There's a new tenant coming to the former First Avenue Pierogi and Deli at 130 First Ave. near St. Mark's Place.
As you can see, signs are up for Sweet Generation, a bakery that recently raised $27,000 in an Indiegogo campaign that ended on Friday to help build out the space.
Owner Amy Chasan is a former high school arts teacher who quit her job to open the made-to-order cookie and cupcake business … first from her home kitchen then to a shared commercial space.
Here's more about Sweet Generation via Indiegogo:
Before starting Sweet Generation, I dedicated my career to Arts education. I first taught Art in 2004 at an alternative high school that was a last resort for teens — there I witnessed the dramatic and profound transformation that my students experienced when nothing else had worked for them. They gained confidence, developed a stronger sense of self, and assumed greater responsibility for their own success. I spent 8 years running Arts programs and then worked with the City of New York to expand and improve Arts programs in low-income communities.
The problem is the negative impact that funding cuts have on the quality and availability of the Arts to children. In fact, government funding for the arts has decreased by 31% since 1992! I noticed that organizations tried to bridge the gap through bake sales and community events, but the ones that needed it most could not make up the loss.
At the same time, I returned to my lifelong love of baking as a personal creative outlet and before I knew it, I was being hired to cater weddings, art openings and corporate parties. Demand grew to the point that I was baking all night, going to work in the morning, running out to do a delivery on my lunch break, and then starting all over again… and that’s when I came up with the idea for Sweet Generation, a bakery that removes barriers between children and art.
Sweet Generation not only funds Arts education for youth, but engages young people in the business itself. A portion of Sweet Generation’s sales are donated to Arts organizations, and we support their fundraising efforts through in-kind donations of our baked goods. We also started an internship program that teaches baking, work readiness, and entrepreneurship to teens and young adults from low-income communities.
Some of the organizations that Sweet Generation supports are: Theater for a New Audience, Arlington Center for the Arts, Children’s Museum of the Arts, Citizen Schools, Urban Arts Partnership, The After School Corporation (TASC), Precious Dreams Foundation and the Hip-Hop Re:Education Project.
In 2013, the Voice named Sweet Generation the "Best Cupcake" in NYC.
After 30 years here, proprietor Wieslawa Kurowycky and her family decided to retire and close First Avenue Pierogi and Deli in early July.
Previously on EV Grieve:
After 30 years, First Avenue Pierogi and Deli is closing