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When I first moved to New York City to attend college, I had never heard of a bagel or deli. Hard to believe? Not at all. Before the Internet or cable television, life was much more insular and information much more local. Growing up in a small, blue-collar town in New England, I was exposed to very little. Cappuccino was unheard of.
But it was only minutes after arriving in the Big Apple, however, that I sampled my first New York style cheesecake. And bagels and heros (“grinders” where I came from) were soon to follow in my full immersion in NYC culture.

Along with the Sabrett hot dog, NY Pretzel, and egg cream, I can’t think of many food items that better epitomize New York City than the bagel.
My best friends in college were Jewish, and I quickly learned the ways and means of New York from them, with Yiddish expressions: schlamiel, schlamazel, oy vey. The bagel became a staple in my life. Satisfying and substantial. The quintessential NYC breakfast for a New Yorker on the run.

H&H Bagels is the city’s largest manufacturer of bagels, producing millions per year from their factory on 12th Avenue and 46th Street. The sign, along with the Car Wash, is a familiar site to those who have traveled along the West Side Highway.
H&H was founded in 1972 by Helmer Toro. You can find them at many locations, including their flagship shop at 2239 Broadway.

New Yorkers need to always feel on top of the game. We constantly look for ways to shout biggest, best, first, most, and largest. H&H Bagels is one of those NYC icons, a name people love to show and tell. They have been seen in Seinfeld, a Woody Allen film, and Sex and the City – all classic New York and befitting the H&H Bagel…

5 Responses to Bagels

  1. Montrealers proudly feel that their bagels are the best, but from what I could tell, they are an entirely different animal. They don’t have that hard outside skin. Not that they aren’t nice, in their own way, but I have never tasted (toasted) bagels like NY’s own H & H.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Each time i’m in NYC, I have to buy some bagels at H&H! it is now sort of tradition! and then I go at Zabars,where you can buy some delicious others things:)

  3. Grinders! Yes! Are you originally from Rhode Island?

  4. lorelai – born in Maine, grew up in Connecticut.

  5. sonia a.m. says:

    Great photo!

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