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Bagels Bagels Bagels – A Guide to New York Bagels

Oct 15, 2021

Who knew that 4 ingredients: flour, salt, water and yeast, could yield such delightful masterpieces? The word bagel, derived from the Yiddish word beygl, has become a New York staple. Enough trips to your bagel shop will mean that you now have “a bagel order.” Your bagel order could raise eyebrows or identify you as an adventurous eater to everyone around you. No pressure, but this order will define you to those in listening-distance.

I once stood behind someone who ordered a cinnamon raisin bagel with scallion cream cheese and bacon. WHAT? Am I happy for them and their sense of adventure? Am I sad?

Anyway, New York is known for our bagels because, well, we make them best. Rumor has it that the composition of our water leads to the perfect consistency of this fluffy yet crispy goodness. You will even see trucks of New York water being driven to far-away lands such as Maryland so that they can half-authentically claim to make “New York Bagels.” Try as they may, it doesn’t taste the same if you don’t have someone judging your order as you order your carb overload for the day. Plus, New York establishments pile on the cream cheese, because there’s no sense being “healthy” if you’re starting your order with a bagel.

Bagels are ideally made fresh each morning, which means that you do not need to order them “toasted” for them to be warm and crispy on the outside, yet soft on the inside. We at NYC Navigator love our food, which means our employees absolutely have “bagel orders” and favorite bagel shops. Please enjoy our favorites below.


Meghan’s Favorites:

Tompkins Square Bagels (Lower East Side/Alphabet City) Everything bagel with Taylor Ham, egg & cheese

Brooklyn Bagel (Williamsburg, Astoria and Midtown) Everything bagel with veggie cream cheese


Maddie’s Favorites:

(also) Tompkins Square Bagels (Lower East Side/Alphabet City) Sausage egg and cheese on a pumpernickel bagel

Russ & Daughters (SOHO and Lower East Side) An “interesting cream cheese” on a plain bagel


Lauren’s Favorites:

NY Jumbo Bagel (Midtown East) Rainbow bagel with strawberry cream cheese

Ess-A-Bagel (Midtown East) There will absolutely be a line on weekends, but it is worth it! Everything bagel with tofu scallion cream cheese, slice of onion and tomato


Brenda’s Favorites:

Absolute Bagels  (Upper West Side) Be prepared to wait in line, especially on the weekends. Cash only. Everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

Montague Street Bagels (Brooklyn Heights) – Make sure you have your order ready before you get in line to avoid being reprimanded! 🙂 Walk your bagel down to the Promenade and enjoy it while taking in the always impressive Manhattan Skyline. Raisin bagel with honey walnut cream cheese.