Whenever you talk to singles contemplating on moving out of their communities to a “singles community” you hear them debate about whether they want to move to the Upper West Side (aka UWS) or Washington Heights (aka The Heights) These debates are usually one sentence affairs that say The Heights is frummer, less shallow and more friendly and The West Side is cooler, but everyone sleeps around and no one really wants to get married – according to my source in The Heights, the inferiority complex of Heights residents is so great that at almost every gathering and meal there is some form of Upper West Side bashing – which has led him to think that Heights residents are frum when it comes to going to shul and forming learning groups, but fail miserably at the Torah commandment of bein adom l’chavaro.
I think it’s high time that we started making fun of the Heights too, whenever frum singles who don’t live or have plans to move to the West Side get together or talk about singles life – they seem to bash the upper west side. Oh, they are so shallow, everyone is rich, everyone sleeps with everyone and it’s so unfriendly are the common argument amongst the singles and former singles who steered clear of the distinctly left wing modern orthodox singles scene that is the west side.
Sure the Upper West Side is shallow and unfriendly, but that same unfriendliness and shallowness happens in the Heights as well. It’s very cliquish and very judgmental (hence stories like the one where this girl I dated found her apartment door open because her roommate was inside making out with her boyfriend, but she didn’t want it to “look” like yichud) Did I tell you I’m here to set the record straight and bash both The Heights and the upper west side?
I don’t expect any less of New York, did you expect the younger folk in Manhattan to be any less shallow, unfriendly and cliquish than those in the other boroughs – it’s New York man, people grow up thinking they are the center of the world.
So besides for a boring night life, nothing to do in the neighborhood and a distinctly uglier neighborhood than the upper west side, what’s the difference between Washington Heights and The Upper West Side?
Frumness – The Heights ladies tend to wear skirts more often than their UWS counterparts, this makes them way more frum. They also claim to go to shul to daven, but anyone who has stepped foot into Mt Sinai knows that you don’t go there to daven because it’s impossible to do it without staring at the ladies across the non-existent mechitza, it’s way easier on the neck to check out the ladies at Mt Sinai than at Oheb Tzedek (be there on Friday night or you’l never be redeemed via the legendary tefillin dates that are running rampant on the upper west side, that don’t actually exist – because no one is frum enough to think along those lines)
Sex – Everyone who’s proud of their Heights resident status tells me that there isn’t much sexual activity going on and what I would like to say is that the real difference between the UWS and The Heights is that in the Heights people are very frum on the outside and don’t really talk about this stuff, while on the UWS no one is trying to be frummer than their neighbor. Do you mean to tell me that there’s no sex in a community full of horned up 20’s and 30’s singles who may never get married? If they were that frum, they would be living at home.
Loshon Horah – It’s rampant everyone loves talking shit, hell I’m telling loshon horah about both communities right now by writing this post, I just think that telling loshon horah about an entire community of people doesn’t really them the way it does when individuals say things about specific people and break up potential shidduchim which seems to be a major facet of the older singles crisis that started these communities in the first place.
Marriage – My argument is that moving to a place like the heights or UWS will hinder your chances of marrying because everyone becomes friends and say they don’t want to date each other, also the plethora of choice becomes your enemy and so the Heights will eventually blossom to the size of the west side because many more people are moving in than moving out. However, the upper west side is very attractive to many not necessarily frum singles who may be reform, conservative or traditional, while the Heights isn’t even on the radar map.
Coolness – The Heights is a playground for Josh Millers.
Parties – The Heights is more low key, you never hear about any crazy parties, but that may also be because it’s not frum looking to have a party, so instead they have these coed meals.
There are other key differences between the two neighborhoods, price is a big one, it’s much cheaper to live in the Heights, but the west side is more viable to raise a family – there are many more choices of shuls, kosher stores, learning opportunities and schools. Eventually everyone who marries when they are in the Heights loses their social circle and realizes that it’s not worth the dirty looks from Breuers folks who don;t hold of the eruv, so they move to Riverdale, Englewood or Tenack – to live the modern orthodox dream.
Of course this entire post is liable to the BS meter because I live in neither place, have been to very few singles meals and will God willing never have to live east of the Rockies again.