“Now You’re in New Yoooooooooooooooork, these streets will make you feel brand new, our bagels and pizza will devour you, because they are made with superior water, I could go into the pH level and natural mineral deposits but you wouldn’t understand, big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York” I am pretty sure that is how the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys song goes right. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I am not a native New Yorker. I was not born and raised in the Five Boroughs, and I’m not even a bridge and tunnel kid from the tri-state area. Although I have lived in the Greater NYC area for the past 5 years (2 years in Hoboken which according to true New Yorker’s doesn’t count), I still can never truly grasp the fervent nature to which people fight tooth and nail about why their pizza and bagels are superior to the rest of the country (according to them). The most common argument I find is that “the water from New York is so much better than every where else”. Now right off the bat let me get this caveat out of the way, I know water is different all around the world. I know that unless I want dangerous, carcinogenic swill I can only drink from 4 springs in Maine, a glacier in Iceland, or from a Chocolate factory that apparently has exclusive rights to 71 percent of the Earth. Ok, got that water is inherently different, but is that why New York claims the throne for bagels and pizza? Absolutely not! Let us first take a look at pizza and debunk that one very quickly. Is there a magical well guarded by Dominick the Donkey that only has two pipelines directly to Italy and New York? Because I have heard that this place over across the pond has some world renowned pizza, words even dispatched from true New Yorker’s “this is the best pizza outside of Italy, paisan”. Likewise according to reputable bagel aficionados a good toothsome buffed up bialy can be found north of the border in Montreal. Now I know for a fact the francophone’s up the maple syrup highway are not about to share anything with us uncouth American’s, especially their classy water. The fact that great product can and is found other places show that it isn’t the water that makes the legendary status of eat food.
Now let me fill you in on a little secret. There is a saying engraved on the Statue of Liberty that states, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore“. What that engraving stands for and represents is the fact that for hundreds of years people have been flocking to America in quest of a better life, some people call it the American dream. Well when these immigrants came by droves to the US, they had only a certain number of ports to sail into. Coincidentally a lot of Jewish and Italian immigrants emigrated and settled in New York city, where you would guess what happened; they started making their own cultural food. This would continue on for years and years. Pizza brought over from Naples and Italy really took off and now there is no shortage of Famous Rays Pizza’s. Bagel recipes and techniques from bubbe’s were passed down from generation to generation so now you can’t throw a piece of lox without hitting a bagel shop in the Lower East Side. What it all boils down to is culture. The communities that invented and perfected these foods are the ones who know how to do it the best. They have epochs of training and tradition that has taught them how to make a superior product. So let’s get off this whole water is just better in New York kick, the reason you can’t find a decent slice of pizza in Arkansas isn’t because their mineral content is sub par, it’s because there weren’t and Italian’s who moved there to show them how it’s done.