If I had to pick foods that represent the heart and soul of New York City, that list would include: pizza, street cart pretzels, gyros, and hotdogs, McSorley's beer, and bagels... especially bagels!
But New York bagels are under attack. In an attempt to raise funds, the cash strapped Albany legislators are enforcing a tax on bagels. If a bagel is sliced, it's a prepared food; therefore it is subject to sales tax.
And, here's where it gets weird. If whole bagels, i.e. not sliced, are purchased and eaten outside the restaurant, they aren't subject to tax. But, if the bagel, either sliced or not, is eaten inside the store, they're taxed.
By no means is the tax staggering, it depends on the local tax rate, but the extra charge comes out to roughly 8 cents per bagel.
However, like most legislation in the tri-state area, the bagel tax is confusing. For example, a sliced bagel gets taxed, but buying a sliced loaf of bread from a bakery isn't. A spokesperson for the tax department said additional guidance will be placed on their website - whatever that means.
On The Daily Show, Thursday night, Jon Stewart and guest New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, both Jewish, joked about the tax. Jon Stewart, with tongue in cheek, blasted the tax for being anti-Semitic.
Hey, Italians love a good schmear, too! Actually, I don't eat cream cheese, but I like locks on my bagel, and I don't want to be penalized for it. Attica, Attica!
I do understand the tax - a sliced bagel, with or without the fixings, is a prepared food, and those get taxed, so I get, but it still seems nitpicky.