NYC’s Syntactic Sugar

If you buy food from New York’s street vendors long enough you will notice that New Yorkers developed some of what programmers call “syntactic sugar“. As I mentioned in my post about coffee and Greek cups, “coffee, regular” stands for “milk, two spoons of sugar”.

There’s a more extreme example. I gained a bit of weight recently after I started to have “low carb” bagels from a nearby bagel store for breakfast. I highly suspect that those things are a low carb version of non-fat yogurt from that Seinfeld episode. But while having breakfast there I remembered another example of New York’s syntactic sugar. “Bagel, scooped”. From what I hear a scooped bagel is New York-specific.

Here’s how it’s made : the bagel is cut in half, and then each half is hollowed out with tongs. When you put the two halves back together the hollowed out space forms an empty channel inside the bagel. Thus altered topology of the torus is highly conducive to non-falling-out of cream cheese or egg salad. Indeed, a scooped bagel with cream cheese is much easier to eat on the train without violating the rules about littering. (Although I’ve seen MTA ad signs that say that eating in subway is prohibited there seems to be no rule against eating and drinking non-alocoholic beverages in the Rules of Conduct).