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Man Tries Over 200 NY Bagel Shops and then Creates Interactive Map

TODAY did an outstanding story about Mike Varley who created an interactive map of his findings to help bagel eaters out there.

Mike Varley says there’s no such thing as a perfect bagel. Still, he spent a year eating at 202 bagel stores in New York in order to find the one that came the closest.

“The bagels that take you on a journey are the ones that I enjoy the most,” Varley, a 38-year-old resident of Bushwick, Brooklyn, told TODAY Food in an interview.

 Varley documented his reviews on the website, a nod to his go-to order (an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese) and to the philosophical nature of the endeavor.
Varley's interactive map of New York City's bagels. By Mike Varley

Varley’s interactive map of New York City’s bagels. By Mike Varley

On the website, the city map is overlaid with icons, each representing a bagel store. The icons are colored according to Varley’s rating system. The goldenrod is the bagel store that is “of note,” and worth traveling to visit. The navy blue is reserved for the designation of “Best in Borough.”

The resulting website centers the bagel as a mascot for New York: a carb concoction that exists, in its best form, only in the tristate area. For Varley, bagels are worth buying a plane or transit ticket for.

“It is worth coming to New York to try bagels, and I think using the list I put together will help you,” Varley said. Eating and assessing bagels is a gateway to the New York experience, for Varley. “If you don’t like them, that’s totally cool. Part of the New York experience is disagreeing with people.”

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