has been the brightest it's been in 23 years and it won’t be back for another 6,800 years. According to NASA, Neowise surprised the world in early July when it raced past the sun and survived. The comet was first discovered on March 27, spotted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer; that’s how the comet earned the name “NEOWISE.” You can see the comet in the Northern Hemisphere can spot the object just after sunset, to the northwest just under the Big Dipper constellation.
Nicotera decided to use that to his advantage. He took Pendrak to McCauley Mountain in Old Forge and as the comet was visible in the sky, got down on one knee with photographer Timothy Leach capturing the special moment. They also saw the International Space Station while there.
The couple has gotten tons of coverage from media following the engagement. They were featured on Good Morning America on Tuesday and will be on the Weather Channel Wednesday morning. They went viral after Nicotera posted the photos on Twitter, which he says was actually a joke.
"I jokingly tweeted thinking Elon Musk, Space X or NASA would retweet me. Then it went viral after astronaut Garret Reisman and Some Good News retweeted my photo."
If you're planning on popping the question any time soon, the bar has certainly been set pretty high.