Undoubtedly, you’ve had a bagel. But, have you had a New York bagel?
This is the kind of thing riots start over, and wars are waged for. You simply, do not mess with a NY bagel, or, a NY girl.
Some say it’s the water; others swear it’s the technique. Having worked in a bagel shop for a couple years, utilizing the exact same water bagel method as any reputable NY Bagel shop, I can tell you, it’s still not the same.
I want mine Everything (which, there should only be five toppings on an Everything bagel – garlic, onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and coarse salt; anyone who says the salt is unnecessary is obviously wrong and you should un-friend them…you don’t need liars in your life) and I want it semi-gutted and toasted, with a schmear of olive or chive cream cheese, lox, tomatoes, onions, sprouts and capers.
Still with me?
If not, you’ve obviously not from NY, never had a NY Bagel, or haven’t had it done right.
Pizza is another hot-button issue. It must be thin crust (but not that crap that tastes like Saltine crackers most major chains call a thin crust pizza), easily foldable, drip cheese and olive oil (not grease) down your arms, and be in a slice large enough to feed you, your family and most of your neighbors.
And, don’t even start me on hot wings.
You don’t order Buffalo Wings in NY. You order wings, and get the best damn vinegar-y, spicy, buttery sauced chicken bits you’ll ever put two lips and a tongue on. If you order Buffalo chicken, be prepared for something that resembles more of a stew; chicken bits swimming in a flaming ocean of deliciousness, with a mound of shoestring fries to soak up every last 6 alarm drop, that makes Taco Bell look like, and feel, like just another of those 31 famous flavors. Food is only the beginning, though.
Once you’re out, you’ll find yourself pining for the best seafood, fresh off the boat, real Boboa tea and fiending like a crack whore at midnight, trying desperately to order Golds deli mustard online.
A train does not involve a long, scenic, cross-country adventure; although it often feels like it. When the 7 being scheduled for maintenance brings a tear to your eye, and an extra two hours to your commute, then you understand.
And, until you watch a desperate father set up a Barbie dream house, a tourist do the “station shuffle” and smell seventy kinds of cuisine, all in the same night, you still don’t understand the train.
You know what a “mugger’s 20” is, and that you keep it in small bills. You also know plastic doesn’t go far outside of Manhattan and probably learned how to haggle at one of the 15 bodegas on your block.
You know, “fuck you”, isn’t always an insult (in fact, it rarely is) and the word “fuck” is just that – another word. In fact, probably one of the most versatile ones, since it can be anything from a noun, to a verb, to an adjective, and can be used repeatedly in a single sentence.
Fuck is a fucking hardworking fucker of a fucking word.
You know the dread of being asked, or teased, about your long As and Os (especially prevalent in words like water, coffee, call and for me, in particular, radiator) as soon as you’re outside of the tri-state area. You can probably tell where in NY someone else is from, just by the dialect.
Not every “altercation” has to be a fight; but be damn sure if you mess with me or mine, you’re ready for one. Bring back-up. We learned to never swing first, but we always swing last.
You might also know you can walk a city block and pass at least 10 different ethnic groups, living peacefully as neighbors. Sure, you see the change in landscaping, decor and the restaurants on the street, but you’ll also likely see waving, friendly gestures and goodwill as well.
And, don’t even get me started on sports! Win, lose or tie, I’m a Jets girl until I die!
(Sports incite about the same enthusiasm as bagels, I might add.)
You can take the girl out of New York, but never the New York out of the girl.
But, if you happen to be in “the neighborhood” anytime soon, at least get a decent bagel! Check out some of the shops on this list and tell ’em you want a real NY experience!
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