Friday, January 18, 2013

Reader report: 9th St. Bakery is closing after 87 years

[May 2012]

Ugh. EVG reader Dave M. from 13th St. passes along this sad bit of news today: 9th St. Bakery, which has been around since 1926, will have to close. Oleg, who has owned the bakery with his wife Tetyana since the 1990s, said that the landlord is doubling his current rent. This, along with a barely-break-even summer, is forcing them to close.

[Via Manhattan Sideways]

There's not timetable yet for the closure — mostly likely in the next 2-4 months.

Per the bakery's website:


Max and Lena Wolkirmerski emigrated to the United States in 1913 from Zetel Belarus. They opened up a bakery on the corner of Allen and Stanton. Their children Joe, Harry and Helen moved the bakery to 9th and first ave where it still remains today.

Per Dave: "No more cheap, good pastries and bread. Such a shame."

And a tough time for the older bakeries. Aside from 9th St., Something Sweet on First Avenue and East 11th Street remains closed from last summer ... and Whole Earth Bakery on St. Mark's Place shuttered at the end of December.

59 comments:

Jessie Gray said...

Noooooooooooooo!! Awful, just terribly sad. I shop there once or twice a week and their bread is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Quote "No more cheap, good pastries and bread. Such a shame."

Of course the reaction here will be to the "ruination of the East Village" but perhaps, the love of "cheap bread" is a bit to blame for a "barely break even summer." Can't have your cheap bread in the "real" East Village and eat it too.

Jeremiah Moss said...

damn.

and the assholes of Yelp don't help.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/nine-street-bakery-new-york

Roxanne Wolanczyk said...

Thanks for the old photo. I grew up on their cheesecake. So sad.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

When I was a kid my mother used to stop by for bread and he used to have a slicing machine, giving me an end slices of a loaf. I was very happy nibbling it. Sad, very sad but I guess that's progress, constant change. I hate progress, Grrr...

Anonymous said...

Where is the NO 7-11 Brigade when we need them ?

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah is right about YELP. It is a disgusting madhouse full of idiotic yoga bitches who can't even spell.

And who don't eat so they can stay a size zero. Heaven forbid.

Perhaps we can have another cutsie cupcake and sushi takeout joint or whatever. I can't wait to leave the hot mess that the EV has become. Now it's really over.

nygrump said...

Aonymous 2:52, you are right, we need to serve our masters, the owners, and make sure they continue to accrue massive profits while they perpetrate genocide. I remind you, genocide is not simply mass murder, but destruction of a culture.

Janko said...

Oh no, not them. Please! Is there nothing we can do to stop this commercial rent madness and the progressing sevenelevenification of this neighborhood? I am just reading Mort Zachter's "Dough", and where in the world would we get a good, sugarfree six grain? Certainly not at the Bean or elsewhere closeby. Thanks, you yelping and ever complaining idiots who level everything flat and down with your thoughtless broadcasting and shopping behavior- or should I say attitude?

Dr Gecko said...

The current owners bought the place from Joe, Harry, and Helen, so it's not *exactly* the place it used to be. But, yeah, this hurts.

Dr Gecko said...

Oh, P.S., you can still get cheap bread and pastries at Moishe's on 2nd Ave. They're a relative newcomer, and the stuff isn't as good, though.

Landlords are parasites.

Anonymous said...

..and another piece of the real East Village bites the dust.

To anon 2:52

"Cheap", unlike your comment, doesn't mean bad quality in the context here. This bakery did just fine in those terms. The word 'cheap' here is being used in relative terms as in 'not overpriced'. As in not catering to entitled 20-somethings that care more about what appears 'exclusive' and could give a crap about anything of substance. Do you always fall for the high-price=quality BS?

This is a good example of the difference between the generations. When I moved to the East Village 20 years ago, when I was still in MY 20s, I wouldn't have wanted a place like this to disappear. Now? The twenty-five hundred per month, rent paying Gen-Y robots could care less. Being young now seems like such an empty experience.

Anonymous said...

I always felt so connected to my grandfather at places like this, that reek of Old Country. The black bread here, and the rye - these were out of this world. Peasant food in NY is vanishing, being replaced by that execrable Eataly, etc. But, as ever, NY is about the money!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to Something Sweet on First Avenue and East 11th Street? The owner Katchi (sp.?) was so nice, hope she's well.

Anonymous said...

so the bakery has been around since the 20s but th eowners have only owned it since th e90s. That tells me its only been around since the 90s.

~evilsugar25 said...

@Anon 2:52 "cheap" as in affordable, not "cheap" as in low quality. you know not what you speak of.

This sucks ass. These guys were a little family-run business on my old block and I went there regularly. These kinds of places can't compete anymore in the "luxury brand" that is NYC. So sad.

~evilsugar25 said...

An interesting side-note to this whole thing is the wider point about Yelp. It's absolutely valid. Anyone can hope on and complain about any place at any time. Although I've heard from Tompkins Sq Bagels that good reviews are actually REMOVED (I left a few different great reviews of TSP that have yet to see the light of day) unless you play ball with them. Anyone got the dirt on Yelp.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I shared the story with my brother who e-mailed back: You don't remember the cat that lived there?

Father and/or mother told us a story about that cat. He was laying on top of a big loaf of bread and when another customer came in, the cat got up and ran away. That customer, not having seen the cat, touched the top of the loaf of bread and felt that it was warm and commented:

" this bread is so fresh that it's still warm from the oven. I'll take it".

Anonymous said...

Read "Dough" http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/books/review/Mendelson-t-1.html?_r=0
For more history on this store!

Gojira said...

Oh, this really sucks wind. I used to be addicted to their corn muffins in the 1980s - big, greasy Conestoga wagon wheels of maizy goodness that came out of those cardboard boxes you see piled in the windows in the older shot. Took 'em home, smeared 'em with butter, and there was nothing more delicious on earth at that moment.

Oh and snide little Anons. 2:52 and 3:35 - stick it where the monkey puts the nuts.

blue glass said...

this might be a good time to try and organize something bigger then protesting the closing of one long-time shop at a time.
there is residential rent control.
why not commercial rent control.
ruth messinger used to be a big part of that failed movement. gail brewer has the history.
the city council could start the ball rolling.
our mayor has made this a city for the rich and the tourists who don't give a damn about what really makes new york.
TIME TO SPEAK OUT, join the 11th street folks, start a movement!

Anonymous said...

@4:13pm - There is an algorithm used on Yelp to make sure a proportionate amount of negative and positive reviews are left (to avoid an owner, for example, leaving a multitude of rave reviews or one disgruntled customer leaving 10 negative ones). This results in not only negative reviews being removed, but also positive ones, but ultimately Yelp prides themselves on displaying an accurate cross-section of the total reviews received on any one location.

BabyDave said...

Great story, Mick. Yet another reason to hold this shop dear.

Kawasaki Jones said...

Blue Glass has it right ^. ACTIONS>words.

What are the chances that whatever "replaces" the bakery is remembered 80 years hence? Zilch, zero, nada.

Dave M, thanks for the lead on this.

C'mon East Villagers! It's not too late in the game to rally!

KJ

Anonymous said...

I will miss the 9th Street Bakery with all my heart. I've been a customer there, probably since the '70s, when most real bakeries in NYC started to close down because of the increasing costs of doing business. In fact, the 9th Street Bakery wasn't a bakery at all for the last 40+ years that I knew it, but rather it was a "drop store" with all of it's merchandise being delivered from the orthodox Jewish sections of Brooklyn. I remember the breads being brought into the store, still fresh from those Brooklyn ovens. Today, Oleg still brings the bread and cake in every early morning from the bakeries.

I knew that The Bean would kill their modest business.

Moishes is not as inexpensive, but pretty good.

I guess the decrease in sugar and carbs will be better for my health, but THIS TOTALLY SUCKS, and I'm not driving to Williamsburgh for a slice of cake.

God bless you East Village, it was great while it lasted.



Anonymous said...

@Blue glass-Jane Jacobs would be disappointed in our complacently. I am with you!

marc kehoe said...

NO! NO!
what terrible, terrible news. BREAD where will I get BREAD?

BT said...

(a "me, too" for liking Moishe's stuff. I'm headed there on Sunday)

Interesting comment/thought about The Bean. I wonder what the guys in the store think about The Bean. Obviously you can have coffee and sit (and read your iPhone, iPad, iMac, apparently) at The Bean. So those are pluses for some people. And they have pastry-ish things. (Likely not the same things as 9th street bakery, but some cross-over).

Video killed the radio star?

LvV said...

"[Yelp] is a disgusting madhouse full of idiotic yoga bitches who can't even spell."

Anon 3:35, this is poetry.

I'm very sad at the news. Good bakeries are important. When I was a kid, my mom took me on excursions to bakeries 3 towns away because they were better than what was in ours. It's bad enough that like 80% of people in this city have no idea what a real bagel is.

At least we know DeRobertis is safe. RIP, 9th Street.

Anonymous said...

Cash Mob !
Tomorrow all day !
Shop till you drop !

Patricia Kennealy Morrison said...

NOOOOOOO!!!!! This cannot be. I have been going at least twice a week to that bakery ever since I moved to the EV in 1968. I took my parents there: my late dad loved the black pumpernickel. I took my late husband there: he thought it was the coolest place ever (he was pretty cool himself; sang for this band called the Doors), and he loved those giant cinnamon raisin babkas that looked like chef's toques. And I swear in their names and my own, and on my love of carbs, that I will never ever EVER set foot in whatever Yelpish yuppoid cesspit of scum and greedy landlord villainy sets festering root there in its place. In the remaining days of sadness, I intend to eat as many turnovers, chocolate horns and chocolate babkas as I can.

Anonymous said...

A blue grass, its way too late to turn back now, with Boomberg's gated community,he has seen his dream fulfilled.listen, Its been over a long time in NYC.The writing was on the wall 10 years ago when there was the mass exodus of all the everyday cool people that once lived here.So why is this bakery such a shock,just another brick and morter/mom and pop to fall.But,what do you expect, Guiliani twice & Blookberg three times voted in,whos to blame???

pennys herb co {bethlehem house of bread bakery said...

way back
i knew joe n his brother
they were very special!!!!!
very very ole school!
they never forgot a face.
there ole station wagon always double parked in frint of there bakery.
the roof always had grey boxs stacked high.
joe n your brther i will never forget you n the great sell of your place.

miss ya!!!!!!!!

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

In the last 15 years, First Ave from Houston to 14th St has lost 3 butcher shops, (at 13th St, Kurowycky's and the one a block or 2 north of that, 2 fish mongers, a host of Italian delis (Cheeses of the World, the one at 13th, Pasta place, and others I'm forgetting) and now the 9th St bakery, just off First. I cook at home, so these were all places we regularly shopped.

There are 2 reasons for this: insane rents and lack of demand. Most people nowadays do not cook for themselves (or even know how to), or if they do, it's mostly stuff gotten from a supermarket. The former owner of Kurowycky's just gave up. Now he is managing a major chain store in NYC (please maintain the guy's privacy if you know where) and I don't blame him one bit. I'm glad to see that one of his former guys made it over to East Village Meats on Second Ave.

Thanks to all the Indian restaurants, we still have Dowel (now Dual) spices bet 5th and 6th, and we have the various local Green Markets (bakers there too, btw), but otherwise life is getting tougher for people in the EV who cook and eat at home.

Uncle Waltie said...

"NO! NO!
what terrible, terrible news. BREAD where will I get BREAD?"

Just noticed a couple of days ago that an Italian Bakery (mostly bread, I believe) opened up 2 doors west of the 9th Precinct on 5th Street (between 1st and 2nd). They bake on the premises, you can look in through the window. God, dose it smell good.

Anonymous said...

and the assholes of Yelp don't help.

They're assholes because they got poor service/quality and wrote about it?

I don't see anything there which looks like a hatchet job or was written by a complete moron. Should the place get a pass because it's 90 years old?

Moreover, I sincerely doubt the two or three less-than-glowing reviews on that site have caused this place's demise.

blue glass said...

it might be too late to do anything to save the 9th street bakery - but if nothing is done to organize the neighborhood then it is too late for all of us.
if everyone that speaks out about the loss of a small business got together NOW it would be a great start at saving what's left.
if not it will really be too late.
i think joining with the folks on 11th street protesting the 7-11 is a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

It's not just 9th St. Bakery that the y.b.'s of YELP are destroying. Their narci-rants are taking down everything that ever was in favor of these ultra precious nonsense joints. But wait: the yo-fro that took over the shoe repair across from St. Mark's Church has left already. Perhaps there are enough of "us" who cook at home, don't have unlimited $ to spend, and actually like having a personal relationship with those businesses we visit still have some influence...nah.

Anonymous said...

blue grass--
You are so right! Where is everybody? Fortunately--there are groups who have been fighting Bloomer for years. But they need more of us. Please look up the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP.org) and find your niche.

Time to come out of numbness.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Some commenters are missing the boat.

It's not just high rents that are driving out small business. It is also lack of demand. Even at the old rent, 9th Street Bakery only had a break-even summer. The guy who owned Kurowycky's owns the building and he couldn't make a go of it, except around the holidays.

Yes, it is a good (absolutely essential IMO) idea to institute changes like San Fransisco has to regulate chain stores. One hopeful side-effect could be lower rents but that's not necessarily a given. Restoring home rule to NYC would also probably help. But the sad fact is that changing lifestyles mean that even then the EV would likely have a tough time supporting fruit stands, butchers, and bakers. Hey, if I were a shoe repair guy, I wouldn't consider opening a place in the EV either, even with a low rent. But the 9th St boutique model would probably flourish, like it used to and like the small clothing and jewelry stores on Elizabeth St did when rents were somewhat cheaper in the 1980s and 90s.

This is all part of a trend that probably began around 30 years ago and seems to be accelerating. Don't know how to reverse it unless there's some kind of dramatic reversal of the American lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

BTW, the "new" Italian bakery on 5th Street is going out of business on the 21st of this month... just passed by there this afternoon.

Nice little place, seems a shame.

Can't imagine what happened -- how long have they been open?!

LvV said...

I have to agree with Ken and his assumably well-used Kitchen. Most people just do not cook much any more. When I first moved into the neighborhood, I was able to get fresh produce, fresh tofu, flowers, nuts, seeds, miso paste, everything within a 2-block radius. These days I have to go to a traditional grocery store for half the things I need (I don't complain about Associated but there's a lot they don't carry), fruit carts for the rest (thank god for fruit carts), 18th St. for flowers, and M2M for miso and stuff -- I'm not complaining, really, I like all these places, but it takes effort. Because the small Asian grocery on 14th that had EVERYTHING is long gone (now it's that stupid A Building, although I may be misremembering the exact spot), and Stuyvesant Grocery is gone (I know they're back, but in much, much smaller form), yet we have eight million $1 pizza places, effing burger joints, alcoholic baked goods, and now sellers of plastic nonfood like 7-Eleven. As someone who still cooks/prepares almost all of my food, I definitely feel outnumbered.

Also always nice to see Patricia Kennealy Morrison commenting, I sometimes see you in the neighborhood and want to say hi, but you don't know me, ha ha!

Anonymous said...

So sad, I've been going there once a week for twenty years. My kids were raised on their bagels and cheesecake.

Gojira said...

@LvV -I thought I was the only one who missed the grocers that used to be where the A Building is. Glad to know I am not. Anyone remember Pete's Spice, where a revolving series of tapas joints lives now, on First Ave. between 10th and 11th? Lost to rent increases long ago, but still a fond memory for me.

Anonymous said...

@LvV - For fruits and vegetables it's the farmers market and Commodities. I now sometimes Commodities can be a little expensive or erratic, but they are pretty much all we have for organic, quality vegetables. And of course I want them to stay open. For flowers the best is Sunny on 2nd and 6th street, maybe I shouldn't say that as she will now be flooded, but she is the best. For Italian specialty there is of course Russo's and for sweets DiRoberta's or Black Hound. For booze the best is East Village Liquor on 1st Ave and 9th or so. Please buy your booze and wine there as the owner used to work at the place and then took it over and is the nicest guy in the hood. He says he is not seeing as much business as he was before Sandy, so . . .

LvV said...

Gojira, I loved that place. When I first moved here, I would stop there almost every night. Do you remember Home's Kitchen? It was somewhere along the Blarney Stone/Rainbow/Bargain Bazaar way on 14th ... they had cheap but amazing Chinese takeout, and would do every single dish on the menu traditional, or with tofu/soy meat. I still dream of their deep-fried tofu in orange sauce ...

Anon 5:13, Commodities is just OK. I find some of their staff a little unfriendly and can get good produce elsewhere. I prefer the wonderful Natural Green Market on 3rd/16th, going there for 13 years now. 18th/1st deli has beautiful flowers, I'm all good there even if it's a few blocks. And I don't drink, but I hope others take your recommendation.

Roger said...

Another nail in the coffin of Manhattan's nearly-gone cultural relevance. Screw it - leave it to the vapid corporate douches and go discover the amazing outer boroughs!

Matthew has 2 T's, dumbass said...

if all you morons would stop shopping at Trader Joes places like this would stay open so put your money where your mouth is

Gojira said...

@LvV- I do remember Home's Kitchen, ate there regularly, but never had the tofu in orange sauce, don't think I was clued in to tofu at that point. Sounds damn delicious now, wish I had the chance to try it. Sigh.

blue glass said...

pete's spice sold their store to folks that were put out of business by commodities who had pretty low prices when they opened - until pete's closed.

it is not always the outrageous rents that force businesses to close (although this is the major cause these days) - running a small business takes an extraordinary amount of work and as the owners age there are not always family members that want to take over.

Jill said...

Lvv--better place for all things Asian than M&M is Sunrise Mart 2nd floor on 9th & 3rd by st marks bookstore.

LVV said...

@Gojira, it was like crispy, airy, chewy blocks of tofu, covered in this spicy-sweet orange sauce ... (food reverie)

I mean, I am a tofu nut and I have never found anything as good* as what Home's did with the stuff. And their lunch specials were like 5 bucks, and they were so, so nice.

Matthew w/ 2 Ts, "all you morons" -- I know you're not new here so you know that most of us are not exactly TJ zombies, right?

* exception: crack-addictive deep-fried taro root/tofu at Thai Angel on Grand, but that's a bit out of my way

Gojira said...

@LvV, yum, sounds superb. It won't be the same, but here's a link to a number of fried tofu in orange sauce recipes. I plan to try some!

https://www.google.com/search?q=fried+tofu+in+orange+sauce&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

LvV said...

Jill, Sunrise may be great but it's even more out of my way. My point was that the neighborhood has changed so much, what I used to be able to buy almost entirely on 14th I now have to go all over the place for.

Thanks, Gojira!

John M said...

Ah, shit. There go my cinnamon rolls.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

That's sad. Would always get bread here, & eggs at the store on Seventh. I'm always happy (& a bit amazed) that the GI deli is still around, given all the other changes.

Anonymous said...

i bought bread and babka and bialys at the bakery back when the two gentlemen ran it. yeah, everyone knew it was day old bread, but so what? they had great prices. and, if you buy fresh bread today, and take it home, what is it tomorrow? i loved buying a loaf just so they could slice it for me. that machine and the sound - mmm!!! the boxes all around, the two guys in their rag-a-tag sweaters, the look and feel of worn out, of a place that was from another time - you could feel it. if you just looked in as you passed by, it was unwelcoming. but once you went in, you were hooked!

once the place was renovated, it lost that charm, for me...

I-)

Ted Roden said...

Oh man. This is terrible news. Love that place.

glamma said...

1. Absolutely awful news.
2. WHO IS THE LANDLORD.
3. Do the 11th st people have a FB or email group??? We all need to join it.
Now.
4. Someone should at least print out all these comments and give them to the nice people at the bakery!