Famed NYC Institution H & H Bagels Closing Up Shop On Upper West Side

Mystery Surrounds Decision, But Owners Have Another Location On West 46th

UPDATED 06/22/2011 9:29 a.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the end of an era on the Upper West Side.

By Wednesday morning, the famous brown and tan H & H Bagels sign and awning was gone; some of the fixtures inside were pulled down leaving only exposed wires dangling from the ceiling. The landmark location at 80th and Broadway is closing, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Since opening in 1972, H & H has become synonymous with New York bagels. The place — one of only two in the city — has become an institution. The popular, cash-only, hot and fresh bagel shop is closing the storied Upper West Side location for good.

“I feel sad. It’s the end of an era for H & H bagels,” one customer said.

The exterior of H&H Bagels on the Upper West Side - New York, NY - Jun 22, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

The exterior of H&H Bagels on the Upper West Side - New York, NY - Jun 22, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

“It’s a New York thing, of course, especially fresh bagels,” Upper West Side resident Norman Weinstein said.

“This is actually really upsetting,” Rebecca Allen said.

Allen stopped in Tuesday with some friends from out of town, not knowing it would be the last time she’d get her favorite at the shop.

“The plain bagel, just like a really nice plain bagel on Saturday,” Allen said.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Upper West Side

For generations, H & H has been the place for New York bagels. Countless newspaper write-ups on the walls of the shop on 80th confirm that, attracting customers from literally all over. Part of the allure was the doughy delights being baked right up front.

“I came from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, just to have a bagel,” patron Jennifer Burstain said.

Why the Upper West Side location is closing is as big of a mystery as what is in the bagels. Dennis heard everything from the owners lost their lease, to financial problems.

“I understand the mother company, whatever that is has gone bankrupt,” Weinstein said.

Some customers, like David Gleiner, saw the writing on the wall.

“I think it’s ridiculous the money they charge for bagels, they put themselves out of business I guess,” Gleiner told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “If you don’t give the people what they want at a fair price they’re going to go some place else.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Some Customers Saw It Coming

Many however agreed in saying the place will be missed.

“Having to go 50 blocks to get bagels now, it’s gonna be kind of tough, so, this a tough day,” Upper West Side resident Mike Levy said.

The long trek is exactly what the shop is hoping customers will do. A sign can be seen outside touting its soon-to-be only location at West 46th Street. Come Wednesday, you’ll have to get your “everything” bagel somewhere else.

In addition to the store on West 46th Street, workers said customers can still get their H & H bagels shipped worldwide.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Paul Murnane
  • Yvette

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. H & H were absolutely the best bagels ever (better than the big puffy ones that Ess-A-Bagel makes as far as I’m concerned). They had the perfect texture and a faint sweetness. I understand there might be some backlash from all the hype. It’s incredibly hard, and rare, to be able to live up to hype. But if you really know your bagels (and I wonder if some of the commentors here do) H & H delivered. And you can’t just go to another bagel place and get the same thing. Pizza places are a dime a dozen too but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same thing at Dominoes as you do at John’s. I don’t live in NY anymore I’m sorry to say and I once had them shipped from the factory and they were NOT the same. Whenever I’m in town (several times a year) I always made a special trip to 80th street to pick up two dozen (they freeze pretty well though of course not the same as fresh). I am incredibly sad about this.

  • sawnetbean

    Their bagels were awful, but they had no competition. Ess-a-Bagel makes a much better bagel and has great stuff to put on them.

    • Dale Auburn

      Actual quality is IRRELEVANT.

      The uptown H&H location was world-famous. That fame conveyed prestige to near-by addresses, which boosted their property values. H&H has ilegally taken property and prestige from people without due process, and thus should be held liable.

  • Martha Hewitt

    They were always terrible Bagels and the owners were crooks.
    46th street,watch out. If the price of sugar goes up they will be out of
    business again,Phooey!

  • Shlomo McCluskey

    Were the owners of H&H the Wilpons of bagelry?

  • elana

    the owner herman was lucky to be in business this long after going to jail for manipulating employee paychecks and not payiing taxes good by and good luck

  • Dale Auburn

    For the past 40 years, property values in the West 70’s and 80’s have been based largely on the proximity of H&H, so people will probably sue on the grounds that closing the shop represents an unconstitutional taking of people’s property.

  • steve

    This is just another example of NYC losing its flavor

    • nyc

      NewYork is losing its flavor and characture. A mexican fast food will probabaly open (with loud music playing) to serve the one million plus Illegal immigrants now in New York !

  • UWS Barry

    No big loss. The bagels were WAY overpriced there, and nothing special. It’s more about the name than anything else. (H&H East is good, though.)

  • sally rogers

    How about another Duane Reade???? We still have Jumbo Bagel on 2nd Ave / e 56!!! But its sad to see these places go.

  • Sydelle Houston

    I used to eat there all the time when I worked on 81st Street decades ago when I worked in Manhattan. Can’t forget that wonderful aroma of fresh bagels when I got off the subway and walked up Broadway. Sad news. Places like H&H Bagels make New York, NEW YORK!

  • Clifford E. Pennyweather, III

    Kramer from “Seinfeld” worked at H&H Bagel, but he worked at the one on 46th street. Kramer was played by Michael Richards. Michael Richards is the comedian who made some pretty racist comments during one of his performances. People remember things like that for a long time. I don’t think Michael Richards is getting too much work these days. I guess he was a one trick pony, so to speak. Not much quality programming on the tele these days anyways. The networks just seem to be grinding out garbage and expecting us to just sit there and watch it. I don’t have time to watch garbage. I actually quite enjoy listening to talk radio these days. Some excellent programming if you know where to look (listen). Well, I have to be going now. My wife is taking a bath in the sink and I have to let the water out. All of you have a nice day and remember to vote once elections come around.

    • MCK

      You may not have time to watch garbage but you sure have time to spew it!

  • Solo

    Wow, you all are going to miss this place? Really?
    Bagel places are dime a dozen in NYC. Stop being sentimental fools. What a bunch of nincompoops.

    • joey

      Please go back to Ohio



    • richard Allen

      Solo i guess you love McDonalds…….

      A friend of mine over in maspeth 20 years ago turned me on to Alpha Donuts 46thst and queens blvd. in sunnyside…

      We would make a special trip to it when i cam down from CT, when i moved to Manhattan i would make a special trip on the 7 just to get some…WHY????

      They made the fresh and they tasted EXACTLY like my grandmother made them 50 years ago as a kid growing up. In fact I can smell that aroma and remember that I had a really cool grandma…….time for the donuts!

  • roman blumenthal

    I’m sure a corporate giant will be eager to fill the space………….we could use another Chase bank! Remember a place called NYC? Those were the days. THE FALL OF ROME FOLKS…..

  • Nathan

    Wow – end of an era. Will be missed.

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