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Jun 28, 2011 09:57 AM

Bris Locations on the Upper West Side

My husband and I are expecting our first in a few weeks (!!!) and our apt. is just too small to have the bris in- We're on 63rd and West End. Any good locations, preferably within walking distance? I contacted JCC and was surprised at the prices so anything that might be more affordable would be really helpful- And as long as the location is on the Upper West Side, we would consider it.
Also good caterer suggestion would be great. Thanks in advance for your help

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  1. Any of the shuls in the area should have a large enough space. I have no clue what the price would be, especially if you're not a member. Pick the denomination of your choice and call them up to ask.

    In terms of caterers, any of Seasons, Kosher Marketplace, Bagel Basket, and Bagels and Co. should be be able to handle a bris.

    14 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      Thanks... I've found that some synagogues don't allow you to use their facility unless you are a member, which we will eventually do but until then, if there are any other facilities in addition to shuls that we might be able to use, I'd love to hear about them-

      1. re: avitrek

        This is an example of why young couples should belong to a shul. Start by phoning the type of shul you would have have been comfortable joining. They all have do this all the time. So do the caterers. You are in a target-rich environment. i.e., filled with caterers and shuls that cater to every possible taste (I defy anyone to describe a type of Jew who cannot find an accommodating congregation on the UWS). And in pretty muchevery budget. Is there any special category you need, in catering or space. If there is, I and others on this list can get specific.

        You are wise to think of this before the baby actually arrives. B' sha'a tovah u'mutzlachat.

        1. re: AdinaA

          I would love to keep it under $600. We are expecting 30 people at the most. Catering can be bagels, nothing too complicated. We would love to join a congregation but since we just moved in to a bigger place and have a baby on the way, now isn't a good time for us financially to consider joining- Thanks for your help

          1. re: coco99

            Coco99, as a board member of my own shul in Teaneck, finances should not be a barrier to membership, and it isn't.

            Please contact the membership committee of your closest shul, don't give out too many details to the secretary, but do be emphatic about speaking to someone on the membership committee.

            Also, I understand many of the buildings in the area have a party room, maybe you could lean on some friends to borrow the party room in their building (I assume you don't have one)

            If you run out of options, please try considering the social hall of Arzei Darom in Teaneck (I'll cut to the quick, the room rental for a bris is $450 for non members). We have on site parking and it is fully wheel chair accessible.

            Good luck & B'Shaah Tovah.

            1. re: coco99

              I know money is always a problem. I can see a couple of options here.

              One is to work with your friends. Have it in a friend's apartment, and do them a big deal favor in return. 30 is not a lot of people, even in a Manhattan one-bedroom.

              Talk to to the baby's grandparents. Lots of grandparents are thrilled to take over planning, arranging and paying for the bris.

              Start attending them most congenial synagogue, congenial to you and your husband. Consider attending something other than Shabbat services. Do it now. Then talk to someone about your problem. When you commit to a community, they will commit to you. And help you find a way to manage this. Know that you are not the first young couple in Manhattan to face the realities of high rental prices, tiny apartments, a baby on the way and no money for a brit.

              I suspect that someone's apartment or a shul are your best options. Just opening a room and paying for the janitor to wash up the afterward costs money. Out of curiosity, how much did the JCC ask to let your use a room that will hold 30 people for a couple of hours?

              1. re: AdinaA

                It is also possible to do a perfectly nice brit by buying large cartons of hot coffee, some OJ, cream cheese and slicing some tomatoes. Laying it all out yourself on plastic platters and serving with bagels. It does require that someone volunteer to stop at the bakery, and the coffeeshop and arrive early to set up and stay to clean up.

                1. re: AdinaA

                  Adina, I don't know about your shul, but we do not allow self-catering.

                  1. re: vallevin

                    A young couple can follow this plan in a private apartment. However,

                    Many shuls allow you to bring packaged cream cheese, OJ, lox, bagels from the bakery , coffee from a coffee shop as long as all of the brands, (establishments) are supervised. This is not the same as self-catering. And it can be a very practical solution.

                    In general, I think that it is important to remember that we are celebrating a mitzvah, and that a nice and appropriate simcha can be celebrated without spending megabucks.

                    Building party rooms may sound like a great idea. Except that buildings have rules. Asking to "borrow" a room is usually a violation of the bylaws , which generally stipulate use by owners or legal tenants and their invited guests.

                    Hosting a party for a friend in your own apartment, or asking a friend ot host yours is perfectly acceptable, , but "lending" a shared party space is similar to an illegal sublet, and can cause all kinds of trouble for people who do it.

              2. re: coco99

                For 30 people, most building party rooms should work. I imagine there is not one in your building or you wouldn't be asking, but most newer large buildings will have a party room. Ask your friends who live in a building like that what is available and if you could rent it through them. For starters, I'm sure the trump buildings around the corner from you have a party room.

              3. re: AdinaA

                I disagree. This is an example of why shul membership is a crock.

                As for the OP, there's a party room in 101 WEA that is (or at one point, was) available to be rented out.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  DeisCane, I don't understand. Shuls provide a lot of services. Available minyanim, spaces for communal events and rabbinical services among them. Not joining but expecting to be able to have an inexpensive space available is a classic free-rider problem.

                  True, many shuls have generous donors. But many communities struggle to maintain things like mikvaot, eruvim and a roof and central heat in the place where the minyan meets. Other people simply expect to have these services available. I don't see how this works unless people join congregations.

                  1. re: DeisCane

                    I don,t understand your statement. Without membership how is the shule going to survive so that it is there when you want to make a Bris or anything else. Like it or not a Shule has to pay for its building, employees etc. DeisCane I invite you to join the Shule of your choice.
                    As to coco99..Mazal Tov. Talk to your friends in buildings with party rooms, You may be able to rent one at a reasonable price.

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      To DeisCane’s point: Some people who have been unaffiliated for whatever reason often turn to a synagogue around life cycle events- birth, bar-mitzvah, death. There are some shuls that will turn people away unless they are members (or have been attending the Hebrew school for 8 years, etc), while other shuls will work with folks- members or not- to find a way to accommodate them.
                      OP: The Bris is just the beginning of membership in a community. Talk to your friends and friends of friends- ask around, and hopefully you will find a place in which you are comfortable.

                      1. re: serenarobin

                        That's what I was referring to. Thank you, Serena. My apologies for what was probably a harsh choice of wording. What I meant was forcing someone to join in order to do this is a crock (or something like that:-).

                        I am a member of a shul but find that some services can and should be provided a la carte. Our shul is willing to rent its party room to whomever as long as they respect our kashrut guidelines, etc.

                2. Wonderful news! I can’t really help with venues, but if you’re looking for Kosher “drop off” platters of bagels, salads, etc, (ie no waitstaff), Seasons (used to be called Supersol) does a nice job: 661 Amsterdam Avenue 212-222-6332. I used them about a year ago for a work event.

                  1. Besides the shuls, some buildings may have spaces available to be rented out to the general public. In addition, although the UWS dairy places are all well and good, caterers out of NJ or Brooklyn tend to be more affordable. That being said, my wife and I named our baby at the Jewish Center and then had a weekday, post-minyan "kiddush" catered by then-Supersol.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: craigcep

                      These are great suggestions. While our building doesn't have a community room, perhaps a friend nearby might...I believe the JCC quoted upwards of $800. Which just seems nuts when we'll be there for two hours tops

                    2. Ask a restaurant to do it... most won't charge for the room. See if Roma or Mike's would give you the whole place before normal opening hours.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EvanM

                        Please don't have a brit at Roma.

                      2. Here is a list of locations from Time Out New York Kids:

                        1 Reply