Skip to Content
Nosh Pit

The Cream Cheese Stuffed ‘Tax-Free Bagel’ Is a Crime Against Nature, NYC

This bagel is unnervingly supple as well as damned.

12:32 PM EDT on April 17, 2023

A cross-section of the stuffed bagel.

Do not engage. (Hell Gate)

Like the perverse maze of LLCs and shell companies conjured by the ultra-wealthy to dodge billions in taxes, a New York City bagel company's gimmick to avoid the state's "prepared sandwich tax" has resulted in something deeply misanthropic and viscerally repulsive—the cream cheese-stuffed bagel.

Yes, we New Yorkers pay the 8.875 percent sales tax on "prepared sandwiches," and that includes bagels that have been buttered, schmeared, or otherwise assembled into tasty, time-honored creations.

According to a press release from Philadelphia Cream Cheese (parent company: Kraft Heinz Company) and New York City's H&H Bagels, the companies joined forces to "address the New York bagel tax head-on." That is: by injecting bagels with cream cheese to avoid any "preparation." 

Thus, the "Tax-Free Bagel" was born. On Monday morning, we traveled to the H&H Bagels location at Moynihan Station to sample one.

H&H Bagels at Moynihan Station has the bagel prominently featured. (Hell Gate)

After being informed that the only available variety was cinnamon raisin ("People have been buying them like crazy," the clerk told us, presumably talking about travelers en route home to faraway distant lands, and not humans who know and understand how decent bagels are supposed to taste), we paid our $1.90 (no tax!) and waited a few minutes for the bagel to be toasted.

The first thing to note about the Tax-Free Bagel is its unnervingly supple (spineless?) carriage. There is no pleasant crust, no toothsome bite to this bagel, just a kind of doughy waterbed texture. This bagel pulses with the blood of cream cheese, and the knowledge that God is dead.

After a few bites, the cool cream cheese contrasted unfavorably with the barely warm bagel. This may have been an unfortunate side effect of the cinnamon raisin flavor, but the cream cheese itself lacked the necessary and familiar sour tang. Instead, it was sweet and overly whipped, giving this bagel the overall taste profile of a sweet pastry. We couldn't finish it. 

(Hell Gate)

The Tax-Free Bagel is only available through tomorrow, which is Tax Day. But the truth is that anyone who orders one of these is going to pay a heavy tax, levied squarely on their dignity.

Thanks for reading!

Register or log in to continue.

See all subscription options.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

The Testimony of Fatboi Sharif

At a recent show in NYC, the Rahway rapper welcomed an audience to his world.

May 30, 2023

Get Ready for a Hot No Lifeguard Summer

And other links to start your bummer summer.

May 30, 2023

Flying Squirrels? NYC’s Got ‘Em

And sometimes, they visit your fire escape.

May 29, 2023

Hell Gate Debates the 2023 Song of the Summer

Fans of dry sherry cocktails and Fleetwood Mac must tune in.

May 26, 2023
See all posts