Looking for love in the Big Apple, an Alaskan bachelor presses on

Jay is a 33-year-old restaurateur from Fairbanks. Quite simply, he wants to marry Jewish, and due to a dearth of Jewish women in Fairbanks, is searching across the country for the future Mrs. Ramras.

Jay and I select a Monday evening for our "date." He calls the Friday before, as promised — this is a good sign. He has researched what's on Broadway; our choices are limited by the fact that most of Broadway is dark on Mondays.

Since he doesn't want to see a "tourist" show, like "Cats," he suggests David Mamet's new show, "The Old Neighborhood." Excellent choice.

I tell him I'll pick him up by limo, arranged by the paper's account executive. He is duly impressed.

On Monday, I am picked up at the appointed time by Robert Rivera, owner of Lexington Limo. On the way to New York, Robert regales me with tales of the limousine world; and we talk about the possibility of Jay finding a woman who would be willing to move with him to Alaska.

I have told Jay we'd pick him up at his West 74th sublet between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Thanks to Robert's superior driving skills (and a lack of traffic), we arrive about 4:45. I announce myself to the doorman, who in turn, announces me to Jay. I am assured Jay will be down in a minute.

A few minutes later, the doorman apologizes that Jay has not come down yet. We enter into a discussion about the best boxes for moving (liquor boxes); the doorman has a heavy accent and I only understand every few words. I smile and nod politely.

Jay finally appears about 4:58. He has a New York-casual thing going on — tan cords, denim shirt, cashmere blazer. The attractive, 5-foot-10-inch bachelor is taken aback by our white limousine.

In the limo on the way to the restaurant (trendy Balthazar), I ask him how his search has been going — and how it all started.

He tells me that about three years ago, the "nesting instinct" became strong, and he had the desire to settle down and begin a family. After dating the couple of Jewish women in Fairbanks, he came down to the Lower 48, first trying his luck in Washington state (where he met about 30 women), then going to a dating service in California. He ended up dating an employee of the service, who tried living in Fairbanks for a while, but it didn't work out.

From there, he ran ads in Moment magazine, which he says netted him a lot of responses from women with Birkenstocks and backpacks.

Now he's in New York for several months, running his restaurant business by phone, volunteering at a soup kitchen and dating, dating, dating.

Overall, Jay says he spent the first month getting acclimated, the second dating, the third entertaining media inquiries, and now is resuming dating. By his count, he's met about 70 women in his four months in the Big Apple.

Jay has made a name for himself in the Fairbanks area. Although during college at Syracuse University he thought he might enter the teaching profession, he has found a calling in the restaurant business. He started in the business without any experience, bringing Buffalo chicken wings to his native Fairbanks. Today, he owns four popular family restaurants. He is very involved in the community, using his business to collect food for the needy and sponsoring a jazz festival.

Jay clearly loves his Alaskan life and wants someone to share it with him. Since his father splits his time between California and Fairbanks (his mother is deceased and Jay was instrumental in building a synagogue in her memory), and he has relatives in New York, I suggest dividing his time between Fairbanks and another, more accessible, city. He says that's an option, although not one he's seriously considered…at least not so far.

He tells me about some of the women he's met, some lovely, some scary, noting he finds it "hurtful" that a woman would reject the concept of living in Alaska without ever seeing the state. Jay came close to finding the woman of his dreams, flying her out to Alaska, but the fit wasn't quite right.

Jay is a really nice guy, and if he weren't insisting that a woman drop everything and move to Alaska, I'm sure he'd be standing under the chuppah in no time.

At any rate, he certainly has some incredible stories to tell. Like the diabetic woman whom he brought to Alaska. She got drunk the first night she was out there. The next day, when Jay threw a party to introduce her to his friends, she had to keep injecting herself with insulin to try to re-regulate her blood sugar. Then there was the flight attendant who tried to impress him by smuggling beer off the airplane. And the woman who disrobed after 20 minutes at Jay's Fairbanks condo.

He chuckles about these incidents, noting it's all part of the adventure. Yet, beneath the optimism, I sense some weariness. But the naturally gregarious Jay tells me that he still looks forward to each new date.

While I'm not sure he'll find a woman to make the move, Jay hasn't abandoned hope. But the latest scoop is that the Alaskan who came to New York to find a bride is considering something he never thought he'd do: Move to the Big Apple.

He was about to give up and return home when he met someone who stole his heart.

Ramras' choice is a 28-year-old Jewish marketing executive. There's one catch, though: She won't move to Alaska.

This month he was scheduled to head back to Fairbanks for that time-honored experience: giving the relationship some breathing room.

He also wants to get back to real life. "I'm not a playboy," he says. "I'm a worker bee."