EAST SIDE OBSERVER
BY ARLENE KAYATT
Black and white, but no cookie — Another-fare-thee well to an UES institution, this time the venerable Glaser’s Bakery, serving bread and cake and doughy and yeasty favorites for over a century. Names like Glaser no longer have the generational wherewithal of, let’s say, a Lemle, a Litwin or a Friedland when it comes to the UES. The latter two are real estate families and the buildings they own will live on and on and on and see other generations carry on the family business even if it misses a generation or two. Not so with retailers like the Glasers. After 116 years, the third generation of the Glaser family is tossing in the towel and saying sayonora to its little shop on First Ave between 87th and 88th Streets come July 1. Quite honestly, I don’t know why they’re leaving — could be the economy, online shopping, evolving eating habits, packaged cakes, breads, cookies. Could be any one or all or none of the above. Don’t know. What I do know is that another piece of the world we’ve known will be no more — and that diminishes and saddens. I have no doubt that in the foreseeable future the smells and memories of Glaser’s will be supplanted by a gym, or a boxing or SoulCycle venue, an ATM. Maybe a high-rise lobby when the buildings on the block are assembled and torn down. Rest assured, a new occupant of the Glaser’s space won’t offer up a retail business like a bakery, or a shoe repair shop (most sneakers will never see a cobbler’s tool or need a shoeshine. A stiletto may be another story. But not enough to pay the rent.) Or a dry cleaner? Doubtful. They’ve largely been taken over by valet services in lobbies of high-rises, by corporate entities and pick-up services. The new retail seems to be barber shops and dry bars and fast-food franchises. Plus the wave of the future is likely to be personal service retailers. One on one. Quick. No chit chat. No “how’s the family? How’s business?” Nobody wants to talk to a retailer about that. That’s old world. Today is about getting in, getting out. The here, the now. Not about yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after. Or “How ya doing?” Just moving right along.
No wedding or other plans — The Manhattan GOP Harlem Republican Club in West Harlem was celebrating Black History Month and gearing up for the upcoming elections with remarks by Lynne Patton, HUD regional director, and speeches by several candidates seeking election in upcoming primaries and/or elections. If the turnout at the recent rainy Sunday is any indicator, Manhattan GOPers are raring to go. Patton, who was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, came out strong against the press for describing her as a wedding planner when she was never a wedding planner. Too bad Patton didn’t take the opportunity to address some HUD issues that affect blacks and the general population. She did bullet-point what she considers Trump’s achievements in the first year of his presidency. Most of her speech emphasized her undeserved bad press in being mischaracterized as a wedding planner. But she’s not running for anything. Those who are running for office were lawyer and businessman Joseph Holland, a candidate for governor, and Jineea Butler, who will be opposing Congressman Adriano Espaillat, who took the Rangel seat in 2016. Holland and Butler made a pitch for voter turnout. Republicans haven’t had a presence in elective office on the UES or in other parts of Manhattan in years. Manhattan Republicans are geared up to change that. Time will tell.
A classy bar and a popover — Right midblock on 57th Street between Park and Lexington is BLT Steak, known for fine dining and a nice end-of-day spot for a drink. No happy hour prices — but the greatest treat, literally, is the popover that’s served with drinks. It’s a huge creation filled with oozy gruyère cheese, served warm. And then there’s the duck liver mousse covered with port wine aspic. Both to die for. You won’t want to leave even if it’s for a BLT steak. When you do leave, the bartender will hand you a recipe gift card with instructions for making the popover. Nice, but I’ll be back for the pastry chef’s version.