New York’s bagels are as diverse as its people. There’s so many! And so many different kinds! How will you ever know which ones are the absolute best? Well, as it turns out we have the absolute best taste in bagels (and, consequentially, very little foreskin.) We take our bagels, much like ourselves, very seriously (kidding, we take our bagels a lot more seriously than ourselves).
After all, is there a more perfect carb? Is there any other vehicle more ideal for carrying vast amounts of cream cheese? What other bread-y item efficiently packs 5 slices of bread into one convenient and socially acceptable food item? None! We love them sober, and we love them even more hungover because only that large of an amount of carbs can soak up our sins from last night. So get out there and expand your bagel horizons (especially all the way to Ess-A-Bagel, which was frequently exalted amongst our staff). Here’s to living the high-carb life.
Adam Cecil, Entertainment:
I love Ess-A-Bagel. I would marry Ess-A-Bagel. I used to work at the NYU Dental College and I would go to Ess-A-Bagel almost every day for lunch. They have a wide variety of sandwich options to go on top of their wonderful, wonderful bagels. Also, you can get their bagels for a dollar each. A dollar for a beautiful, wonderful, tasty bagel. The staff is also really aggressive and borderline verbally abusive, which really makes for a great New York experience. Plus, they have really delicious bagels.
Eric Silver, City:
Cinnamon raisin with cream cheese or veggie tuna. I know the veggie tuna is weird, but the sweet and salty is wonderful, like a valhalla of noms all over my tongue. Also, Bagel Bob’s on University is severely underrated. Gotta love their 45 cent bagel deal on Monday afternoons.
Hannah Orenstein, Entertainment:
Think Coffee: Think’s bagels are totally underrated, but they’re amazing. They’re crunchy, but not overly so, and have a really lovely, almost smoky texture when toasted. But one of their baristas recently told me their manufacturer is using a different recipe lately, so they aren’t as good. Pass for now!
Leo’s: Leo’s is in the Financial District and the line can be long, but they’re worth the extra effort. They’re perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Their array of toppings is also pretty impressive, including a million or so types of lox. There isn’t seating, but there’s a cute park/seating area around the corner.
Pick-a-Bagel: I like the location on 23rd and 3rd, near Gramercy. Their egg bagels are sweet and filling, which made them my go-to this summer. The staff there is also super nice.
Bagel Boss: One more — I can’t believe I forgot this one. Bagel Boss is the bomb. It’s so good that my then-boyfriend and I once rented a Zipcar at midnight and drove to Long Island to split one. (Everything bagel toasted with butter.) I discovered last week that there’s a Stuy-Town location (1st & 15th) and angels began to sing. An egg everything toasted with veggie-chive cream cheese was enough of a calorie bomb to satisfy my drunchies, but delicious enough to eat while sober. Ding ding ding, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!
Avoid Starbucks and Dunkin’s bagels like the plague. Those aren’t real bagels. (Sorry.)
Julia Musto, Multimedia:
Pick-A-Bagel. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese toasted on a sesame bagel with fresh squeezed carrot juice. Nuff’ said.
Maegan Vazquez, National:
Little Atlas‘ Bagel Sandwich Special: any bagel with tur-bacon, egg, and cheese. All for less than $4. Super yummy, especially on cold mornings. Super close to campus.
Jess Littman, On Campus:
Bagels on the Square: French toast bagels with Dutch apple cream cheese. Need I say more?
Kelly Weill, City Editor:
Either of Williamsburg’s Bagelsmiths: peanut butter and jelly on a cinnamon raisin bagel. Enjoy on the sidewalk at midnight.
Helen Holmes, City:
Dunkin is seriously worth mentioning. I am from New England and I am not sorry. I have hit up their toasted wheat bagels in the best and worst of times and I can pay for them with campus cash.
Bagel Bob’s: I’m convinced the bagels used to be better, but it’s still your best option for around campus. Plus, each bagel is 50 cents on Monday night. If you have the freezer room, buy a bunch and stick them in there. Your future hungover self will be appreciative. Also, go with Pumpernickel.
Tompkin Square Bagels: My personal favorite. They make bagels continuously throughout the day, so you can expect a super fresh, possibly hot bagel. Keep the whole wheat everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese as your regular, but don’t be afraid to experiment. The cashier helped me construct a burger with fried egg on a bagel. *~Listen to your heart~*
Ess-A-Bagel: Crunchy but not dry. Plus they are not shy on the outer coatings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, etc.) Worth walking a couple of blocks out of the way.
Only go to Dunkin, Starbucks or Pick A Bagel when you’re hungover. No exceptions (unless you really need a bagel in a pinch for whatever reason, in which case I understand and just do you baby). Also, stay in North America for good bagels. I couldn’t find a decent bagel anywhere while studying abroad. Basically ruined the whole experience.
(As of responding to my bagel inquiries, Connor had not yet done his homework, reaffirming his high prioritization of bagels above all.)
Jack Schramm, Entertainment:
Ess-A-Bagel is the only bagel I can eat anymore. Perfectly toothsome without being doughy, too dense, or bready. Everything bagel with lox cream cheese from Ess-A-Bagel has ruined all other bagels for me. Truly a masterpiece.
The bagels at Russ and Daughters really aren’t that great, but deserve a nod because they have probably the best lox, cream cheese, chopped liver, pickled herring, and just about anything else you could imagine putting on a bagel in the city. (For the record, I have not yet tried Barney Greengrass.)
Julia Berke, Photo Editor:
Jack’s right on. I always go for the Fancy Delancey at Russ and Daughters because the name is exactly what it is, smoked tuna, wasabi flying fish roe, dill horseradish cream cheese, the fanciest bagel on the block.
For a fast and dirty bagel on a rough Sunday morning I go to Daniel’s on 38th and 3rd. Everything bagel, sometimes toasted with butter, sometimes just with cream cheese.
Cara Cifferelli, On-Campus:
I’m stuck in NYULondon, where my only option seems to be Pret or McDonalds- they do NOT mention this in the brochure.
(Our condolences go out to you, Cara)
Joe Kozlowski, National Editor:
I’m actually from New York, so here’s my take on a *cue stereotypical NYC accent* a real New York bagel. I actually don’t think the place you get said bagel matters that much, as long as it’s a bagel store. Of course, some places are better than others (if I had to pick a best bagel based on nothing but the product, I’d probably say Murray’s), but there’s something to be said for/nothing wrong with your local bagel place.
Where I get particular, though, is toppings. I’ve seen some really disgusting combinations (strawberry cream cheese on a toasted everything comes to mind), but as far as I’m concerned butter on toasted sesame or everything/untoasted but still warm plain is the way to go. Two exceptions: I’ll get cream cheese on a cinnamon-raisin if I want something sweet or get whitefish, cream cheese, extra onions if I’m at a place with decent quality fish products (big fan of Russ and Daughters.) I’m fundamentally hesitant about BEC on a bagel; on one hand, it’s more filling but at the same time, I miss the squishy roll and feel kind of guilty putting Sriracha on a bagel.
Also, know what you’re getting when you get up to the counter. I can’t stress that enough.
Ari Lipstiz, Editor-in-Chief:
Haha y’all crazy. Murray’s is the best below 14th.
Ess-a-bagel is located at 359 1st Avenue off of 21st st.
Leo’s is located at 3 Hanover Square.
Bagel Boss is located at 263 1st ave between 15th and 16th.
Bagels on the Square is located at Bleeker and 6th ave.
Tompkin Square Bagels is located at 165 Avenue A between 10th and 11th.
Williamsburg’s Bagelsmiths are located at 189 Bedford Ave and 566 Lorimer St.
Russ and Daughters is located at 179 E Houston.
Murray’s is located on 6th between 13th and 14th.
Images by the author.