Young Manhattanite is Beacon on New York Shabbos Scene

by “David Shapiro”

today i worked on my movie script for four hours after work in the cafeteria at the Whole Foods in Tribeca and then when i was done i bought some sushi and took the train home and watched The Simpsons by myself in my living room and ate my sushi. i know this already sounds sad but it wasn’t sad, you know, like some days you just eat dinner by yourself and it’s not necessarily a sad occasion. some days there just aren’t other people around to eat dinner with

anyway so while i was at Whole Foods, working on my movie script, i asked my girlfriend if i could come over later and she said she was on deadline for a magazine story and she’d be working all night so i couldn’t come over. and then i Gchatted with someone at a website that i write for and she said said she wasn’t going to any parties tonight but she’s going to a party tomorrow night that i should come to. so then i started downloading a torrent of a movie so i’d have something to do tonight but then luckily my friend who works for Flavorpill Gchatted me and asked if i wanted to go to the Young Manhattanite Shabbat party so i said yes. i’m not saying i wouldn’t have gone to the Young Manhattanite party if i already had something to do but i would have weighed my options for longer than 5 seconds probably. i asked Mike if he wanted to come with me and he said sure

so Young Manhattanite is a group Tumblr that was written up in the New York Times a few months ago, and apparently their Shabbat parties are like some of the ultimate blog parties to go to (this sounds sarcastic but it’s not), so i was nervous to go. in the Times article the author writes, “Despite Mr. Krucoff’s aplomb within the ‘big, incestuous social circle’ of media types — some of whom attend his YM beer-and-challah Shabbat parties — he says he has little interest in being a snarky scenester.”

that declaration put me at ease but i was still nervous, and i thought about taking an anti-anxiety pill before going but then decided against it because i don’t have that many left and i promised myself i wasn’t buying more. i don’t really understand what the Young Manhattanite Tumblr does exactly, i followed it after the Times thing but haven’t really read the Tumblr, but i guessed the bloggers probably wouldn’t be asking guests in-depth questions about their own Tumblr at their own party so i figured i was in the clear re: not knowing about Young Manhattanite

so then i took the subway into Manhattan and me and Mike met up in the Lower East Side and walked over to the party which was at Andrew Krucoff’s apartment. i brought three Four Lokos (24 o.z. each, the equivalent of a six-pack of beer) with me in my backpack, which i got at the deli when they announced the Four Loko ban and i have been keeping them in the fridge ever since. as soon as i got to the party i put them on the counter in the kitchen so i’d have an automatic conversation starter — today i read that the company that makes Four Loko has started to turn it into fuel for cars, and if somebody made a comment about the Four Loko i brought, i could continue the conversation by talking about how they are turning Four Loko into car fuel and then we would be on our way to having a normal conversation! look at me go

so anyway, me and Mike get there and my friend from Flavorpill leads us upstairs and introduces us around. he doesn’t know that Mike blogs for a popular magazine and Mike doesn’t mention it. everyone at this party writes for somewhere cool on the internet, and gets around to mentioning it, so i can tell you that at this party was the girl who runs The Today Show’s Tumblr, my friend who writes for Flavorpill, a guy who writes for FastCompany, Andrew Krucoff who helps manage the 92nd St Y’s online presence, several people who write on Summer of Megadeth (Young Manhattanite’s sister Tumblr) and several who write on Young Manhattanite obviously, a girl who writes for Crushable, a guy who has done unspecified work for Gawker and The Forward, a guy who writes for The Nation, a girl who wrote for Idolator and now writes for a new music lifestyle startup that hasn’t launched fully yet, a guy who writes for Esquire, etc etc etc. there was a lot of talk about backchannel emailing. there are more people and publications that i just don’t remember. everyone was very nice to me.

so when we got there we stood in the kitchen talking to people and they started telling jokes and i mentioned that i had a lesbian joke that my friend who is in a lesbian punk band texted me a couple hours ago. Andrew Krucoff, who i think is about 5’8″ and has a beard and a warm smile (if you want to picture this) quietly mentioned that the girl sitting behind him was a lesbian, and i tried to explain that my lesbian joke wasn’t offensive (it’s just a play on words and was told to me by a girl in a lesbian punk band who has a pretty sensitive barometer for offensiveness i think), but then Andrew Krucoff strategically walked away before i told the joke (i guess he thought it was about to get really uncomfortable). so i told Mike the joke my friend sent me, which was “what do you call a thousand angry lesbians with guns?” and he said “what?” and i said “militia etheridge” and he laughed. and then Andrew Krucoff overheard and came back and said “i think i actually read that in an email today!!! or was it somewhere on the internet?” and it made me think my friend was just googling lesbian jokes or reading a popular site and passing the jokes off as her own

Andrew Krucoff’s apartment reminded me of my own first apartment in Manhattan, a 3-bedroom in the east village that me, beau, joe and chris lived in when we were 19 and also young Manhattanites. Krucoff’s was a 1-bedroom but it was pretty much the same idea. in my apartment i had a queen-size bed and it touched the walls on 3 sides because my room was converted from a kitchen by the management company. Joe slept on a queen-size mattress on the floor on the other side of the apartment, two feet from the wall and one foot from chris, who slept on a twin bed that was pushed up against the opposite wall. being young Manhattanites wasn’t as glamorous as we were expecting

anyway after i told the lesbian joke, i went to the bathroom and i imagined immigrant families cramming into this apartment like 150 years ago, sleeping on the floor and bathing in the kitchen and smelling sewage all day, and then i got a Negra Modelo out of the fridge and listened to the guy from Flavorpill tell a joke which was something like “two racehorses walk into a bar and order drinks. one racehorse says, ‘something bit me on the ass while i was racing today!’ and then the other racehorse says, ‘wow, something bit me on the ass too!’ and then a dog walks up to them and says ‘i couldn’t help but overhear your conversation — the exact same thing happened to me’ and then the bartender says ‘holy shit! a talking dog!!!!!’”

then it was time for the blessings and the challah. Andrew Krucoff ushered everybody into the living room and then the guy who works for Gawker read a summary of this week’s Torah portion (in Judaism, every week gets its own section of the story in the holy book) off his iPhone. then he tore off pieces of the challah and everybody passed the pieces towards the back of the crowd and since i was in the back, and probably like 5 people had already touched my piece of challah with unwashed hands, i thought about how to pretend i was eating my bread but secretly stuff it in my pocket while everyone else was eating theirs. then somebody came out of the bathroom and stood behind me, so it would have been impossible to fake eating the bread without him seeing, so i just ate it and wondered how many other New York Jews in the room were going through the same neurotic process at the same moment

then i went to the fridge and drank another Negra Modelo and listened to two girls talk about a guy that one of them is casually sleeping with. she said that she had texted him something like “i’m getting ready to leave a party in the Lower East Side — what are you up to?”, which made me feel like, okay, if someone is speaking so casually about getting ready to leave a party, i also should have been preparing to leave at that point, or at least mentioning that i was thinking about leaving. so the guy hadn’t texted her back and it had been a while, and also earlier that day it took him two and a half hours to respond to her text. honestly i didn’t think things were looking good for this girl but we had just met so i didn’t think it was my place to tell her the guy was just not that into her. then the other girl said something like “be more aggressive with him!” and also something like “tell him you wanna have sex in his bed right now!” and i almost told them both that i thought those were terrible ideas and i thought she was playing the situation appropriately with the “getting ready to leave a party” text, but i realized i was too drunk to get my thoughts together coherently and persuasively about why the “let’s have sex now” text was the wrong move, so i kept quiet and nodded

then it really seemed like time to leave. everyone was saying their goodbyes but i didn’t really have that many people to say goodbye to, so i listened to the guy from Esquire as he said goodbye to the guy from Flavorpill: the guy from Flavorpill put his hand on the guy from Esquire’s shoulder, and the guy from Esquire said “every time you touch me on the shoulder i feel like i’m having an intervention” and i laughed even though i was trying to pretend i wasn’t eavesdropping on what they were saying to each other. then i left, called my girlfriend on the way to the subway, told her about the party, got on the subway, wrote this, got out of the subway, and then read through a Google Alerts email for my blog, which included mostly insults. i stopped at the deli on the way home to get pretzels, but they didn’t have the kind i like. being a young Brooklynite is not as glamorous as i was expecting

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“David “Shapiro” is 22 and lives in New York City and has a Tumblr.