Drop Your Pants For: Penn Station Popcorn

Hello! Originally hailing from NJ, The Pants will take a tunnel over your bridge any day, and although now we are firmly settled in NYC, that doesn’t mean that we have forgotten our NJ transit days of yore. To further prove that our mind is ALWAYS on food, we present to you a food obsession, found IN Penn Station: Zaro’s popcorn.  What started out as a convenient snack to ease the struggles of a busy commute home, this popcorn has become a full- on destination for us, something that we consider when calculating how much time we have to allot for our travels.  To be completely fair, popcorn in general is a Pants favorite, and anyone that we have ever allowed to share our bag of Zaro’s has agreed with our obsession.  And in the pursuit of full disclosure, some times, only when actually in the area, we will stop into Penn Station just to grab a bag of finger-soiling crunchy amazingness.
The aroma lit-rally greets you as you descend the stairs (or escalator you lazy ass) from the 7th Avenue entrance of Penn Station.  Due to its inflated popularity, and the fact that everyone is Penn Station is trying to get somehwere ELSE,  there are pre-bagged portions of popcorn that you can grab and get on your way.  However, if you have the time, or have sent your sister to buy the tickets to ensure that you have the time, you can get some freshly popped popcorn scooped right into your own paper bag. The popcorn is a little greasy, in the best way possible, so ask for a plastic bag as well.  You can also knot the plastic bag every now and again in an attempt at portion control, or atleast in an attempt to slow the rapid pace that you ingest this delicious snack.  (Note- it is also possible to buy beer in brown paper bags for the long trip home, especially recommended in the summer months, don’t knock it til you try it). Other necessary supplies are Purell ( you need to take the train station off of your hands before you touch the popcorn) and some napkins, and you are ready to indulge.
The popcorn speaks for itself, and it says “eat me, I am amazing”.  It is a better, crisper lighter texture than movie theater popcorn, and a perfect balance of hearty butter and salt.  A whole bag might make you feel a little ill if consumed in one sitting, but again, don’t knock it til you try it.  Just promise that you will try it, it is the best $1.75 (used to be $1.25) that you can spend in Penn Station. (Note: the Zaro’s sign “send a challah to walla walla” still makes us chuckle, after all of these years).

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  1. Im am soon addicted to Zaros popcorn from Newark Penn Station!! It is as amazing as you describe, and this coming from a popcorn connoisseur, yours truly. I travel to Manhattan about 2-3 times per month and this treat is my favorite part of the trip home. Ok, maybe even the highlight of my entire day. I surrender. The bagels are also good but after having tried this buttery delight, Id rather spend the empty calories on the popped stuff.