Inspired by the BBC/British Museum collaboration A History of the World in 100 Objects, the NY Times built a similar collection of objects that tell the story of New York City: grid map, bagels, Checker cabs, the boom box, and MetroCard.
The first known mention of the bagel dates from 1610 in the community regulations of Krakow, Poland. The world’s biggest bagel factory is in Illinois. Still, no other food is so associated with New York as the “Jewish English muffin,” which spread from the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. “Pizza belongs to America now,” Josh Ozersky, a food writer, said, “but the bagel was always the undisputed property of New York.”