(New York Jewish Week) — There are few things in the world that famously impatient New Yorkers will line up for: theater tickets, hot nightclubs and really good food — even more so if it is free.
So it was on Thursday morning, when several hundred people stood on line near Bryant Park in Midtown to celebrate National Bagels and Lox Day, which falls every year on Feb. 9. There, Whitestone, Queens’ Utopia Bagels and Greenpoint’s Acme Smoked Fish teamed up to hand out free bagels-and-lox sandwiches from a pop-up food truck.
The weather Thursday morning was gray but mild, and people had started to queue on the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue at 8:00 a.m., one hour before the bagel bonanza was set to begin. By 8:30, the line stretched to two dozen people — arms crossed and earbuds in, scrolling on their phones or craning their necks to see when the windows would open.
The line quickly took on a life of its own. Every five minutes, it seemed to double, then double again. By 9:25, it was snaking around the block, folding over itself two or three times. The NYPD was called in to help reroute the crowd. People began running to save their spots.
Those who got on line — and yes, according to Paul Brian’s “Common Errors in English Usage,” Americans typically wait in line, while New Yorkers and Bostonians wait on line — early were able to smugly enjoy their bagels and lox on their way to work. Anyone who got there after the food truck close to when it opened officially at 9:00 a.m. risked having to call in late — maybe very late.
“Are you in line for a bagel? Seriously, is it that good?” a passerby shouted at the line.
“Well, it’s free!” came a response just as quickly.
The onlooker simply shrugged and kept walking. “Have a good day, I guess,” she called out behind her shoulder.
Donovan, a 51-year-old from Brooklyn, joined the throng after his nearby workout class. “I really don’t want to wait, but it’s free — and free is better than cheap,” he told the New York Jewish Week, adding that he had a Zoom meeting at 11 a.m. and he was worried he wouldn’t make it.
The time was 9:21, and Donovan was near the middle of the line, with some 50-plus people behind him. “Time is money, too, but I wanted to get myself a treat,” he said, adding that he was eager to try Utopia Bagels — considered by many to be among the best, if not the best — bagel in the city. Even with the long wait, this was quite possibly quicker than schlepping to Queens from his Manhattan home.
Near the front of the queue were Eric and Angelica, who live in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, respectively. They’d been on line for 15 minutes and in that time it had grown considerably behind them.
“We’re questioning if it’s worth it, but now the line is so long we feel like we have to stay,” Angelica said, illustrating what an economist might call the “sunk cost fallacy.” She’d grown up near Utopia Bagels, she said, and loves to get their bagels when she visits her parents. The opportunity to get one on the way to work is rare, she added, so she was willing to wait.
The reward at the end was a freshly made “Super Nova” sandwich, which included Acme nova salmon, cucumbers, tomato, onion, capers and cream cheese on a plain bagel. On a regular day, the sandwich runs $14.25, plus a trip out to Whitestone.
Of course, even if New Yorkers are willing to wait a while for something tasty and free, many will still have an attitude about it — efficiency being the biggest gripe. Toward the very end of the line at about 9:30 was a woman who heard about the giveaway from a colleague and really wanted to nab a bagel. “I’m about to give up,” she said. “I don’t understand why they need to make every bagel [sandwich] fresh. They should have prepared some in advance!”
By 11:40 a.m. — 400 bagels and 30 pounds of nova later — supplies had run out. But those with time to spare tomorrow morning can grab a freebie at Acme’s “Fish Fridays” at their headquarters at 30 Gem Street in Greenpoint. There, each week, New Yorkers in-the-know line up to get Acme’s iconic smoked fish at wholesale prices. In addition to giving away the Super Nova sandwich, they are offering whitefish salad sandwiches and, in honor of the Super Bowl, specialty Buffalo-glazed hot smoked-salmon sandwiches.
“Just looking at all these people, I feel so much pride in what my great-grandfather and grandfather started, and what my father and brothers and I have continued,” said Emily Caslow, a fourth-generation co-owner of Acme Smoked Fish.
Caslow wasn’t surprised at the length of the line. “New Yorkers are not known for their patience, but they will wait when something is worth it,” she said. “And they always show up for us.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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