This was my first year spending Simchat Torah on Manhattan's Upper West Side. I knew that it was a scene, so, last year, fresh off an awful breakup, I avoided it.
That was a good choice.
Unfortunately, this year, CJ and I were not so wise. We decided to stay, made plans for meals (I hosted two, he hosted one, and we were invited out a lot), and accepted invitations to parties. In general I don't love chag* parties, I don't find them to be in the spirit of the holiday, and I don't really enjoy drinking all that much. It's fine, I'll do it socially, but it isn't really how I like to spend my time.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I had an awful time. Instead of recapping, in gross detail, everything that went wrong, I'll give you a few highlights:
1. Simchat Torah night: no women dancing. At one point it was me, my friend, and three little girls. Their mom actually thanked us for ensuring that there was SOME dancing in the women's section.
2. All of the people who came to services to socialize, not to pray. I couldn't even hear the Torah reading on Simchat Torah morning.
3. The people who got falling down drunk, and then were loud and obnoxious in the streets/hallways, causing me to hear the remark from a doorman that "I hate this holiday, it's worse every year."
4. Anyone who thinks that it is ok to get drunk and make out at a chag party is incorrect. Make out at home. Ew.
5. The lack of spirituality. I came to dance, and to pray, and it seemed like I was the only one.
Long story short, next year I'm going back to Washington Heights.
*Chag is the Hebrew word for holiday.