Wednesday, October 23, 2013

D'Auito's Bakery


After nearly 80 years in business, the home of Baby Watson cheesecakes, D'Auito's bakery has closed. Lost City had the news this summer, but we'd also heard it was closed for renovations and would reopen. It hasn't.

When the building went up for sale a couple years ago, it looked like the end. But it kept going, sold to a man named Patel. He told Capital New York at the time, “We wanted the building for its location. New York is growing. Things are moving to 8th Avenue. The Post Office is going to turn into Amtrak, and 6th and 7th Avenues are already packed, so where do you think everyone will go, yeah?”

Patel promised the long-time owner he would keep the business in place, even though “I’d never heard of Baby Watson before." He hoped to make it a family business with his son.

I took these photos last October when rumors were swirling of the bakery's demise. The Halloween and fall decorations could trick you into thinking they're current, but they're not.

I'm not one for cheesecake, but I liked going in for cookies after getting off the train at Penn Station, or if I was just walking by.

And I liked the cluttered beauty of the bakery's facade--the neon signs, the faded photo of the naked baby, the odd angles, and multiple typefaces. It was an interesting place for the eyes to land.

Whatever comes next is unlikely to be so.


Anonymous said...

At this point we're running on fumes of the old REAL New York. What's coming in now has nothing to do with that. Never thought you'd be saying 'I wanna leave this town'? Yeah...that's what I though too.

Anonymous said...

Um, this morning WNYC ran a "tech talk" about a Noho coffee place that employ high tech procedures just to brew coffee.

We simply cannot expect an 'umble bakery, like 9th Street or this one, to survive with their 'umble baked goods and 'umble coffee?

Not precious enough...

maximum bob said...

The place was a classic, like Eisenberg's sandwich shop.
A portal into another time and dimension. Gone.

laura r. said...

small business are closing in london as well. guess its all chainstores, strangers, bad food, ugly logos. the rights of the indivual is over. big govt, big corps, big chains.

Unknown said...

The quality had gone down hill and the prices had increased dramatically and was of very mediocre quality. It deserved to go.

Dave - everywhere said...

Used to be a customer many, many years ago (my grandparents were distantly related to the D'Aiutos as only Italians can be)and on trips into the city from the 'burbs we always had to get a treat for Nonna. Sadly, as the older generation died off and Mario had his health issues, the baked goods werent as good and I'm surprised that they were even able to sell the store, given the neighborhood and the declining old-time Italian presence in the city.

Sinestra said...

To Laura- Not surprised London is having the same problem, since Bloomberg is obsessed with being London (ugly out-of-place new glass buildings, trite Ferris Wheel, regressive congestion pricing, hyper gentrification pushing out the working people for bankers 1%'ers and transients)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It all seems a bit much to me.

Businesses have been coming and going in New York since it was New Amsterdam.

Why is that such a tragedy?

Businesses that can pay the most rent stay, those that can't go. Yeah, and? Since when is a landlord, or the City as a whole, obligated to keep certain stores which certain individuals purport to have some sort of emotional attachment to, open? And often enough, these comments are prefaced by "I don't shop there, but..." or "I lived in that neighborhood ten years ago, and used to shop there..." and so on. The city must be frozen in time, because, otherwise, a former resident won't like it? Or because someone "objects" to the "loss" of a business he doesn't even patronize?

If we were talking about landmark buildings or public spaces that would be one thing, but a hardware store, a bakery, a restaurant, a whatever? These are not somehow part of some changeless NYC that must be preserved for all time.

And the funny thing is that the so called "old REAL New York," in virtually every, single case, involves something that displaced something else. Today's coffee shop was yesterdays' deli and the day before yesterday's "chop house," and the day before that's butcher shop and the day before that's slaughterhouse and the day before that's pasture and the day before that's vacant lot where kids used to playa and the day before that's Native American cemetery. Which is the "real" New York?

Again, preservation is a fine thing. Great buildings and public spaces need to be maintained. New development should be made to fit into the city landscape, not slice into it Robert Moses meat cleaver style. Not all changes are for the good.

But simply bitching and moaning over every "lost" business is, I think, ridiculous and self indulgent. The world, and the city, is not your playpen, where, once you have everything arranged to your satisfaction, things can and should never change.