In the '70s and '80s, I used to grab a pretzel or two every time I came into the city; I remember them being very good back then. But sometime during the Giuliani era, the quality began to decline and now I can't bear to eat the stale, insipid, doughy hulks that the pushcarts are... umm, pushing.
I'm certainly not the only one who's noticed... For example, there's:
Luckily for me, after some trial and error, I've been able to produce pretzels at home that come close to the taste and texture I remember. But I can't help but wonder: what happened?