The Demise of the 'Drunken Negro Face' Cookie: Lafayette French Pastry Seized by Marshals
West Village old-timer Lafayette French Pastry, 26 Greenwich Avenue, was seized by marshals pursuant to an eviction notice in the last few days, and the gates were up during what would have been normal business hours today. Lafayette had been at this Greenwich Avenue location for at least 15 years, and had previously existed for at least 15 years near the corner of Bleecker and Seventh Avenue South. Though it had pretenses of being a French bakery, the owners were Greek, and for years a mother and her son had worked the counter. The place was the site of a racist incident extensively covered by the food press during Obama's first run for the presidency.
Specifically, owner Ted Kefalinos had baked a "Drunken Negro Face Cookie" in honor, he said, of candidate Obama, as reported by FiTR's Sarah DiGregorio.
Local residents called his bluff, and a contretemps ensued.
The story of the eviction is told in Lafayette's Facebook page. On June 21 or thereabouts, the place received its eviction notice and asked the cookie-eating public for $40,000, which may have been the amount of the arrears. Subsequently, the page boasts about a Show Cause order granted, but after that falls silent.
Truth be told, the baked goods were never that good, and the bakery depended mainly on tourist traffic to buy its cookies and pastries; it was often open late into the night for that purpose. Gradually, the neighborhood became thronged with actual French tourists, who were quick to recognize the deception.
Nevertheless, as a vestige of the old West Village with all its French and beatnik pretensions, it will be missed, a place worth looking in the window of from time to time, but almost never entered.
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