How Is a Park Slope Seder Different From All Other Seders?



“All right,” said the rabbi. “We’ll try to get to the food as fast as we can.” Rose Water, the Haute Barnyard Park Slope restaurant, was holding its second-annual second-night Passover Seder, and the obstacle between the starving, secular attendees and the five-course prix fixe was an hour-long ritual leavened, as it were, with trademark neighborhood sanctimony. The plagues recitation became a mini-lecture on abused women (the modern-day plagues were rape, shame, and so on); we were even more riveted by the time- and nabe-specific Four Questions.

As printed in the handout Haggadah:

• Why is the Atlantic Yards project different from all other real-estate development projects?

• Why is it that this entire section of Brooklyn consists of unleavened low-rise buildings, but at Atlantic Yards Bruce Ratner wants to build seventeen high-rise buildings?

• Why is it that in all other projects the community would be happy for a real-estate developer to bring them “jobs, housing and hoops,” but in this project some members of the community are bitter?

• Why is it that in all other projects the buildings stand straight, but in Frank Gehry’s designs for the Atlantic Yards project, the buildings recline to one side?
— to be read by the youngest real-estate developer at the Seder with the shortest hair.

We’re not going to answer these ones,” the rabbi hastened to add. And with that, the crowd was several minutes closer to the promised meal.