11 August 2011

New York's Oldest Bialy Bakery to Close

The Forward reports that Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, which purports to be the oldest bialy store in New York, will close its doors after 91 years in business.

Quite frankly, this news surprised me. I had always assumed that Kossar's on the Lower East Side was the city's oldest bialy store. But Coney Island Bialys says it began in 1920, and Kossar's opened in 1927. (Of courese, Kossar's still claims to be the oldest. Such is the way in New York City.)

Owner Stephen Ross blames the recession for the closure.

According to their website, "Coney Island Bialy Bakers Co., Inc. was started in 1920 by Grandpa Morris Rosenzweig. Grandpa Morris and his brothers immigrated to the United States from Bialystock, Poland, and brought with them their knowledge of a local soft yeast bread known as Bialystoker Kuchens. Kuchen is the German word for cake. The original business was started in a basement in Coney Island, and that is where the Coney Island Bialy Bakery was born. In 1954, Morris moved the bakery to 2359 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY and opened the first retail bialy bakery." I would guess this is where Kossar's would make their claim, discounting the pushcart years as immaterial.

The business has been run by the same family for four generations.


Mitch said...

Have you ever tried the bagels? Do you know when they're closing? Is it worth a trip out there this weekend to have some?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I've never tried them. They won't close until the High Holy days, so we have some time to get there.

Extended Stay said...

Wow. I long ago left the neighborhood, but always remember in the mid-1960s my father driving us there late in the evening to pick up hot out of the oven bialys and onion boards. Few made it to morning, as we'd get out the butter and have them right then. I regret I didn't know they were still there and could have gone back for some.

Greek Girl from Queens said...

This is truly very sad news. I've been to Coney Island Bialys a few times when I was a young kid, with my dad, as well as Kossar's, and one other that was closer to where I lived yeras ago, in Bayside on Bell. Blvd., and all three made gorgeous, beautiful, delicious bialys (and bagels too, of course).

It's very upsetting to me that this is happening everywhere...big corporations and soulless superstores are overtaking, if not destroying these wonderful and very special and culturally significant shops, cafes, bakeries and the like.

What Bloomberg is doing to Coney Island in itself is a disgrace, and now this sad news.

I'm so, so sorry to see this great bagel and bialy shop close. I wish Mr. Ross all the best for the future, but more than that, I sincerely wish there were some way he could keep Coney Island Bialys and Bagels open.

JO said...

somehow I doubt it's the recession that's taking away business from them... unless what they mean is that there are higher rents.