Crispy on the outside, soft, doughy and chewy on the inside.
This constitutes the perfect bagel, according to Brooklyn’s resident bagel connoisseur, Sam Silverman. And whether you find yourself on one of his NYC Bagel Tours or at the annual BagelFest, you can be sure you’re tasting some of the city’s finest — the filling is up to you. Silverman runs near-daily walking tours through Manhattan and Brooklyn, but is now joining forces with the team behind EverythingIsEverythingNYC — an interactive catalog of over 200 NYC bagel reviews — for a series of unique bagel tours across all five boroughs.
Mike Varley, who compiled the “Everything is Everything” catalog with his wife Jessi while they walked five marathons a week over 13 months, will be running walking bagel tours in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx every other weekend. The first Everything is Everything tour of the series launches Saturday, Feb. 18 in Manhattan, and Varley’s first Brooklyn tour is scheduled for March 4.
“I walked over 7,000 miles and ate more bagels in 13 months than most folks do in a lifetime, and the ‘Everything is Everything’ routes highlight the very best bagels of each borough,” said Varley. “These tours were crafted with everyone in mind – be you a first time visitor or a grizzled New York veteran, I’m confident you’ll find not only great bagels but a new perspective on the city itself.”
Those joining Varley’s guided tour will get to sample a variety of authentic bagels from local bakeries and delis as they traverse the borough of the day, learn about the traditional methods of baking, and discover the cultural influences that have shaped the city’s bagel scene. Each tour begins at Bagelsmith on Lorimer, but the exact locations each tour visits will vary.
“Mike is an absolute Lox Star, so joining forces was as natural as … well, bagels and cream cheese,” said Silverman. “We love bagels because they’re more than just a food – they’re a symbol of New York City’s history and culture. We’re thrilled to bring visitors and New Yorkers together through the unique stories and flavors behind New York’s iconic bagel.”
For life-long bagel enthusiasts like Silverman, bagels are the quintessential New York food and the perfect way to learn about the history and diverse culture of each borough — and his new partnership with Everything is Everything means sharing that knowledge with many more New Yorkers.
“I think it’s the accessibility of the bagel. It’s a food that you’ll see a Wall Street banker next to a person down to their last dollar enjoying,” said Silverman. “It cuts across all kinds of divisions in the city from class to profession to race. It’s just something that is super accessible to everybody and is a food that we all enjoy and brings us all together.”
Silverman’s tours through Manhattan and Brooklyn will continue on a near-daily basis. His tours through Kings County feature three stops at the Bagelsmith on Lorimer, Edith’s Sandwich Counter, and Black Seed Bagels on Berry Street. At each stop, tourists will sample a host of bagels and spreads, plus classic sandwiches. Silverman and the owners of each shop will impart some behind-the-scenes knowledge of the history of the shop and the process of baking the bagels and swirling the spreads.
Silverman’s philosophy when it comes to bagels is that you should try any and all innovations that the city has to offer — be they sweet or savory, filled with lox or birthday cake cream cheese.
“I always say the bagel is a canvas and the bakers of New York are the artists that are putting forth new and unique combinations and flavors every single day,” said Silverman.
Tours in this series will run every other weekend, rotating boroughs on a consistent basis. Tickets start at $59 and are available on the NYC Bagel Tours website.