It is the tail end of another Manhattan winter, and my boyfriend and I have started hunkering down on extravagant costs. Everyone, as we know, is in a bit of a financial panic, but for us, it’s just a fact that after the holidays and before the advent of spring, we have to reign in our budgets. When we forego seeing Broadway shows or buying concert tickets, one thought still remains supreme: The belly feeds the mind. Financial constraints cannot possibly mean a want for good food. For me, cheap eats is really all about more bang for your buck. Sometimes that means quantity can outweigh quality, but in a city like New York, that fortunately never has to be the case.
My perfect fix came by way of a suggestion from my Alex (the boyfriend), which turned into a ritual Sunday activity. Before we would hit up the Chelsea Cinema for a matinee show, we would grab two everything bagels with scallion cream cheese and tomatoes from Murray’s Bagels on Ninth Avenue. Now, we hit up Murray’s at least three times a week, but instead of purchasing a twelve dollar movie ticket all the time, we sometimes just watch pre-recorded movies on the IFC channel. The bagels, not the entertainment, really do the trick on their own.
Murray’s was started more than a decade ago by Adam Pomerantz, whose story fits quite nicely with today’s economic circumstances. After leaving Merrill Lynch, where he was a Vice President, he followed the dreams of his stomach and the culinary longings of his heart by opening up the most authentic bagel place in Manhattan after years of extensive research and a lox friendly Jewish upbringing. The first Murray’s outpost opened up on 13th Street in Greenwich Village and became a community favorite. From the classic choice of lox, cream cheese, capers, onions, and tomatoes to the whitefish combo or even the health conscious tofutti spread, you can satisfy for your appetite for no more than four dollars. The size and portions of cream cheese, or whatever your filling of choice, are more than generous, and always appease my stomach for the better part of the day, which trust me, is not an easy feat.
No matter the depth of your pockets, you simply cannot go wrong with this New York staple. And even if my Chase account finally does turn in my favor, I’m pretty sure you can bet on a smearing of scallion cream cheese on my mouth and hands every Sunday morning and a big smile on my face.
500 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011
by Nancy Ellison