01 November 2007

Lafayette, It Is Here!

There used to be a French bakery called Lafayette on Bleecker Street near Seventh. It was there in plain every time you emerged from the 1 train at Christopher Street. For whatever reason, it epitomized Greenwich Village for me, and I was upset when, roughly ten years ago, it disappeared and was replaced by a Burritoville. Looking back, it's removal was one of the seminal events that made me realize the City was changing, and not for the better.

For years afterward, I'd mourn the loss every time I passed by that Burritoville. I naturally assumed it was gone forever. I shouldn't have. Yesterday, while passing down Greenwich Avenue looking for a place to buy some Halloween cookies to hand out to the kiddies, I entered a bakery I had never patronized before. I bought some pumpkin-shaped goodies and admired the ancient scale as the man behind the counter weighed my purchase. The place looked old. How old? 80 years, said the garrulous guy serving me. It's a family business. His grandfather started it. Then he went into this long, convoluted story about the unreasonable demands of his erstwhile landlords and how he was happier in the new location.

And I suddenly realized: this was the Lafayette Bakery that was once on Bleeker. It hadn't perished from the earth. It had relocated. Sometimes New York has pleasant surprises tucked up its otherwise dark and terrifying sleeve.


Barbara L. Hanson said...

Bleecker not Bleeker. A mistake many non-natives make.

Barbara L. Hanson said...

There wasn't that big a gap between the closing and reopening on Greenwich, but it was an enormous relief. Lafayette is one of the few places left in the city that makes Brooklyn-style (not French) Charlotte russes. I was told there that they are popular at Oscar parties, which I am still trying to figure out. Link is to a picture I took of Charlotte Russes in the Lafayette window a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

I am VERY happy to see that this wonderful bakery has found a new home. This bakery was one of my earliest discoveries when I moved to New York from Louisiana 24 years ago. And, I too was heartbroken when it closed ... had that exact same feeling when passing by the guacamolean replacement.

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