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Duane Park Patisserie: New York City's Hidden Bakery

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 3/9/2002 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  Downtown Manhattan is rising again after the devastation of 9/11. In addition to the cleanup and redevelopment, people who've never visited the area before are dropping by in order to better understand the tragedy and pay their respects.

Looking east on Duane and GreenwichTo the north of where the World Trade Center once stood are historic old warehouses, several of which house art dealers, restaurants, import shops, furniture stores and craftsmen.

Businesses in the area go out of their way to attract people, many of whom are wealthy professionals. Some of these businesses hang colorful banners over their doors or even fly flags announcing their existence. All make an effort to be seen, however, except the Duane Park Patisserie.

This eclectic French pastry shop (patisserie) goes out of its way not to be seen. Near the corner of Greenwich and Duane Street, it occupies an ancient cheese warehouse, which is one of many buildings built in the 1800s that supported food and produce processing for New York City.

Duane Park Patissery front doorThere is no sign or flag on the building, however. It doesn't even display its wares in a window! Instead, in the morning, a faded, barely legible sign is propped outside announcing that it's open for business.

Step inside and every breath you take will give you a coffee high. In this heightened state, you'll see pastry displayed in ancient, glass-shelved cases in a room that suggests a stable. The entire bakery production area, in fact, used to be a walk-in refrigerator!

While enjoying its sensuous aroma and contemplating the decor, your eyes will dance over trays of thin, crisp, cut out cookies, frosted (or I should say "painted") in wild colors. These are the types of cookies you may remember your grandmother making which were rarely, if ever, seen outside the family. The cookies are so jewel-like, in fact, it's a shame to eat them (but do . . .they're great and under $2 each, too!).

Look up, down and all around. The room is authentically rustic, with a real tin ceiling and extremely worn wood floors. It's furnished with curb-side finds, some needing repair. No two stools or tables are alike.

That said, see it anyway. On bright, sunny days, this neighborhood provides an interesting place to stroll. If you wish to relax, buy a strong cup of coffee from the patisserie and some bakery ($1.50 to $2.50 each), then snack on it in a nearby park.

. . . save those cookies for gifts, however, or at least bring them home so you can dazzle your family and friends before gobbling them up.

Duane Park Patisserie, 179 Duane Street, between Hudson & Greenwich, New York, NY. 212 274-8447. Check their website at www.madelines.net for their price list and more details about the business and owner, Master Baker, Madeline Lanciani.

Questions? Comments?
Karen Little

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 3/9/2002. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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