Thank you to everyone who submitted wonderful stories and memories about Zabar's or told us why they loved us. We have chosen the following submissions to star today. Stay tuned for more.
Submitted by Andrew J. Sparberg, NY
My name is Andrew J. Sparberg. I am a 45-year Zabar’s customer, although you probably don’t know me.
I became a Zabar’s customer in 1970, when I was engaged to a girl from West 95th Street. We often stopped at Zabar’s on Saturday nights to get lox for Sunday morning. We got married that year and today we are parents of two and grandparents of two. We’ve never stopped patronizing your store even though we no longer live in Manhattan, but consider it worth the trip using the Long Island Rail Road and #1 subway to get lox, herring, whitefish salad, bagels, and so many of the other delicacies that only Zabar’s offers.
I am a life-long railroad and subway buff. My career, logically, has been in transportation fields, the majority of which was with the LIRR (I am now retired). These days I teach a class at City University of New York about the history of New York’s mass transit system. And that leads me to why I am reaching out to Zabar’s.
I recently authored a book, From a Nickel to a Token, a micro-history of the subway and bus systems between 1940 and 1968. One chapter covers the 1957-59 rebuilding of the IRT subway under Broadway between Times Square and 96th Street. A photo on page 124 of the book shows the street above the 79th Street Station at the beginning of the rebuilding project. Zabar’s is visible in the photo, occupying only a small portion of the entire storefront it now uses. What the reader doesn’t know from the photo is that today I use that very station to travel to and from Zabar’s.
I’ll close with one final anecdote. One day in 1997, I was in Zabar’s buying belly lox. None other than Sam Cohen sliced it for me. He said, with his great Yiddish accent, “Such a young man….you’re buying the salty lox.” I said to him, “thank you. Not too many people call me ‘young man’ anymore. You made my day!”
So between the subway and Zabar’s I can satisfy my desires on the same trip! I recently watched the Channel 4 profile of your store and enjoyed every second of it. Only person missing was Sam Cohen.
Submitted by Erica Berglund
NY Memories to share-the longest running show on Broadway, now "80th on 80th"
Me & my friend was in NYC to attend a Madonna concert in MSG. Trying to see as much as possible of NYC we were strolling along CP when we wanted a bite to eat. Among NYC's millions of restaurants and streetfoods we weren't able to decide where to go. For me, as a non-resident staying at a hotel, I out of the blue remembered a very wellknown grocerystore with outstanding delicats, luckily just close by.
Heading for 80th street we were in for a real surprise. A heaven of food, we wanted to try everything but after a few hours we had to leave, loaded with groceries (. ..back to a hotel!), with our names on the mailinglist, now heading for the 5th Ave for some Christmas shopping at Tiffany's.
Lounging comfortably at Tiffany's we suddenly heard a voice asking someone to handout food. We looked up and one of the staff was directly demanding us to "...give us some of your food! You can't just sit on it, share with us! You know Zabar's has the best food (in NYC) ever, right?"
Stunned by the moment we burst out into laughter now trying to shelter our bags as much as possible while chatting about NYC with friendly people coming up to us.
A year later back in Sweden, around Christmas, I received an email about Zabar's tins of cookies. A very good reason for a NY weekendtrip, I went there planning to buy as many as I could carry as the perfect Christmas gift.
Back at Zabar's I learned the offer was only for weborder custumers!!! Of course, devastated, I told the nice Zabar's staff my situation, being a non-resident, living in Scandinavia, a long flight and just loving Zabar's!
In the magic of the moment the nice man, I think he was the manager, said "...of course we want to help you" and went to the storagehouse in the next block and fetched me as many tins I could carry with me!
From that moment I just...
LOVING NYC as the city of cities
LOVING Manhattan as the city of 24/7 events
LOVING Central Park as a reminder, remembering us to also care for the nature and wildlife
LOVING ZABAR's as they are providing us a luxury everyday life offering us their heavenly Delicats served by their loving and friendly staff.
ZABAR's...Connecting people throughout the world by offering Food and Friendly people
Just had to share these moments with You for the anniversary!
Sorry for not making it short and hope you are ok with any misspellings.
Love You all
A Happy New Year 2015
From a Zabar's customer with love,
Submitted by Laura and Eva Kaminsky, NYC
For us, Sunday brunch was Zabar’s and Family News Discussions. Over bagels and smoked salmon, maatjes herring, salamis, and gruyere, and a big plate of crudités, our family of five dissected the events of the week. “May I have half of a poppy seed bagel, please, and, no, I don’t think that Michael Dukakis has a chance in the next debate,” was the tenor of conversation.
Our parents were insistent that my sisters and I be aware of the world in which we lived, though as pre-teens living on the Upper West Side, just a few blocks from Zabar’s, we were much more enthralled by the fare on the table than that in the newspapers. But we slogged through the newspapers all week, keeping track of the emerging stories, anticipating with more than a little dread “The Sunday News Discussion.” Luckily we were all on the same side of most social and political debate, so it wasn’t a matter of defending a position against strong opposition; it was more about learning how to defend one’s thoughts at all. The student protests of 1968, unfolding of the saga in Vietnam and Cambodia, Biafra, the Iran Hostage Crisis, Israel and Egypt, Perestroika…all of this was animatedly discussed over our Zabar’s-laden table. Joni Mitchell’s virtues were compared to Judy Collins’, as another schmear of cream cheese was spread on a slice of pumpernickel bread.
It was all very intimate, very passionate, and very tasty.
And to this day, when our family convenes for brunch, some 35 years later, we go to Zabar’s and buy all our favorite things, and gather round the table and debate the news of the day.
Submitted by Coco Cherny, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I fell in love with NYC at first sight. That was about 25 years ago, I was on my honey moon and I couldn´t believe my eyes since the very beginning.
It was snowing, the whole city was dressed in Christmas style, yellow cabs everywhere, skyscrapers, people from every corner of the world on the streets, Central Park, the smell of hot pretzels flirting with our noses… it was better than what I´ve seen in movies. It was being in a movie!!
I remember the excitement. And I also remember my wife and I walking from 9 to 21, taking hundreds of photographs (in spite there were no cell phones or digital cameras at the time) trying to know, to live and to absorb the spirit of all the neighborhoods of the city.
One of those walks took us to Zabar´s. And I have to admit that it was love at first sight too!! I’m not going to mention any of the feelings in there. I just wanna tell that every time I came back to NYC I came back to Zabar´s.
So, the question is: do I love New York or do I love Zabar´s?
Maybe both. Or maybe the Zabar’s cup I have breakfast with every morning in my country (Buenos Aires, Argentina) is closer to a real answer.
Submitted by Gael Greene, NYC
Submitted by Kyra Soman, NYC
My parents grew up in NYC and my father had developed a deep love (obsession?) for Zabar's original blend coffee. Before I was born, they moved to Ohio. But you know what they say... "you can take the man out of NYC, but you can't take the Zabar’s out of his morning coffee cup."
Fortunately for my dad, my grandparents lived in upstate New York so every six months or so we could climb into the family van and road trip to Zabars... I mean to see my grandparents. We always made time to go to Zabar’s and get approximately 6 months worth of the original blend... just enough to hold him over until the next family road trip.
Now I live in NYC and the baton has been passed down to me to provide my father with Zabar’s coffee for every occasion: his birthday, father's day, and Christmas. This has made gift giving over the years a much less stressful event because we all know how difficult it can be to shop for fathers. And even though he knows what he's getting I'll still wrap them in different ways. He'll pick up the rectangular, fragrant package and - without fail - will feign confusion and exclaim, "hmmm I wonder what this is..."
Submitted by Alix Wall, Oakland, CA
When my mom was dying of breast cancer, we had many of those intense conversations one has with a dying loved one, who wants to make sure her wishes are known. Among the most emotional conversations was her making sure I knew that she wanted my dad to date and find love again once he was ready; that it was in no way a betrayal of her. One of the less emotional topics, but no less memorable, was her insistence that Zabar's cater her New York shiva (my parents were bicoastal). A food lover ‘til the end, my mom was adamant that those coming to pay their last respects be well-fed. The fact that she made this request was so funny and memorable to a good friend of mine, that she was the one who told me you were soliciting such stories. She gets your email bulletin, read that you were seeking submissions, and forwarded it to me, saying, "You should tell them about how your mom requested for Zabar's to cater her shiva."
Thanks, Ilana, for the nudge. It brings a smile to my face 12 years later, recalling how her knowing that Zabar's would be part of her final celebration gave her peace of mind.