Muslim cabbies rescue NYC’s oldest Jewish bagel shop
Two Muslim cab drivers living in NYC have purchased the city's oldest bagel shop to prevent it from closing it's doors.
New York City’s oldest bagel bakery, Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, closed in September due to the bad economy. Fortunately, two Muslim businessmen, Peerzada Shah and Zafaryah Ali rescued the 91-year old shop from shutting down permanently.
Morris Rosenzeig, a Jewish immigrant from Bialystok, Poland, founded the shop in 1920. Ali and Shah said that they first bialys and bagels they were tried were made at Coney Island.
Ali once worked at the shop as a baker and contacted his former roommate, Shah, when he heard it was closing. They decided to invest in the landmark and not only keep it open, but continue to use the same recipes using the shop’s kosher-certified equipment. They also intend to continue serving the existing kosher menu.
“I felt I had to save this store,” said Ali.
“I’m happy I can take care of this store, turn a profit and make customers happy,” he continued.
Ali and Shah explain that the divide between Muslims and Jews has no bearing on making bagels and bialys.
“It doesn’t matter,” Ali said of the cross-cultural differences. “I make the food for everyone.”
“I don’t even think about it,” added Shah, 47. “I just look at this as a business opportunity.”
Coney Island Bialys and Bagels’ former owner, Steven Ross, couldn’t be happier about the Pakistani-born businessmen’s decision to purchase. Ross has been advising them and wishes them the very best with this venture.
“I hope they build the business up and do more business than I did,” said Ross.