On Sunday, September 9, 2018, in New York City, the state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate and the erstwhile Sex in the City star Cynthia Nixon went to Zabar’s. She ordered a cinnamon-raisin bagel with lox, red onions, capers, tomato, and cream cheese. For most people, the story ends right there. For some New Yorkers, it is the beginning of a major issue. In fact, it seems fair to say that this bagel has gotten more attention than any other in human history.
Weighing in on Nixon’s order are serious critics of American culture as well as creeps on Twitter. Representatives of the latter call the bagel everything from “a crime against the bagel gods” to “a crime against humanity.” The New York magazine reporter Chris Crowley calls the bagel “troubling” and argues that all politicians not only could, but should never eat food in public again (although he cannot resist expressing his view that lox and cream cheese only belong on an everything bagel). CNN’s Z. Byron Wolf decries not so much Nixon’s bagel—which he calls “weird”—but the hoopla surrounding it, given that the leadership of New York is at stake; although he devotes a whole column to the bagel, he asserts that it “should not be important at all.” The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik describes Nixon’s bagel as a kind of double faux pas—“a faux faux pas”—and urges readers to consider which “actual ethnic food” most represents New York. (Spoiler alert: He doesn’t think it’s a bagel.) Gopnik even invokes Karl Marx on the value-form and the commodity fetish, saying that “the whole rhetoric of the bagel” distracts us from the fact that Nixon is responsible, vis-à-vis her involvement with Sex in the City, for “the most sickening New York food trend of the past twenty years—the cupcake craze of the early two-thousands.” Nixon’s own opinion is surprise at the “fascination” over her bagel order. “I’m stunned. This is my bagel of choice for a few decades now. It’s never been public knowledge, and I really am fascinated that people are so emotional about it,” she said.