It hardly merits typing these words out, but, folks, it seems New Yorkers have strong feelings about bagels.
Where to get the best ones, which flavors are superior and what should go on them are all topics for intense debate.
Which in part explains the lightning-fast turnabout by New York mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday, when a seemingly innocuous tweet about his favorite bagel order, shared in honor of National Bagel Day, was quickly taken down and amended.
Follow me down this bagel hole, won’t you? De Blasio, who in September ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Wednesday tweeted what should have been a forgettable love note to his city’s iconic carb. “New York City has the best bagels in the world. But our BEST bagel? Bagel Hole in Park Slope, no contest,” he wrote, name-checking a famous Brooklyn outpost. “Don’t get there as much as I used to, but it used to be our go-to when the kids needed a bite before Little League.”
So far, so good. He’s showing that he’s relatable (kids! Little League!), and he named a respectable bagel joint. But then things went terribly awry when he mentioned what seemed to be his preferred order.
“Whole wheat. Toasted. Extra cream cheese,” he wrote, adding the hashtag #NationalBagelDay.
Twitter did what it does and more than responded. Some questioned his choice of whole wheat. Others took issue with his order preference, naming their own top picks. And then there was the matter of toasting. This is where things got extremely controversial. While it seems that the classically accepted bagel etiquette deems toasting improper, there was also the matter of whether de Blasio’s favorite-order claim was even factual.
Local news site Patch contacted the Bagel Hole and determined that it does not, in fact, toast its bagels. Even if that’s what the customer wants. And, yes, even if said customer is the mayor.
De Blasio deleted the first tweet and posted a second, amended tweet removing reference to toasting.
Which of course only fanned the toaster-oven flames. “Mayor flip-flops on bagel toasting,” declared one aspiring pundit. “More at 11.”
De Blasio replied to a thread about his bagel controversy with a punny explanation for his turnabout on toasting: “What can I say, I must a have a hole in my memory.”
This marks the biggest bagel scandal to rock Gotham since gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon shocked the city by ordering lox, capers and red onion on a cinnamon raisin bagel at legendary deli Zabar’s. After the outrage, the former “Sex and the City” actress offered reasonable advice. “Don’t yuck my yum,” she said. “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”
But it wasn’t the only controversy to erupt on National Bagel Day. Another social-media beef erupted when New Jersey attempted to assert itself as the world’s preeminent purveyor of the day’s honoree. The Garden State’s official government Twitter account started the exchange by tweeting an image showing the shape of the state made up of bagel emoji, concluding with this boast: “Bagel capital of the world #NationalBagelDay.” Gov. Phil Murphy further endorsed the claim, posting a news story about it with the caption “No executive order necessary.”
But a Big Apple contingent was not having it. The Twitter account from the 19th district of the New York Police Department, which serves the Upper East Side, responded to New Jersey’s boast by saying the entire state “is canceled.” Ouch!
“Stick to donuts,” New Jersey clapped back.
But it seems that the interstate feud is a friendly one. “We agreed to meet over a New York Slice and a NJ Bagel,” the 19th precinct’s account wrote in response to a woman who was upset that her home state and current state were fighting. “Don’t worry Jess, nothing but [heart emoji] for @NJGov.”
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