"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New Jersey Minute

It’s Your Density

I was born in New York. I grew up outside the city. Since I moved back over a decade ago, I’ve lived in four different neighborhoods around Manhattan. So naturally when I think of great bagels, I think of … New Jersey.

This is an opinion I usually keep to myself. But I think most bagels in New York aren’t anything special. Going on reputation alone, you’d think you could get a good bagel, like a good slice, just about anywhere in New York. Ever since the puff-pastry style bagel overwhelmed the marketplace, it’s been difficult to enjoy a dense, crunchy, chewy bagel in the city.

If I had to sacrifce either the thin, crunchy exterior or the dense, chewy center, I’d lose the crunch. Where I grew un in Bergen County New Jersey, you can still get both.

Maybe that’s part of the problem. In New York, the bagel is such a menu-icon, every place has got to offer you a bagel. From diners to delis. So that eats away business from the bagel-specific shops. There’s not one within walking distance of my current apartment.

I thought Tal Bagels on 86th street did an OK job of keeping their bagels de-flated, and I liked that they answered “no” if you asked them to toast it. At least eight years ago they answered that way. Now they probably serve you a bagel that looks like a beach ball and will gladly slide it on a belt toaster for you.


1 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 24, 2011 10:53 am

I guess I wouldn't know a good bagel if it hit me in the head anywhere in NY (though on movie sets, catering has had some really decent ones), sooooo... any suggestions for someone who might traipse through Bergen Cty at any time?

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 24, 2011 12:40 pm

[1] Goldberg's in Closter, NJ is very good - and you have the chance to possibly stand in line w/ Chirs Rock - as my mom did once.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 24, 2011 1:52 pm

That would make for a fun conversation. I was an extra on "Down To Earth", his remake of the Warren Beatty version of "Heaven Can Wait". I was part of both Apollo crowd scenes, and I was supposed to be in the Central Park scene, but I got sick. At any rate, he gave an impromptu stand-up performance between takes in response to a heckler demanding he start telling funny jokes and brought the entire house down. Afterward we all lined up and shook his hand. Really nice.

There is a split-second shot during his second Apollo appearance after he embodies the new comedian where everyone in the crowd is on their feet applauding loudly; you see this one guy sitting in his seat in shadows with his hand in his chin and his leg crossed; that's me! (To this day, I have no idea why they chose that shot to be in the movie...)

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