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Murray's Bagels/Cream Cheese alternate

LA May 2, 2005 10:11 AM

I tried my first Murray's bagel today--it was good--crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, but not great. Their cream cheese, though, was just plain mediocre.

Anywhere to get a better bagel and schmear around 23rd St.?


  1. s
    sloane Feb 25, 2008 11:39 AM

    I'm a fan of Pick A Bagel on 3rd ave between 22nd and 23rd. It's organized chaos on weekends, but efficient.

    1. a
      ajs42548 Feb 24, 2008 09:07 AM

      Unfortunately, for the most part, the best bagels can be found in the outer boroughs or Nassau County. I live on the UES and am in the boroughs and on LI often and as I said, unfortunately those bagels are better than the ones in and around my neighborhood. The ones in Manhattan are too puffy, don't have that shiny, crisp crust and are not as dense as they should be.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ajs42548
        ballulah Feb 24, 2008 01:46 PM

        Might be an East Side scourge. There are great bagels to be found on the UWS...and oddly enough also right in Times Sq. I don't want to hijack the thread at all, but the next time you find yourself on 44th and Broadway, look for Times Sq Hot Bagels across from the Nokia Theatre. It's all that's left of what used to be Columbia Hot Bagels. Perfect ratio of density, chew and crunch.

        1. re: ballulah
          ajs42548 Feb 25, 2008 07:55 AM

          "Perfect ratio of density, chew and crunch..."
          Ah, someone who understands bagels. Not that others here don't, but that is a good way of describing a great bagel.

          1. re: ajs42548
            ballulah Feb 25, 2008 12:24 PM

            Hahaha... yeah, I think bagels SHOULD have a little bit of a chewy, heavy-as-lead quality, but too much and it's a hockey puck, and too little and it's too bready. And the crust should be crusty!

      2. LeahBaila Feb 23, 2008 03:04 PM

        My FAVORITE bagels in the city (and the world) are at Empire City Bagels on 24th and 6th. Simply divine!


        3 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila
          ballulah Feb 23, 2008 03:54 PM

          That is good to know! I'm really not very fond of Lenny's, and that sounds just as close for me!

          1. re: ballulah
            LeahBaila Feb 23, 2008 04:21 PM

            Give them a try and let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy :)


            1. re: LeahBaila
              sugartoof Feb 24, 2008 02:00 PM

              I never got the impression Empire City makes there own dough.

        2. s
          sugartoof Feb 23, 2008 01:16 PM

          I revisited both Murray's locations for the first time in a number of years and they didn't look or taste the same at all. Murray's were never that fluffy bread like, and they used to be all about the flavor.

          The Pick-a-bagel on 3rd and 22nd is a little better then other locations.
          Ess-a-Bagel has the best schmear, but the bagels are sort of their own breed you either love or hate, or both.

          1. ballulah Feb 23, 2008 01:14 PM

            I love Murray's s on 23rd. I stop there whenever I get the chance. I've never found them rude, quite the contrary in fact, and I've never gotten the wrong order, and there's nothing disorganized about the line. I always get the sesame bran, or the whole wheat everything with tofu cream cheese...and if it's been awhile I'll get a second bagel with white fish for lunch later in the day. The tofu cream cheese is really unbelievably good!

            My office is about equi-delivery distance from the 13th St and 23rd St outposts, and a co-worker recently got me in on an order in from Murray's, not telling me it wasn't 23rd. I noticed the difference. Didn't like the bagel as much. It was larger, less crusty and denser.

            And I really think that anyone who wants their bagel toasted must not be from NY. Why ruin a perfectly good bagel?

            But back to your question of where around 23rd St... Lenny's on 23rd is closer to my office, and more directly on my walk from the subway, and I often stop there for a bagel. They claim to serve H&H bagels, which are my least favorite, but some people love them. They're on 23rd between 5th and 6th.

            1. p
              Pupster May 2, 2005 11:27 AM

              Love the bagels at Ess-a-bagel (on 1st Ave, I think near 19th).

              5 Replies
              1. re: Pupster
                Tim May 2, 2005 02:35 PM

                Ditto on Ess-a-bagel. Best bagels in the city, hands down.

                I've never though Murray's bagels were anything special.

                1. re: Tim
                  Bear May 6, 2005 12:53 PM

                  Furthermore, I think it's crazy that they refuse to toast a bagel....

                  1. re: Bear
                    daniellaczar Feb 23, 2008 10:35 AM

                    went for the 1st time today. staff was pretty rude, place is very unorganzied, everyone was leaving w/ someone else' s bagel. the chive cream cheese is good, but i probably won't be going bk b/c of the attitude and annoying ppl who go there. bagels are good, nothing spectacular. i agree about the toasting, seems nuts to me but not that surprising given how unfriendly they are (not that i would be smiling if i was serving the same ppl!).

                    1. re: daniellaczar
                      Papaya Feb 23, 2008 11:36 AM

                      But I don't understand why anyone would want to toast a freshly baked bagel?

                      1. re: Papaya
                        daniellaczar Apr 16, 2008 11:14 AM

                        because they're not always freshly baked. some mornings they're hard as a rock and obviously not fresh.

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