Glaser's, 116-year-old bakery known for black-and-white-cookie, closes

ByAlex Meier, Emily Sowa & John Sprei
Sunday, July 1, 2018
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YORKVILLE, Manhattan -- After serving sweets to Manhattanites for more than 115 years, a New York City staple closed up shop.

Glaser's Bake Shop, nestled on the 1600 block of 1st Avenue in Yorkville, officially shut its doors Sunday.

Not only is Glaser's a staple, but so is its specialty -- the black-and-white cookie, an edible fixture of the city arguably as important as the bagel itself.

The bakery was opened in 1902 by German immigrants. It's now on its third generation, owned and operated by Herb and John Glaser, with help from John's children.

"I've been here my whole life, the only job I ever had," Herb Glaser said. "I did go to college, and actually was going to become a dentist but didn't get into dental school ... so now I'm causing the cavities."

The bakery seems to withstand the test of time. Glaser's remains cash-only and without air conditioning, and the original tile floor and window display are still intact.

Even though neighbors will miss them, Herb Glaser said he's ready for retirement. Although it seems fun, he said, working at a bakery is hard work with long hours. And Glaser's small town business model is no longer sustainable in New York City.

"If we didn't own the building, we would have been out of business years ago," Herb Glaser said.

Glaser's will be remembered for their small, pillowy black-and-white cookies. Although the Glaser's are the fabled creators of the treat, Herb said he will not claim ownership.

He's not even sure how or why the cookie is so popular with New Yorkers, but he certainly knows how to eat them -- vanilla first, so he can save the best part (the chocolate) for last.

"I used to have two black-and-whites as my lunchtime dessert, and I was a fat kid," he said.

And he knows how to make them perfect. Herb Glaser said there's no secret ingredient, just patience and being careful not to overbake.


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