One of the things I wanted to see on my trip to New York was rain, Northern California weather is what we east coasters may call paradise. It hasn’t rained since the winter, which ended in March and I felt humidity once since then, so I was looking forward to the diverse weather of New York which I was hoping would include a little rain. I got more than I bargained for.
It’s been raining for two days and it’s supposed to rain the rest of succos and it sucks. Normally I would have gone to some sukkah parties, but what good is a sukkah party without a sukkah? So yesterday I decided to hit up Williamsburg, I was bored and my friend told me to go check out Hatzlocha Grocery on Flushing Ave so I went to Willi and gaped at Chassidim.
I love Chassidic neighborhoods, they have a lot of character and Villaimsburg is no different, soggy heimishe trash filled the streets and I walked around wondering what the point of wearing a streimel under an over sized hood was. It was overcast and raining for much of the day, it was interesting to see the different rain gear worn by various men. The women all wear black or brown coats, but the men have all sorts of contraptions to keep their hats or streimels from getting wet.
I saw men wearing plastic bags, newspapers, these coats with really extended hoods which must be a hit in Williamsburg and I even saw one man wearing a box on his head – it reminded me of those people who think newspapers make a good umbrella in a downpour.
I wasn’t impressed with the fodder opportunities in hatzlacha grocery, there were little cute chassidic kids all dressed alike talking in yiddish, there were families and adults and men with bluetooths in their ear – it was distinctly chassidic – you could tell by the Chassidic spellings of random words, I wondered if they spelled “with” as “mit” instead as I looked around for interesting things to film or photograph, but there was nothing. I did notice that Williamsburg residents seem to throw down sukkahs wherever they can without thinking of parking spots, sidewalks or street traffic flow, I saw numerous sukkahs jutting out into the middle or narrow streets and large avenues alike.
Prior to God deciding that succos in New York was going to be rained out, I had imagined hitting up the Crown Heights Simchas Bais and watching those late night fights between off the derech chabad kids and Satmar orthoprax hockers. I was really wanted to roam around Boro Park and hitting up the large Bobov sukkah with the Bobover violinists, I also wanted to see some of those street fairs with Uncle Moishy as I remember from my youth and sunny weather always forces more interesting people to the streets, but alas succos has been quite disappointing – sure I hung out with some awesome folks, met some new peeps and had a gay old time – but I’m an outdoors soul and when it rains in New York, I just want to drink tea, read poetry and think about life.