City Bakery has announced that their SoHo Birdbath Green Bakery has permanently closed.
When Birdbath first moved into the space at 160 Prince Street, they kept the iconic green storefront from the former Vesuvio’s bakery that had already been there since 1920. However, with the closing of Birdbath it is unclear what will happen to local landmark.
On closing day the shop put out a sign on their door which read: “Alas, our lease is up and our time in this magical place has come to an end. A heavy-hearted moment. Thanks to everyone who came, enjoyed and was part of something so incredibly special. Please read more on our Instagram @citybakerydaily, Thank You.”
Baker and Founder of City Bakery, Maury Rubin, took to the shop’s Instagram account to say a much longer goodbye stating:
“Today is our last day of business at 160 Prince Street, better known as Vesuvio Bakery. We moved in in 2009, after Vesuvio’s sat empty after the death of Anthony Dapolito, the 2nd generation of the family that created Vesuvio’s in 1920.
I remember the morning we opened like it was yesterday. I remember setting the counter for the first time. Placing the mini Statue of Liberty in the window and surrounding her with cookies. I remember the first customers in the door, and telling them that that’s who they were. Now, close my eyes, count to 2019, and it’s the end of the lease. Ten years or ten seconds? For a baker who loves bakeries, being given the keys to Vesuvio’s was a precious gift, like a violin player handed a Stradivarius – not just to hold – but to play. There are few places like Vesuvio’s left in New York, a sad, diminishing reality. To a bakery lover, it’s an heirloom. To a New York lover, it’s history.
We had ten special years behind that storefront. We kept the facade exactly as time delivered it, but ran a business called Birdbath Green Bakery inside.
I always felt this was the perfect evolutionary handoff: last century baking yielding to a new generation. In material terms, Semolina Bread and Pepper Biscuits turned to Pretzel Croissant and Rice Milk Muffins with Red Beans & Ginger. So many people embraced what we did, and not just the food. Over the years, I’ve been thanked by dozens of people for keeping the storefront untouched, a compliment that settles in my heart. Same time, have to admit that that was no grand decision: I simply wasn’t going to be the schmendrick who desecrated a city landmark. I want to offer gratitude to everyone who contributed to our time in Soho. All the staff and all the customers. The Korn family, who cared about culture and legacy. In these days of “retail apocalypse,” we ran an old-fashioned neighborhood bakery. We knew each other’s names and felt part of a continuum. It was neighborhood, community and friendship. Vesuvio Bakery is magical, and I’m grateful I got to swim in that magic.”
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Hopefully whoever takes the space next will keep this little slice of SoHo history and incorporate the iconic storefront in a similar way that Birdbath did.
featured image source: Beyond My Ken [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Also published on Medium.