It’s hard not to fall for New York City. The bright lights, the great heights, the hustle and bustle, the diversity, the glamour, the grit: It collectively represents different things to different people, but for many, it smells distinctly of possibility. It’s a scent that has historically attracted an incredibly wide range of people—artists and entrepreneurs, immigrants and misfits—who in turn make the city what it is, imbuing it with the intoxicating energy and innovative spirit that inspire and enchant the next generation of New Yorkers. But let’s focus on the immigrants, for it’s no surprise that this deeply multicultural city has them to thank for its most traditional foods: the bagels (Eastern Europe/Jewish), the pizza (Italy), the hot dogs (Germany), even the more newly popular falafel and “street meat” (Middle East). The Big Apple? More like the Big Knish!

Note: New York’s culturally significant foods extend far beyond these historical and/or ubiquitous basics, of course: The city’s five boroughs represent less of a melting pot than a 24-hour all-you-can-eat global buffet. Since we at EYW are lucky enough to eat in this city daily, this section of general NYC foods is only the beginning. Stay tuned for our micro-regional NYC-by-neighborhood food coverage.