The only good thing about my east-west jetlag is, that I woke up so early in the morning, that I could be at Ess-a-Bagel right after they opened at 6am and thus skip the horrendously long lines, which build up in front of the store later during the day.
There were only a couple of other customers in the store at that time, so I could go through the menu at my leisure and even ask the staff for their recommendations before placing my order. Except for the lady at the cash register (I think someone had peed in her coffee that morning), all the staff members were really nice and cheerful and seemed to enjoy what they were doing.
When I asked a man behind the counter if it was ok that I took at picture of the bagels he said “sure, but why don’t you take a picture of our mascot too?” “Mascot?” I asked, very confused. “Yes, our mascot Abe! He’ll be back in a minute”.
I sat down and started eating my Nova+cream cheese bagel, when suddenly an elderly gentleman appeared with a nametag saying “Abe”. He didn’t want to be in the photo alone, so one of the other staff members agreed to join him.
The bagels at Ess-a-Bagel are bigger than the average New York bagel and also a bit chewier, almost like Italian bread. Ordering two bagels therefore turned out to be serious overkill, as I had troubles just finishing one. The plain bagel with cream cheese was therefore wrapped up again after photographing, and saved for lunch later.
Here is my guide to the best bagels in New York City
Ess-a-Bagel, 831 3rd Avenue (between 51st St & 50th St), Midtown East, New York