Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Les Desirs


On 9th Avenue near 24th Street, Les Desirs Patisserie has been a bakery since 1962, when it began as a Cake Masters. It's been owned by a baker named Jean Pauget for the past decade, and every day it is filled with senior citizens from the neighborhood, mostly from the Penn South housing cooperative.

Recently, Mr. Pauget got notice from his Penn South landlords that his lease won't be renewed and he will need to vacate the premises by the end of October. There's a petition on the counter for everyone to sign.

Thanks to a tip from local writer Stacy Torres, I visited Les Desirs and found only one seat available in a packed shop, bustling with talk--and song. A table of women, most in their 80s, were singing "It Had to Be You" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." I sat down with Jeannie and Phil, Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea natives who've been coming to this bakery since the 1960s.

"See how comfortable we all are," said Jeannie, "We can sit, talk, argue. This place is where everybody meets to hear what's happening in the neighborhood. This is where you find out who's sick and who's died."

"It gives you a reason to get out of the house," she continued, "If you don't show up here for a few days--can you believe it?--your phone starts ringing! It's your friends calling up to say: Where are you? Are you okay?"

"This is family."

The Les Desirs chorus

The table of singers consists of neighborhood women: Becky, Emily, Marguerite, Rita, and Betty (who recalled her days of singing at Horn & Hardart's automat). They come to the bakery daily to play Name That Tune and see if they can stump each other. Together we sang a 1935 ukulele tune about a Hawaiian girl, and Becky got up to do a slow, sultry hula dance, conjuring the balmy air of the islands.

"In the winter," said Jeannie, "we look for this place even more. A nice, warm place to be together."

She heard that Les Desirs will be replaced by the Sullivan Street Bakery, a company that supplies artisanal "peasant" bread to places like Jean Georges, The Four Seasons, and Gramercy Tavern. They already have a pizzeria on the same strip as Les Desirs, a business financed, in part, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

I asked the ladies where they will go, once their bakery is gone.

"McDonald's," Betty said, "That's all we can afford around here now."

"McDonald's," echoed Jeannie sadly, "But the atmosphere will be gone."

That's for sure. At Les Desirs, Mr. Pauget lets the senior citizens sit for hours, drinking their coffees and enjoying their pastries. If they forget their money, he tells them to just bring it tomorrow. At the end of the day, if someone needs it, he gives away his leftovers. And, of course, he lets them fill the place with song.

None of that is going to happen at McDonald's.

You can help save Les Desirs:
  • Stop into the bakery and sign the petition asking for a new lease
  • Call Penn South's management office to complain: 212-675-3200
  • Contact the Sullivan St. Bakery and let them know what is in jeopardy
  • Pass the word!


Cas Marino said...

May I add to our list of "what we can do to help" actions that if contact is made with Sullivan Street Bakery, it not be to simply tell them they're killing something old and cherished. That means NOTHING to their pocket book or that of their landlords.

Instead they should be told -- and the management/leasing company as well -- that their business will not be supported as they are now seen as economically and socially predatory and have no place in our neighborhood. If you want to take it a step further -- and mind you all of this may be totally ineffectual -- copy all contacts and correspondence to the bakery's clients, and tell them that for supporting this bakery with THEIR business you will be taking your dining business to establishments other than theirs, in the hopes of still supporting local small business ethics.

Ken Mac said...

beautiful and sad post. been to this place many times in my Chelsea journeys. And Cas is right, the new joint will move in, go out of business due to lack of support, and leave a gaping hole in the community.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

What I don't understand is how Penn South is working...don't the residents vote on what their organization does? A few years ago, there was a big argument over the grocery store on 8th Ave & 26th St. It sat empty for about a year until Gristedes was finally allowed to move in (replacing Food Emporium).

Anonymous said...

If we keep losing these neighborhood places, we will only have franchises and chain stores left.

Doesn't that feel inauthentic?

I thought New York was a city of culture. What is culture when everything is a franchise?

Big B said...

Forget saving it, Sullivan Street Bakery is awesome.

Cas Marino, this bakery will do fine without the support of your old biddy committee, just like Co. and Txikito do on either side of this space.

There is nothing predatory about it. Being old and cherished does not save any business from paying *market* rent. I am sure the landlord would be fine with keeping the old bakery there if they paid the same rent as Sullivan.

You really make it seem like landlords do not have the right to conduct FAIR business. Like they have some social responsibility to play favorites and cut sweetheart deals at a fraction of market rent to places like this. Sorry, but that is not reality. Feel free to run your own business as a charity but don't expect others to do the same.

Don't hold your breath waiting for this place to go out of business. They will be there for a decade with a superior product that most of the "new" neighborhood will enjoy. Just like the crappy "neighborhood gem" butcher down the street on 20th and 9th, which was replaced by a much cleaner and higher quality butcher. That place isn't going out of business either.

Cas Marino said...

I couldn't agree more (or more sadly) with Big B. -- hence my noting these efforts as grassroots saviors are probably for naught.

And I cannot, for a moment, say I would cut the rent to a tenant if I was the owner either; sweetheart deals as our friend calls them are not easily found in a real estate market like that of NYC.

The original post, however, doesn't say what the current tenant was willing to pay (or that finances were discussed at all -- just a no-go on the renewal of their lease).

And Big B is right: there can, truly, be no aspersions cast on the business savvy of ANY landlord who can make a bigger buck on his holdings. Unless you are owner/occupant, there's no other reason why your name would be on such a property title besides the quest for the largest possible return on investment.

But it doesn't make it easy to say "goodbye" to an old friend.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

I should clarify my comment - I am puzzled, because it seems to me the customers are the landlord as they are Penn South residents and they essentially own this building.

Jeremiah Moss said...

good points, Cas. it's odd how people refer to this ethos of "the landlord deserves to get as much as he can and fuck the poor old people" as if it's a universal, agreed-upon way of doing business throughout the history of the city.

we are now living in a culture in which landlords regularly and eagerly kick long-term, thriving businesses out of properties and replace them with high-end or chain businesses, jacking the rent up astronomically.

this did not always exist--AS A CULTURE. and it still does not always happen. talk to old-school landlords and they will tell you they value more than money. talk to their children, and you will see incredible feats of cold-heartedness.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be only in New York that a landlord is raked over the coals for trying to get fair market value for their property. They're supposed to be charities? Same thing with rent control. Please. How would you like to be told how much you can charge for your services, or how much you can sell your house for by a government agency? That sounds like,hmm, Socialism? Oh, yeah, this is New York, where most of the people ARE Socialists. Or at least they are until they feel their own wallet being lifted. Then they're as self-interested as anybody on earth. Maybe more than anybody on earth.

NEWyorkINSTITUTE said...

wait a second here...
Sullivan street bakery is not a franchise or a chain, it is a 15 year old small business built in NYC from the ground up that has fundamentally improved the quality of bread in this country. While the passing of a neighborhood institution is sad, nostalgia doesn't pay the bills.. if we look at the NYC institutions that have lasted through generations, Orwashers, Russ and Daughters, Barney Greengrass, katz's, Serendipity, La Taza de oro, etc. etc. they have lasted because the business owners own the buildings that house their storefronts. A landlords only responsibility is to abide by a lease until its term expires... they are business people, and to ask one to accept rent far below the market demands for the preservation of a mediocre bakery (that admittedly provides a wonderful service to the neighborhood) is a bit of a reach... If every building owner followed these notions, Manhattan would not be Manhattan at all.. it would be... Woodmere?

Jeremiah Moss said...

with backing from Vongerichten and other major investors, i don't think we can say Sullivan St.'s still-expanding business is "small."

based on his web bio, Jim Lahey sounds like a thoughtful guy. i hope that, should he move in, he will reach out to this community and make a space for them in his new place. that would be neighborly and "menschlich" (another vanishing piece of NY).

L'Emmerdeur said...

1: Sullivan Street Bakery bread sucks. You Americans really don't have taste buds, do you. Instead of proper flavor and texture, you make up for it by stuffing yourselves with large quantities of merde and hope for the best. This, along with waging war on most of the planet, makes you assholes.

2: Any bona-fide capitalist pig will tell you that populating retail spaces is more than just squeezing every last dime out of the tenants. Only smarmy, self-important PR assholes who never created anything - real estate, bread or anything else - in their petty little lives would simplify such a complex business down to "make as much money as possible next month".

Then again, the rest of America became a uni-dimensional, short-term-thinking culture-less tub of lard, why should we expect any different from the brash young faux-capitalists who brought mainstream suburban America to our city?

MORONS, LISTEN UP AND LEARN SOMETHING without having to pay $30k a year to some bullshit university to have it drilled into your head by some surly T.A.: you don't squeeze every tenant for every penny. You make sure you get a GOOD MIX of tenants in your portfolio - and yes, real estate is run as a portfolio, long before the word was used to describe it as such, it was run AS A PORTFOLIO even by the old-timey landlords who knew how to run real estate empires, because they held onto them for decades and centuries, and didn't go broke every time the economy tanked.

And one of the postulates of running a portfolio is to FUCKING DIVERSIFY YOU ASSHOLES. How? You keep the premium, corner spots for the tenants you are going to squeeze and rip off (banks, etc.) and rent the rest out on scale, to make sure all your spaces aren't in the same business, catering to the same type of customer, etc. DIVERSITY. That way, if Wall Street dies, you don't lose all your tenants at the same time, because they all catered to the affluent. Some close, some are replaced, some (usually the cheaper, crappier ones) manage to stay open.

And you keep earning enough to not go broke.

You don't maximize your snapshot earnings, you look at the long haul and figure out the long-term take, taking downturns into consideration and the risk of having higher-ticket spaces empty for months or years at a time. You don't turn all your spaces into high-ticket, because then you run the risk that they will all go empty for long periods at the same time. This is called a VaR event, and if it lasts long enough, it will kill your business. But you faux-capitalists don't care about that, do you? Neither did all the young bucks on Wall Street, they were looking or the quick buck and ignored the long haul, too. Now they are flipping burgers. And we get to pay for their short-sighted, self-centered stupidity. Assholes.

PR PEOPLE: STOP GIVING US ONE-LINER ADVICE ON HOW TO RUN REAL ESTATE. Your cockamamy slogans about capitalism are ill-informed. If you knew how to run real estate, you'd be earning rent on real estate, and not coming here to protect the interests of your Sullivan Street Bakery clients via comments on a blog.

Take it from a real capitalist: get a real fucking job, you entitled, void-souled jackasses.

Unknown said...

At least it is not going to be another bank.

Anonymous said...

"it's odd how people refer to this ethos of "the landlord deserves to get as much as he can and fuck the poor old people" as if it's a universal, agreed-upon way of doing business throughout the history of the city."

"talk to old-school landlords and they will tell you they value more than money. talk to their children, and you will see incredible feats of cold-heartedness."

These two quotes symbolize everything that's forehead-slappingly amusing, irritating and naive about the rose-coloured nostalgia ethos of this blog and others like it. How can you really say with a straight face that maximizing profits is not the "general agreed upon way of doing business" in this city's history? As if this hasn't always been the most cutthroat, dog eats dog, survival of the fittest gauntlet? You think this city isn't built on "screwing the poor?" Come on, you really don't mean that, if you pause for a second. Why do you think the song goes "If I can, make it here, I'll make it, anywhere?" Because people are really nice to each other and give discounts to you because you're a really nice old lady who can't afford Jean Georges?

You know exactly how this city was built. Immigrants came here an lived 20 to an apt. They hustled and hustled and turned their push carts into store fronts. They bought buildings and became landlords of the same slums they once inhabited. And they squeezed every penny out of every transaction, because if that wasn't the kind of person you were, you would never have made it, and you'd still be running someone else's errands. None of the wonderful New York that you love and that is now disappearing and evolving is here because somebody was being nice. Everything was there because there was a market need for it. Once it can be replaced by something more profitable, it gets replaced, whether it's 1859, 1920, 1970 or 2009.

And this whole thing about old landlords talking about how money wasn't as important to them is pretty funny too. Bloggers aren't the only ones who romanticize the past. Yes, I'm sure the Greatest Generation was the best and most noble people to have ever walked this earth. Of course they did things differently, and they don't like this crazy rap music you kids are listening to either, no sir! How convenient that all their real money-making days are behind them, and they no longer have to perform feats of "cold heartedness." Of course, once you have children and grandchildren and a nice rocking chair, money isn't as important to you. But before all that, they were just as hungry as the current "cold hearted generation" is now. And their worked their asses off, and wheeled and dealed and squeezed pennies out of a stone. Yes, things were different back in the fifties, you could make a buck while being super nice to everyone, and then you and the tenant could take a nice trip to Big Rock Candy Mountain where all the children play, and men were men etc etc. Nobody is more unreliable a source than old people when talking about some moral aspects of their behavior as young people.

Our generation will be exactly the same, except some of us have started with the deluded nostalgia a bit early.

Jeremiah Moss said...

that one-way vision of the city's economic system is a fantasy. i've talked to many, many people with landlords who don't value the dollar above all else. you are simply wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sure, people value lots of things. Money tends to purchase many of them, but not all. People also value different things at different times in their lives. Older peopple prefer stability over risk, for obvious reasons (or maybe not so obvious in socialist land, but I will give you enough credit.) There are also generally kind people, and cruel, sociopathic people. There always have been, and always will be. There are also people who believe it is their right to morally instruct others on how to make a living. Such people, bloggers, for instance, go around and hear what they want to hear from people who like to feel good about themselves by talking up the fact that the dollar is not the most important thing in their business transactions. And yet, all we see is landlords exhibiting through their behavior, exactly the opposite sentiment. So, I suppose we are free to believe what we want, but I tend to lend more weight to what people do, rather than what they say. After all, what is the downside of telling a blogger that you value community, neighborhood and tradition above an extra 5% a month? When it comes time to actually put your money where your mouth is, you can always act accordingly.

Landlords are people too. They form human connections with their tenants. They might choose to keep a known quantity, because bringing in someone new, even if it means a bump in profits, brings in uncertainty, and that has a dollar value as well. It's just so unfortunate that everything comes down to yucky money and all the yucky yunnies who make it. Grandpa and grandma don't care about money.

Yes, the city used to be Jane Jacobs socialist utopia. Everyone got along and nobody ever exploited anyone until the Reagan years. Money? Pshaw, put that away, your money's no good here. All those books we read about the city's "economic system" and what it was like here must have been lying. There's an alternate history waiting to be written here. Will you be the Howard Zinn of our generation?

Anonymous said...

L'Emmerdeur, your colorful, anti-American capitalist analysis may very well be on point, I'm not in the commercial real estate business. But they key point is that diversification is still about money. If it's not about squeezing every last dollar out of every tenant, it's still about squeezing every last dollar out of your portfolio, or your situation, at the risk level you are comfortable with. It is still not about being nice to old ladies who will now have to congregate at McDonald's. If keeping them in coffee and pasties is consistent with your diversification strategy, then great, you can keep them there and talk about how the dollar isn't everything to you. But it still is about money. Approval from anti-gentrification bloggers is just a side effect.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Big B, what comment of yours did I not publish? or were you just so eager to see it here you got impatient?

L'Emmerdeur said...

Anonymous September 30, 2009 7:03 PM:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I never once mentioned anything about non-economic aspects of this issue - the nostalgia, or providing people like the ladies in the article with a place to congregate.

Keeping a place like this in business, in general, can sometimes (not always) make more sense than taking a similar, higher-rent tenant (like Sullivan Street Bakery). Why? because the lower rent tenant may survive a downturn, whereas the higher-rent tenant might not, especially if their pricing structure is geared to the affluent who get crushed during severe downturns.

By filling all your storefronts with tenants who appeal to the affluent, you risk that all of your tenants will close up shop within a short period of time, just when the economy is at its worst. Not only does this kill your ability to service debt on the portfolio, but clustered empty storefronts are impossible to rent - nobody wants to be the first to open up shop next to a string of empty storefronts.

I know of restaurants that have gotten 30% rent reductions, but they cannot lower their prices beyond a certain point, because their image is one that does not allow them to have a truly cheap menu. In a long-term deflationary environment, such places are wiped out.

In such times, the places that cater to little old ladies - that cater to those who depend on fixed incomes in general - may be the only ones paying rent on time, the only ones who can afford to pay reasonably higher rents as everyone turns away from luxury and looks for deals, and therefore may be the ones who make sure you survive through the tough times.

As for my "anti-Americanism", I am against the handouts-for-everyone, quantity-over-quality, stuff our faces to make the pain go away, fast buck at the expense of long-term prosperity attitude that seems to be the 21st century rendition of the American dream. If anything, I am a patriot, a nationalist, and a tad bit of a fascist.

BTW, in the last 10 (some would say 20, others 100) years, being a true capitalist means you are inherently anti-American.

liz said...

When I was a kid my grandfather lived in Penn South along with much extended family and EVERYTHING came from Cake Masters. I was delicous, maybe not as sophisticated as Sullivan Street Bakery products but it was a less sophisticated time.
Penn South has always been "God's Waiting Room", my grandfather and his buddies (ex ILGWU)were the original tenants and the moved in in their 60s. Since then it seems like more and more waves of seniors have followed (My mother wanted so badly to live there but knew the waiting list would outlive here). You can't have a large group of people living without appropriate services closes by, especially when so many are mobility imparied. Penn South Residents donn't need Sullivan Street Bakery, they need Cake Masters...or another place to kibbitz over coffee and danish. When Chelsea was considered a horrible neighborhood, the seniors of Penn South were there. Now that is tres chic, its not to dislodge them.

Big B said...

Jeremiah - My apologies, yes I was impatient and it took an hour for my post to show so I thought it was censored. My bad!

A lot of good posts here, and some not-so-good. Even L'emmerdeur has one or two points in his ocean of nonsensical babble.

I am certainly not a PR person, but I am a commercial real estate person for a large retail landlord. I actually am a little familiar with this block, as the landlord was marketing it a year ago and trying to lease it up (prior to Co. moving in...)

First of all, I think people are taking this to extremes and losing the context of this situation, and real estate in general. There are not just greedy landlords and nice guy landlords. The way that applies here is that there is a difference between trying to squeeze every penny, and trying to be fair. Let's say that the market for this block is $120-$130 per foot, and this bakery is paying $40 per foot. Those are just examples, not the real numbers. At what point between $40 and $130 is a landlord a nice guy, a greedy douche, a fair businessman, or a chump? This bakery has the old folks sitting for hours, not spending a lot of money. My guess is the bakery might not be able to afford a 50% increase to $60 a foot even. And certainly, the landlord is a chump if he takes $60 per foot! He is a douche if he asks for $130. I'd say he is fair and a good guy if he asked for $90-100, knowing he could get $130 from Citibank. But the bakery definitely can't pay that much. So is the landlord a bad guy?

Well, in this case the landlord is the Penn South Coop. I do not know how that particular coop board is run and if every resident votes, but it was their decision. Maybe Co. and Sullivan Street Bakery will be funding an extra Bingo night each week, who knows.

As far L'emmerdeur's comments about the type of business and downturns and longterm viability, there is much to be said about these economic times and the tenant and landlord interaction here. This is the worst year in recent times. Landlords are *not* squeezing every penny right now, they are cutting sweet deals. I promise you that Sullivan St. is getting a great deal, compared to 2 years back. Sullivan St has been around for 15 years, and the fact that they are expanding in the worst retail year of their history says to me, they are a strong business that will weather the storm. That they choose now, when they can get that sweet deal, shows their strength and business acumen. They are certainly signing a deal long enough that when the economy recovers, their rent is going to be looking *really good*. You have replaced a somewhat dilapidated low revenue bakery with one that is currently peaking and getting a deal that won't put them in a bad situation in the future. Sounds like a good move for the Penn South Coop portfolio.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Big. i work a few jobs and i'm not at my computer 24/7. but i do try to publish comments in a timely way. now and then, if something really rubs me wrong, i delete it. but mostly all i delete are spam ads trying to sell Japanese products.

Eva said...

I'd like to add, that the owner of the bakery was not offered a renewal of his lease in any way or form - he was simply informed that his lease would not be renewed. And to add insult to injury, that he has 30 days to vacate the premises. A MONTH! The landlord doesn't even have the decency and humanity to give him proper notice! It's immoral, beyond cruel.

ak said...

this is depressing. the comment-discussion-argument is even more depressing. why? i kinda hate the way this world works and this discussion is making that point even more clear to me. then again, i'm destined to be broke all my life because i cant figure out how to work a 401k or savings account or anything-money related, really. to each his own, truly, but the loss of Les Desirs Patisserie for the people that rely on it is quite saddening regardless of capitalism-this-or-that.

Big B said...

Eva - Just like to point out again, before people start ranting about "greedy landlords" that the landlord of this building is, in fact, Penn South Coop. So it is the community itself that is pushing out the bakery.

Big B said...

This is taken from a post on another site:

Here's the notice that was distributed to all Penn South Cooperators on October 1, 2009 explaining the situation.

A number of cooperators have expressed concern regarding the housing company’s need to take legal action against Les Desirs Bakery on Ninth Avenue. Therefore, we want to clarify the situation.

First, it is important to emphasize that the housing company offers leases, where possible, to our existing tenants provided that they are willing to pay market rent. It is very important to Mutual and its shareholders that the commercial spaces are rented at market rates, as that income is a vital factor in subsidizing the maintenance charges paid by our shareholders, and in offsetting the need for maintenance increases.

Second, it should be understood that the lease for Les Desirs Bakery expired on February 28, 2009, seven months ago, and sincere efforts have been made by Mutual to extend that lease. Here is the background:

Jean Pauget, the owner of Les Desirs Bakery came to us about a year and a half ago and expressed an interest in selling his business so that he could retire. At that time, he had an individual who was interested in taking over the lease. However, this person had no net worth nor any existing bakery business, and he was unwilling to pay a market rent for the space. Therefore, the Board, which is charged with the fiduciary responsibility of managing Mutual’s finances and seeking qualified tenants for the stores, would not consent to the transaction. Mr. Pauget did not bring to the Board any other prospective purchasers.

Because Mr. Pauget had indicated to the General Manager that he was planning to retire in the next couple of years, he was allowed to remain in the space on a month-to-month basis until a suitable tenant could be found to take over the location. We found such a potential tenant recently in the Sullivan Street Bakery, which is owned by Jim Lahey, who also runs “Co.”, the successful pizzeria/restaurant at Ninth Avenue and 24th Street.

Upon finding a potential tenant, Mutual’s General Manager went to Mr. Pauget and asked him how much time he would need to surrender the premises. Mr. Pauget indicated that he needed until the end of February 2010 to surrender the space, that is, a full year after his lease had run out. Nevertheless, the Manager agreed, and said that we would memorialize this agreement in writing. Our attorneys prepared the surrender agreement and the Manager contacted Mr. Pauget to have the agreement signed. However, Mr. Pauget apparently changed his mind and stated that he was not going to move out and that he would not sign the agreement.

At this point, Management and the Board were left with no choice but to start a legal action and terminate the occupancy of the premises. The surrender agreement still remains as an option for Les Desirs if they agree to surrender the premises by February 28, 2010.

Sullivan Street Bakery, the prospective tenant, is a successful small business bakery with a location on 47th Street where it does a large wholesale business in addition to a small retail business. Its breads are famous in New York City and around the country. Mr. Lahey has informed us that the location on Ninth Avenue would be primarily a retail location with a line of fresh baked goods in a newly renovated location that will offer patron seating as well.

Given the situation, the Board recognized that it was its fiduciary responsibility to find a tenant for this location who has the necessary experience and who is prepared to pay the going rent. The Board and Management are confident that the Sullivan Street Bakery will be a welcome addition to the community and a viable business and tenant for our space.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i put up a link to that letter this morning. there's more info out there as well. and so the plot thickens.

brawnybrat said...

I'm a 15 year resident of this W. Chelsea neighborhood and over the years there have been very few places north of 23rd Street to obtain decent meals (be they breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Across the street from the subject strip, we have what is probably the record for asian restaurants on one non-China or Koreatown block. Bus loads of tourists descend upon Grand Szechuan as if it were Dallas BBQ.

The dive food shop on the corner of the strip (before Co.) was pitiful. We waited for nearly a year looking at a boarded up area of property only to be met with a high priced, pseudo foo foo, pizza joint that gets clientele from food guides out of the area.

The whole strip is positioning itself to cater to the Sex in the City yuppie wanna-bees and 10th Avenue High Line high rise condo new neighbors. W. Chelsea is changing and either Penn South folks have to change with it or continue to lament about being unable to afford to dine out.

It's what happens when you have the housing concept like a Penn South falling behind the gentrication curve.

I'm in the middle, between Penn South and High Line high rises and I just keep watching and wondering who will suffer their demise next...

schadenfreudisch said...

so what happened? apparently they made some deal with the landlord that allowed them to stay open for 5 or 6 months while they look for a new location. now they are closed. did they find a new location? jean, i need those almond croissants! let us know.

Anonymous said...

l'emmerdeur is so right-across the board. i had building w/tenents. i also lived there as well. i had people stay for years. i kept the rents mid range but not top market. sometimes lowered rents if times were bad. i did top rent & beyound during summer mouths if i had a vacancy, AND it was the right tenent. it would have been stressful for me, & damaging to the property to always be changing tenents, & having a noisy building etc. i wanted a certain type of tenent & the long term people would have felt disrupted. this worked for me! you cant knock a cash flow, & peace of mind. maybe it was not possible for the bakery to stay there. true that i am small potatoes next to these landlords, but concepts of business are the same. it would be nice if the new place invited the old clientele in during off hours. maybe the seniors could get 1/2 off for coffee. but thats douteful. no im not a socialist!

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry to see Les Desirs Pastisserie is gone. I came across it quite by accident when I worked nearby. I called Jean Pauget Il Mestro(although he didn't seem to care for it) because after I tasted his custard, I realized that is what he was-a master at baking. It is the best custard I have ever tasted and let me tell you, I've had a lot and never liked it until I had his. He told me he used real butter, cream, nothing fake and it showed. So what if it wasn't some fancy place-it didn't need to be.

Pastry is really a art form that comes naturally to some people and I am sorry I didn't quit my job and beg him to take me on as I would have been happy to slave away and learn how to make pastries. I am fortunate to have learned how to cook from a retired Italian/Greek chef who would stop by a bar where I worked but pastries are on another plane altogether.

Adieu Maestro, it truly was always a pleasure.