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Is Black Seed's Wood-Fire Oven Making the Neighborhood Smell Like a Camp Fire?

Some neighbors seem unhappy but city inspectors can't find anything wrong.

Robert Sietsema

Home of the New York City and Montreal bagel hybrid Black Seed Bagels has maybe not been the perfect neighbor on Elizabeth Street. Bowery Boogie reports that residents on the block call the bakery's exhaust system a "fire breathing dragon," claiming that it makes the area smell like there's a fire nearby. "We worry that our building is on fire....The fumes even permeate the laundromat; it is literally like standing next to a campfire — great when outdoors, not so great when indoors," says one resident.

However, the city's Department of Environmental Protection visited "numerous times," and never found an issue. Apparently they never visited when the "west wind blows these fumes into our homes." So, it's hard to tell how much truth there is here. Either way, maybe some of the bagel making at Black Seed will move over to the team's forthcoming shop and bakery in the old De Roberti's space, where there's a roomier kitchen, more oven space and — hopefully — a good exhaust system.

Black Seed Bagels

176 1st Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10009 (646) 859-2289 Visit Website