Chicago has its hotdogs. New Orleans has its beignets. And we can probably all agree when it comes to the realm of hand-held foods, nothing says 'New York' quite like the magical roll-with-a-hole we've become so devoted to. Toast it, scoop it, slice it, slather it with cream cheese or slap some lox on it. Any way you eat it, the bagel is as intrinsically New York as the Empire State Building or a dirty subway car.
While choosing a favorite is sort of like being a parent and trying to rank your children in order of lovability, our new mayor has already taken the leap. De Blasio has declared that Park Slope’s Bagel Hole is his most beloved bagel in all the land. During an interview with reporters at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual gathering, he said that a rotund breakfast from this Brooklyn joint is “the most authentic, traditional New York City bagel.”
In honor of this mighty claim, we’ve rounded up six of our other go-to spots for a bagel fix. We’d say they stack up nicely to the competition:
Drifting down the long counter at the Midtown outpost of this classic bagel spot sort of feels like going toward that light of the end of the tunnel people are always talking about — a glorious glowing bagel-y light. We recommend having a seat by the window and people watching while shamelessly coating your cheeks in a thick layer of cream cheese.
The Bagel Store
The motto here is “If your bagels are not from The Bagel Store then it is just another bagel.” A lofty statement, but then again, if you’ve ever stumbled into the Metropolitan or Bedford Avenue outposts of this Williamsburg joint, then you know of the life-affirming qualities of these gems — and you’re probably too busy being hungover or lustily licking your fingers free of schmear to dispute that motto.
This Upper West Side mainstay is known for a line out the door and a slew of smallish bagels that satisfy without overstuffing — no pillow gut-busters here. It’s worth the wait for a no-nonsense breakfast that’s a joyous balance of chewy-dense-crusty-crunchy.
Fifteen kinds of bagels? Oh, yes, this necessitates frequent return to trips to this traditionalist Greenwich Village shop. But for the traditionalist eaters, the plain will do just fine: it’s the ideal combination of classic outer bagel sheen and inner doughy bite.
Ready for a secret? This Queens-based bakery’s bagels are popping up in a fair number of the city’s top restaurants. Their blend of high-quality ingredients with time-honored cooking methods is rapidly putting Davidovich on New York’s bagel radar. Cut right to the chase and track them down over inside the Essex Market in the Lower East Side.
Russ & Daughters
Sure, this shop gets their bagels straight from De Blasio’s beloved Bagel Hole, so it’s almost cheating adding them here, but we’d be remiss not to include this legendary Lower East Side shop. The Nova lox is the stuff that a bagel dreams about at night — and we will, too.