the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Bagels Unite Us!

Time travel is becoming a theme on this blog.  Last week, I wrote about how Dockers was going to call me on July 22 to discuss my “free” flight on July 16.  Today, I’m going to talk about my Queens apartment building’s “July 4th BBQ,” which took place Sunday, July 13th (and also wasn’t much of a BBQ).

In the last chapter of this Flushing, NY drama, various ethnic groups and vegetarians were fighting over the proposed July 4th BBQ.   Should it be kosher?   Should it be the most stricter glatt kosher?   If it is kosher, should it also be halal?   If it is halal, shouldn’t it also be vegetarian?  Finally, the apartment building’s “Board of Directors” cancelled the whole shindig.

But then something happened.   Everyone had to take the same elevator.   People had to look each other in the eye.   Jew and Muslim.   Hindu and Christian.   Vegetarian and Carnivore.   Surely, as New Yorkers they could agree on something.   And they did — BAGELS.  

The July 4th BBQ was back on!   People do love each other after all!   There was dancing in the lobby around the mailbox slots and into the laundry room.  The Hora!   Sensual Arab bellydancing!  The tarantella!   Salsa!  Hip-hop!  The latest moves from Bollywood!

But then, as in every soap opera, there was a new twist.  The Board of Directors had changed their mind so many times, that by the time they announced this July 4th meatless “BBQ” Bagelfest, half of the tenants in the apartment building had already made plans for July 4th.  Tenants complained.

“What kind of wishy-washy Board of Directors are you?”

“Maybe we need a change in leadership!”

“Let’s have early elections for new Board of Directors!  We need people who can be decisive!”

The Board of Directors freaked out. How could they live in the neighborhood with everyone knowing them as the “apartment building board members that were booted out?” They came up with an intriguing plan —

Soon, there were fliers posted everywhere for the July 4th “Former BBQ” — now Bagel Brunch — celebrating our country’s diversity on… July 13th!

By the time I came down to the community room at 11AM, 3/4 of the tenants had grabbed the good bagels and left.


  1. Mrs Mogul

    Umm love da bagels and RYE BREAD (w/ caraway seeds) The girl in the orange shirt looks really thrilled to be there.

  2. HRH @ June Cleaver Nirvana

    I’d like to buy the world a…bagel.

  3. V-Grrrl

    The perfect food to represent Unity. May the circle be unbroken in Queens! Let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya…

  4. Jane

    I’ll take an onion, a sesame, a pumpernickel, and two plain bagels, please.

    I’ll also take “girl in orange shirt” for future teen runaway crack whores, Alex.

  5. NYCWD

    I see bagels… but no butter, cream cheese, lox, jelly, or peanut butter. What kind of heathens are these people!

    You can’t eat bagels without peanut butter!

    I bet the girl in the orange shirt would be smiling if there was peanut butter.

  6. -RM

    That security guy looks like the ‘time to make the donuts’ guy from Dunkin’ Donuts.

  7. kateanon

    Yeah, the closest my apartment comes to bagelfest is when someone’s garbage bag breaks. We’re big believers in everybody keep to themselves.

  8. anymommy

    The healing power of bagels. I buy it. My favorite is salt – just thought I’d throw that out there since others placed orders. Also, there was just a big lox recall, so probably wise to skip.

  9. blondefabulous

    I would have felt unwelcome. I have Celiac’s Disease and bagels are a HUGE no-no!Looked like fun though!

  10. Five Husbands

    Lox recall – where did you hear that – my family is at risk! Son No. 2 wolfed down an obscene amount this morning.

    Neil – I think you need spend a few days in Manhattan – get your hot man in the city mojo going. Everyone knows Zabar’s bagels are so much *hotter* than generic Queens’ bagels.

  11. Jennifer

    I think the July 13th Bagelfest should officially become a new holiday!!

  12. Neil

    Blondefabulous — also bagels usually have as many carbs and calories as a slice of pizza. But you gotta live!

  13. All Adither

    That looks…uh…rockin’.

  14. churlita

    that would work for me and my girls. We all love bagels, but I need cream cheese and lox on mine…And yes, I did say, “need” not “like”.

  15. 180/360

    I have never had a real New York bagel. Isn’t that sad?

    PS. Good job getting out so much this past weekend. Progress, my friend.

  16. ali

    mmm…new york bagels…


  17. Annie

    Some of those people do not look too happy that you are taking photos of them :-). You make me laugh, Neil, you
    really do, thanks for that.

  18. Florencia

    Oh Neil, you always make me smile or laugh out loud. Thanks the god og bagels for your writing talent!

  19. By Jane

    Oy–that photo made me long for real bagels. The Western world thinks it knows bagels? Ha! Only New York knows bagels. What is served in the rest of the country is pale and anemic, kinda like the fair blue-eyed Jesus they keep trying to palm off as a true Semite.

    And btw, I think I know half the people in those photos.

  20. Karla

    Unrelated, but important:

    You might like Olive Garden now. The servers just got even sluttier.

  21. Karla

    Bear in mind I used to be a server there. They should have done this pictorial back then, because I’m way hotter than some of the mutts they picked for this layout.

  22. Danny

    I don’t know–for New York those bagels looked pretty blah. (And I agree that New York has the best bagels on the planet.) And WHERE is the freaking cream cheese, preferably with chives, and a little lox spread? I agree with the residents who say the Board of Directors should be thrown out on their ineffectual PC butts…

  23. scarlet hip

    What did they model the decor of that community room after? A prison cafeteria?

  24. HeyJoe

    Donuts are more fattening, and therefore more American.

    America – Diverse and Fat. Won’t you join us?

  25. Neil

    Annie — You’re right. Most of the tenants look pretty grouchy. Especially munching on bagels.

    Danny — They weren’t the best. They had to be “glatt kosher.” And there was cream cheese, tuna salad, egg salad, and cookies. It was a real wild party.

    Scarlet Hip — That is the “community room” — home of many of my childhood birthday parties.

    HeyJoe — You know, I have a feeling that donuts might not be that much more fattening than some bagels.

  26. blondefabulous

    Celiac’s Disease = allergy to wheat and Gluten. Pizza is out too! Whaaaaaaaa!

  27. Jody

    Neil, is the a 55 and up community? You need to get with a younger crowd if you are ever going to date again. 🙂

  28. Jennifer H

    Of course, bagels can unite people! In fact, the Olympic Committee changed the emblem from 5 colorful rings to 5 interlocking bagels. (They were pulling out its hair until someone–someone from Queens, coincidentally–came up with that idea. Don’t ask about the medals.

  29. Jennifer H

    They were pulling out their hair.


  30. piglet

    i love the human race with all their “sillies”.

  31. Daisy

    Bagelfest — great idea! I’ll bring the coffee.

  32. pia

    Hate bagels. Long story. Loved looking at the people in the community room. Miss New Yorker’s

    And if I did eat bagels which I wouldn’t unless forced to they would be from H&H. Zabar’s is so not good–except for the appliance department The prepared food looks like it’s been in somebody’s mothers freezer since 1974–not mine, she only froze perfectly fresh bagels so we could eat them with freezer burn

  33. maitresse

    this post made me homesick.

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