There's something about New York's endless supply of authentic eateries that transforms hopeful politicians into weird aliens who’ve never before encountered the concept of food: Back in the 1970s, South Dakota Senator George McGovern was basically run out of town after ordering a glass of milk with his kosher hot dog. One-time presidential hopeful John Kasich came down with a debilitating case of meat sweats after inhaling a month’s-worth of carbs at a Bronx deli. And Mayor Bill de Blasio's reputation still hasn't recovered from the great Staten Island fork-and-knife pizza scandola of 2014.
On Sunday, Cynthia Nixon became the latest aspiring office-holder to briefly lose her mind while attempting to eat on the campaign trail, when she ordered—in public and on purpose—a cinnamon raisin bagel with lox from Zabar's on the Upper West Side. She didn't stop there, but went on to request red onions, capers, tomato, and plain cream cheese to the mess. Again, this was on a *shudders* cinnamon raisin bagel.
"That's what I want—a full load," she declared at the counter, as veteran campaign manager Rebecca Katz tried, with good reason, to dissuade us from filming the harrowing scene.
When confronted by a possibly horrified passerby, Nixon assured the witness that she knew what she was doing: "Yeah, sweet and salty, you're right."
Since mentioning Nixon's order in a story published earlier today, we've been bombarded by understandably aghast readers, who wondered how a lifelong New Yorker could possibly stomach such a disconcerting trinity of LOX and CINNAMON and RAISINS. (and CAPERS, for that matter).
There's a lot happening in New York politics right now, but @CynthiaNixon eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with lox hit me as an unmatched level of chaos @Gothamist https://t.co/XsAECVbQQB pic.twitter.com/Q5PLU5MG3O— Ellen (@ekcranley) September 10, 2018
look, i'm still voting for her, but we need to talk about how cynthia nixon apparently puts LOX on CINNAMON RAISIN BAGELS, which seems basically criminal to me https://t.co/3n7mj7MAhQ pic.twitter.com/isBVPIWnhu— 𝖒𝖆𝖈𝖆𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖎 '𝖓' 𝖒𝖎𝖉𝖌𝖊 ٩(⁎❛ᴗ❛⁎)۶ (@meg__clark) September 10, 2018
But despite our shared disgust, we weren't quite ready to pass judgement on the bagel blunder until we'd tried the thing for ourselves. So we headed to Bagels on the Square in the West Village, and sheepishly replicated the gubernatorial candidate’s order.
Reader: It was bad.
"That's really disgusting—I mean like, it's terrible," exclaimed native New York Bagel Expert Jake Dobkin, after biting into the sandwich. "A horrifying example of globalism."
"I can't untaste the damn thing," reviewed Gothamist writer Claire Lampen. "The cinnamon has a weird kind of haunting aftertaste. I don't want cinnamon sugar and fish. I don't want dessert bagels with onion. Hardest possible pass."
I personally have had a stomachache since tasting the pungent concoction, and am now debating whether to ask for a raise or a sick day.
Not everyone feels this way, apparently. Jessica Lappin, the president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, once told the Times that she enjoys a cinnamon raisin bagel with a “large amount of lox.” Extra Crispy did their own investigation, and determined that “anecdotally, at least: cinnamon raisin with cream cheese and lox is a thing.” Yes, like patch pants are a thing, and bedbugs are a thing.
Of course, some New Yorkers also like rainbow bagels or gold-crusted bagels or, worst of all, blueberry bagels. It is fair, I think, to question whether any of those people should be trusted with the most important job in New York State.
We’ve reached out to the Nixon campaign to see how she’s feeling today, and whether the sweet-and-salty atrocity is a regular thing for her. We’ll update if we hear back.
Additional reporting by Jen Chung