Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Bagel Story

There was once a bagel store on McDonald Avenue off the corner of Church many years ago. It was on the East side of the street about one or two stores before the apartment buildings just South of Dennys. It may have been called "McDonald Bagels". I remember going there as a kid with my Dad. It had old wooden floors that were usually covered with sawdust. There must have been at least three large stainless steel ovens in the place. And it was always hot in there any time of the day. Now, all they sold in the store was bagels and baileys. I don't even think they sold milk or soda until many years later. The guys that worked in there always looked like they just got out of the joint too, and most of the time they never wore any shirts at all. With sweat dripping from their faces in the summertime, you just closed your eyes when it landed on the bagels. Pretending not to see it, because they would probably kill you if you said something about it anyway. And the roaches in the store knew better too, mother nature teaches bugs to keep away from hot bagels, and the bagels in there were always hot. Yeah, on any Saturday night in Kensington it was the early edition New York Times followed by a trip to McDonald Bagels. In the days when a dozen gave you fourteen, the heat of the bag you carried home warmed both your heart and your soul all at the same time.

Ron Lopez
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1 comment:

Pete Liria said...

My memories of that bagel store were really focused around the fact that they were only 10 cents each even into the 70's and they were hot all day long - I remember being sent down the block by my mom when I was 4 or so to buy bagels when we lived at 511 McDonald – and still buying them as a teenager in 1972, getting off the B69 bus from Bishop Ford and stopping in for a hot salted on the way home to East 4th from the bus stop. Cheaper than a big pretzel. The other memory was of the bagel bakers as you described them but I remember one in a stained "A" shirt (or what my kids call a wife beater) with a fat cigar plug stuck in his mouth - lit! With a big, fat ash hanging off it. We always commented that the ash MUST fall in the dough, and that is why they tasted so good...I remember that he removed the cigar plug from time to time (probably to get a new one) and I noticed that his lip was permanently dented where it always sat - if he didn't get lung cancer I'm sure he had lip cancer! Still, they were the best bagels anywhere.