Tribeca’s Grandaisy Bakery serves up
specialty challah for Rosh Hashanah
BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Why is the artisanal Tribeca Italian
making challah, let alone
a specialty Rosh Hashanah round loaf? Do
you want it with or without raisins? And
The bakery is inspired by northern Italian
“The round Rosh Hashanah loaf
symbolizes how the year is round as well
as how life is a circle, ” says Grandaisy
bakery owner Monica Von Thun Calderó,
also suggesting that it looks like a crown.
Monica repeats what research and observant
friends tell her about traditions that
refl ect the life-affi rming holiday.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year
5781 begins sundown on September 18,
when a traditional meal, including a round
challah is often eaten.
“And the raisins are to have a sweet
year,“ Monica adds, admitting with a
broad smile that she’s heard there is great
controversy over “to raisin or not to raisin.”
So she is baking both.
“Our customers have been clamoring
for us to bake challah for years,” Monica
asserts. And, for six weeks, Grandaisy has
added Friday-only classic challah loaves to
Wearing a daisy-themed mask, founder and owner of Tribeca’s Grandaisy
Bakery shows off challah, the latest in her baked goods line.
their product line. This special shape is
just for Rosh Hashanah.
Foodies choose rich eggy challah, which
is close to brioche, when making French
toast. With biblical antecedents and an
Eastern European legacy, the intricately
braided bread is traditionally eaten during
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
the Jewish sabbath and other holiday meals.
For 14 years, Grandaisy Bakery has
been supplying New York City restaurants—
Italian and as well as many others
—with some of the City’s tastiest breads.
And, neighbors stop at the West Broadway
and Beach Street location picking up the
bakery’s signature sourdough, baguettes,
ciabatta, fl atbread and multigrain loaves
among the lineup of goods.
When New York City went on Pause,
March 16, the essential service Grandaisy
Bakery never closed!
Meanwhile, Monica saw her wholesale
business—mostly restaurants that shuttered—
drop 90%. Her workforce went
from 85 to 9. But the bakery baked on.
At the height of those isolating times,
downtown neighbors buying takeout items
got the slightest semblance of normality,
stopping there for a bread/coffee fi x, to go.
During these past fi ve months, Monica
has adopted a modus operandi: face challenges,
adapt, and persist.
With some restaurants opening, the
bakery now been able to expand its staff
to about 40% of what it had been.
“This hiatus gave us the opportunity to
explore new products like challah,” says
Monica. She adds that as the ovens cool
from the day’s bake at 500 degrees, the
cooler oven temperature is right for baking
After mixed challah dough rests overnight,
head baker Julio Guarchaj rolls 18”
logs, one-inch in diameter, and arranges
them in a crisscross pattern, getting ready
to braid the bunch.
Cuomo rails against NYU, city over college
student bash at Washington Square Park
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Hundreds of carefree college students
danced the night away at
a Washington Square Park party
over the Labor Day weekend — and it left
Governor Andrew Cuomo fuming Tuesday.
During a press briefi ng at his Midtown offi
ce, Cuomo ripped into New York University
security and city government for allowing the
Sept. 5 party at the park held among coeds
from the nearby East Village campus. In a
normal time, this wouldn’t be a problem —
but during the era of COVID-19, according
to Cuomo, it’s a demonstration of reckless
disregard for public safety.
Video circulated on social media shows
the big crowd of revelers — many of whom
not appearing to wear masks — dancing
to music provided by a DJ in the shadow
of the illuminated Washington Square Park
arch on Saturday night.
Reports about the video prompted NYU
to launch an investigation.
“We have received reports and videos
of large crowds of young people gathering
in Washington Square Park last night,
with some people not wearing masks or
distancing,” said Marc Wais, Senior Vice
President for Student Affairs at NYU, in a
Sept. 6 email to students. “As I indicated
on Sept. 3, the expectations we have set
for NYU students apply both on-campus
PHOTO BY MARK HALLUM
and off-campus. We are investigating the
circumstances from last night and any students
who have violated our expectations
will be subject to disciplinary action.”
But on Tuesday, an apoplectic Cuomo
lashed out at NYU’s security team and the
NYPD for not doing anything to break up
the party. He also critiqued the partygoers
for putting others and themselves at risk of
potentially contracting COVID-19, pointing
to a high number of outbreaks at college
campus across America at the start of the
new fall semester.
“Frankly, NYU security didn’t do anything
about it. The local police didn’t do
anything about it,” Cuomo said. “What do
you think is going to happen? You know
we’re closing colleges all across the state.
… We’re New York tough, but that is
not tough. That is not tough by the NYU
administrators, who as soon as they heard
about it, should’ve stopped it. It’s not tough
by the New York City enforcement. They
saw the large gathering, the violation of
social distancing, and it wasn’t smart.”
The governor noted that he previously
talked with college students about changes to
campus life during the COVID-19 pandemic,
and received feedback about the diffi culty
of enforcing regulations that prohibit large
congregations. Cuomo said he doesn’t mind
taking the blame for being a buzzkill if it
means stopping the spread of coronavirus.
“I say to them, do it in my name. Go to
Washington Square Park, get a megaphone
and say, ‘Governor Cuomo orders you all
to disburse immediately,’” Cuomo said.
“Blame me. I’ve said that from day one.”
4 Sept. 10, 2020 Schneps Media