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Gerts So Good: Old Bakery to Challah Back at New Neighbor?

The Passover holiday brings us the perfect opportunity to check in on Gertel's, the historic Jewish bakery on the Lower East Side's Hester Street that shuttered in 2007, and was later demolished despite a stop work order being in place on the building?which made the Buildings Department quite unhappy. There it is above! No, not the rising concrete shell?the empty hole next to it. That mini-tower is actually the 12-story "vertical enlargement" that took the place of the old tile warehouse next to Gertel's. So what's in store for the old bakery site? Funny you should ask!

You'll notice that the new building at 55 Hester Street has a windowless wall facing what used to be Gertel's at 53 Hester. That's because 53 Hester has a building permit on file for an 11-story, 10-unit building of its own. The permit is dated way back in August 2007, so plans for the 120' tall building might have changed, but at last there are no more stop work orders on the site. (The plot is just outside the borders of the recently-passed LES rezoning, which limits new buildings on side streets to 80'.) The architect listed on that 53 Hester permit is Michael Kang, a Flushing-based architect whose portfolio of work is...interesting. His most notable Manhattan building might be the old Howard Johnson (now Gem Hotel) on East Houston Street next to the Sunshine movie theater. Gertel's, meanwhile, continues its wholesale baking operating in Brooklyn, which reminds us why we started writing this post in the first place: HEY GERTEL'S, SEND US SOME FREAKIN' MACAROONS ALREADY.
· All Gertel's coverage [Curbed]

53 Hester Street

53 Hester Street, New York, NY