Bakery in old Vesuvio spot closes on Prince
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
Birdbath Green Bakery on Prince St., which kept the original storefront
and canopy from Vesuvio Bakery, closed on Aug. 9.
Sts., was renamed Vesuvio Playground
in the 1990s in honor of Dapolito. A
Parks Department policy did not allow
it to be named for a living person, so it
was named after his bakery. In 2004,
the nearby recreation center at Carmine
St. and Seventh Ave. South was
named after him.
Like only a few other Village spots,
the bakery still was using a coal-burning
oven during Dapolito’s days.
Rubin added in his Instagram post,
“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… 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 Muffi
ns with Red Beans & Ginger.”
Rubin noted that many people had
thanked him for not changing the
place’s exterior, “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.”
Rubin ended his post by writing, “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.”
The 160 Prince St. location is in the
Sullivan-Thompson Historic District,
which was approved in 2016 after a 10-
year campaign, noted Andrew Berman,
executive director of Village Preservation.
Berman said that the Landmarks
Preservation Commission’s designation
report for the historic district mentions
the Vesuvio Bakery storefront, and how
intact it is. The report also notes that
the building was built in 1904.
“We fought very hard to ensure that
the landmark designation for this district
acknowledged and protected these
kinds of features,” Berman said of the
bakery’s vintage exterior, noting these
things are “an especially important
part of the character of the district and
“What this should mean going forward
is that the wooden storefront itself
should be protected and preserved,” he
continued. “It does not mean that the
name ‘Vesuvio Bakery’ or even ‘Italian
Bread and Biscuits,’ which appear in the
window or on the awning, would have
to remain. Though if a new store operator
wants to replace these elements, the
L.P.C. might ask for something stylistically
similar to replace it.”
BY GABE HERMAN
Birdbath Green Bakery in Soho, at
the former site of the legendary
Vesuvio Bakery, closed on Aug.
Birdbath, which is owned by City
Bakery, moved into the space at 160
Prince St., between Thompson St. and
West Broadway, in 2009. The bakery
still sports the original Vesuvio storefront.
Maury Rubin, a baker and founder of
City Bakery, said in an Instagram post
that the shop’s 10-year lease was up.
When Rubin was asked by Gothamist
for more details, he reportedly said the
Rubin’s Instagram post included
memories of being in the Prince St.
space for 10 years, and thoughts on the
location’s historic signifi cance.
He wrote about opening there 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.”
Anthony Dapolitio, known as the
Mayor of Greenwich Village, sold the
bakery in 2003 because of health issues
and died later that year at age 82.
Known to all as “Tony,” he was a local
activist, with a focus on parks, especially,
and served on Community Board
2 for more than 50 years, including as
its chairperson for many years.
The park around the corner from
the bakery, at Thompson and Spring
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
A farewell note was left on the front door after the Prince St. Birdbath
Green Bakery closed.
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10 August 22, 2019 TVG Schneps Media