New York state gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon is making headlines this week not for her politics but for her bagel order, one that’s been deemed an abomination: lox, red onions, tomato, capers, and plain cream cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel at Zabar’s on the Upper West Side. It’s been called “horrifying.” It’s been decried as “basically criminal.” Gothamist, which started the outrage, said eating caused Nixon “to briefly lose her mind.”
Whether or not this order is actually good is besides the point. Sure, some people say it’s actually tasty — entirely believable, since the combination of sweet and savory has always and will forever be addictive. (Cinnamon raisin bagels aren’t even that sweet! This seems fine!)
But we shouldn’t be judging a New Yorker’s bagel order at all. One’s bagel order should be sacred. One should not be looked down upon for how bizarre, uncouth, or outlandish such an order is. A bagel order is business between a New Yorker and her bagel guy, a relationship akin to confessing to a priest. We have sometimes wondered, for instance, who is ordering funfetti vegan cream cheese at one of those shops where they offer more flavors than the froyo shop in the Good Place. It is not for us to know. People should be able to order whatever they damn please on a bagel.
Obviously, Nixon exposed herself by making the order publicly as a politician, and it’s fair game for us to judge her for anything. Who, though, are these people who think their private orders are so much better than Nixon’s? Please.
look what future governor nixon's social media team did to this poor bagel pic.twitter.com/dHQO8hYRWR— Adam Moussa (@adamjmoussa) September 11, 2018
The real crime is Nixon’s etiquette in the holy grail of fish, Zabar’s: She’s asking a man whose job is to slice fish to prepare her a full bagel at the fish counter. That the man she was ordering from didn’t have a bagel within arm’s reach — he walks Nixon over to the bread department to get one — should have been a gigantic red flag. True New Yorkers know their place around a deli.
But a controversy is only as good as the content you can make from it, and Team Nixon quickly parlayed the cinnamon raising furore into a fundraising attempt, complete with a breathtakingly bad photoshop of her bagel order. The unknown artist used a stock photo of a handsome everything bagel as a canvas, replacing the bread halves with another stock shot of a gnarled-looking cinnamon raisin bagel. They also added a lot of capers in too, some eerily floating above the lox, but most of them not on the bagel itself.
Bad Photoshop plays and poor deli etiquette are issues; one’s personal bagel order is not.