Back in 2013, D'Auito's bakery closed after nearly 80 years in business. It's been sitting shuttered since, untouched and unchanged, until now.
D'Aiuto's was the home of Baby Watson, "the best cheesecake on Earth." After a decline and struggle, the family sold the building on 8th Avenue and 30th Street--on the condition that the new owner keep the business going. That seemed to work out. The family and the building owners were optimistic. As Politico wrote: "the legacy of the Baby Watson cheesecakes continues, barreling into the future buck-naked and grinning."
Then the place shuttered, for reasons unknown. The Real Deal reported that it would be demolished for an 11-story apartment-hotel.
Still, the cheesecakes kept coming. You could find them for sale a few doors down at Jessie's Express Cafe. Or at D'Aiuto's other location, the Mona Lisa Cafe in Brooklyn. Then Mona Lisa closed in 2015. The cakes stopped showing up at Jessie's. I went in to check awhile back and no one could tell me what became of the cheesecakes--or D'Aiuto's.
Recently, a For Rent sign went up in the window. Once someone takes the lease, we'll have to say goodbye to that glorious storefront design, with it colorful cheesecakes and naked baby, and the antique neon, too.