I found a big one-bedroom, the most prized of possessions, on the upper edge of the neighborhood. You're moving to Harlem! said my horrified family (who never could have imagined that real estate prices, as well as the density per block of Starbucks and discount drug stores, would quadruple over the next few years, and that I would be considered a savvy pioneer). I had no idea, until after I unpacked, that my new neighborhood was the center of Jewish life in New York. Nor did I care, once I found out.
My friend M., who lived a few blocks away, had migrated from downtown solely because of the Jewish singles factor. He attended with gusto every event I found painful and interminable: the round-robin dinners, the salsa dances; the Date Baits, where you stand up with a microphone for 60 seconds and tell your life story to a roomful of the oposite sex, who then get to vote on whether or not they want you; the museum scavenger hunts, the wine tastings; and others even worse. He joined the singles' committee at his cool new synagogue. He went on many dates and had a blast, and encouraged me to do the same. But he was a guy, an endangered species, and so there were usually ten women to each one of him at these torturous evenings. Guys had it made on the Upper West Side. I was dubious.