If you're anything like the average secularish Jew, right about now you're thinking, "Jesus Christ, it's Passover." If you're sederless, you have a couple of options. You can go to the 92nd street Y but it's $90 and Andrew Krucoff will probably be there. You can find a Craigslist seder. Or, you can make your own Seder plate and sit at home on Monday night watching "The Black Donnellys" and wishing "Studio 60" wasn't cancelled.
Hebrew school after the jump.
Maror: Symbolizing the bitterness of Egyptian slavery, the bitter herb is usually horseradish. But, reconstructionists as we are, we usually substitute weed. A quick walk through Washington Square Park will quickly score you some shwag. Listen for the sotto voce calls for trees. Another strategy we recommend is to go into one of the seedier hookah bars in the East Village which are clearly drug fronts. However, we're not clear on the etiquette here, and saying, "Hey bros, I'm looking for some herb to represent my people's pain under Egyptian slavery," all but guarantees a hairy situation.
Karpas: A vegetable, usually parsley. We have no idea what it represents or why we have to dip it in salt water but we do. Two words: Whole Foods.
Charoset: Really the only good thing about Passover is charoset, that mixture of apples, wine, cinnamon, and nuts. It makes the wet kisses planted on your cheek by your old relatives (collectively known as "The Survivors") tolerable. Anyway, there's nowhere to buy. We learned the hard way. But Moshe from Moshe's Bake Shop on Second Ave told us, "It's easy to make. You take apples, you take matzo, and eehhhhh." Nahon.
Zeroa: The shankbone is the creepiest and hardest to find item. We were banking on the Thrillist leftovers but it looks like we'll be waiting a long time. So, we'd recommend heading up to Fischer Bros. and Leslie, a kosher butcher and specialty foods store on the UWS.
Matzoh: Passover, the chance to carve off those carbs. Also the chance to eat shitty cardboard for a week. L'Chaim! The best matzoh is still made in the Lower East Side's Streit's Matzo on Rivington. I mean, it still tastes horrible but, on the other hand, a keenly honed sense of suffering is clutch to being a good Jew.
Kugel, Tzimmis, Macaroons: Though some of the crap you eat during Pesach is on the actual plate, a lot is on the table: the sweet kugel noodles, the gross Nerf-like Gefilte fish, tongue, tzimmis. Places like Russ and Daughters, the aforementioned Fischer Bros. and Leslie and yes, even Whole Foods, carry a large selection of these items.
Guilt: My Passovers are never complete if my mother doesn't tell me to come visit more often or my dad telling me to get a real job. Guilt is the glue that keeps the family bonded together. If you're alone on Passover it is often the ingredient you miss most. Whenever I feel frustratingly guilt-free, I just picture my mom sitting in her home, growing old and alone, a full seder plate in front of her and a table full of empty chairs. A phone sits next to her, silent under her hopeful gaze. That usually does the trick.