“Bagels” and “New York” started to go hand in hand in the 1960s when demand increased from an influx in Jewish immigration. The bagel union that dominated the lower east side was over run and the bagel market started booming. Now, you can hardly go a block without finding a bagel of some sorts as it has become an iconic, quintessential staple of New York.
There is a lot of contention over what shop can claim the title of “Best Bagel in New York.” The ones that will come up on every google search are Ess-a-Bagel, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Co., Russ and Daughters, Absolute Bagels, Murray’s Bagels, Tompkin Square Bagels, and H & H Bagels. Honorable mentions go to Pick-a-Bagel, Black Seed Bagels, and Sadelles.
Our favorite bagel in New York, however, is a current hidden gem that is just starting to creep up on these lists: Bo’s Bagels.
This Harlem, that’s right, Harlem, shop serves up the perfect bagel that is crispy, golden, and crunchy on the outside but doughy and warm on the inside. They aren’t trying to wow you with bright colors and outrageous flavors; the bagels themselves are so good that bells and whistles aren’t needed to get attention. Ask for which ones are the freshest, and if you are lucky to one straight from kettle, you’ll be ruined from all other bagels. (Sorry not sorry!)
“But I don’t want to go all the way up to 116th!!!!”
Make a fun afternoon of it with friends or even go on a date! Head up to Bo’s to get a bagel ($2.50 with cream cheese), head around the corner to Levain for a cookie ($4), another foodie staple and what we think is the best cookie in New York, and take both down to the park to enjoy a mini picnic next to the lake. Take a lap around the reservoir for skyline views and a bit of exercise (you just had a bagel and cookie after all), and if you are feeling extra groovy, walk over to Mamma’s Too for a couple slices of Sicilian pizza to go ($9) (which we think is some of the best pizza in NY), and head to Riverside Park to chow down while watching the sunset.
That’s a solid 6 hours of exploring upper Manhattan fun for less than $20, and you can hit 3 of our favorite New York eats on the way!
Bonus Tip: get a bottle of wine at the Whole Foods Wine shop on 98th if you want to make it a true #sundayfunday
As always, stay frugal.