There used to be, on the east side of Broadway just north of 110th Street, a hole-in-the-wall place called Columbia Bagels. Counter running up the left side, drink cases running up the right side, cash register by the door. No tables. No frills. Just bagels, and all that goes with them. All day, every day.
Oh how I loved that place. Especially their egg salad, which was mustardy and delicious and cheap: $2.10 for egg salad on an everything bagel, with lettuce and tomato.
I would duck inside, get my coffee (large, with milk and one sugar) and egg salad bagel, and then walk up Broadway to 112th street, hook a right, and fall in love all over again with the view of St. John the Divine as you head east towards Amsterdam Avenue.
I'd walk over to the cathedral and find a shaded spot on the steps, or in the little park next door with the ridiculous fountain, and eat my bagel and drink my coffee and smoke a couple cigarettes and keep an eye out for the wandering peacocks and read whatever book I was using as a procrastination device from doing actual school work.
Funny and sad to think that no one else will ever have this experience again. Columbia Bagels is long gone, and soon smoking in almost all public places in New York City will be a thing of the past. (I have mixed feelings about this, though I won't get into that now.)
I found myself thinking fondly this morning of all those egg salad sandwiches and Marlboro reds because I had failed to notice I was on an M4 Limited instead of an M4 Local and missed my stop and had to walk up from 110th Street to get my bagel (everything, with vegetable cream cheese and tomatoes) at the not bad but frustratingly expensive Nussbaum & Wu. Where the egg salad is too mayonnaisey and not good at all, and costs more than $5.