Whether you're an industry professional or a home baker, if you live anywhere in the New York City area, chances are you've made the trip to New York Cakes & Baking Supply and been verbally assaulted by the improbably impolite staff while doing nothing more than inquiring about where to find a certain item in the chaotically stacked jumble of goods that fills their store off of 22nd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. To be fair, they've recently rearranged a good amount of their inventory in an attempt to make things a bit easier to locate, but it doesn't excuse the crusty demeanor of the store clerks.
Not to name names, but particularly Rich Mansour, one of the main managers who seemingly loves to toss nasties at unsuspecting pastry peeps as they inquire about such annoying things as, "Where is your luster and petal dust kept?" to be met with a screamed, "OVER THERE!" by Mr. Mansour while extending an arm and pointed index finger across the junk-clogged room. If you work in or simply love pastry and have visited NY Cake & Bake, you've undoubtedly witnessed or had a personal run-in with Mr. Mansour and / or his staff and left with the urge to lunge wildly at them all with piping tips.
I gotta say - what an apt last name for one exceedingly SOUR MAN. I'm not surprised that a google search revealed him to be one of New York's surliest part-time real estate agents! But wait ... he also SINGS??? Tempestuously, I speculate. And he has a fan page on Facebook?! This is all unfolding before my buggy eyes as I excitedly type. Let's take a step back: Perhaps I'm misjudging him. Maybe he's nothing more than a starving artist who trudges through his cookie cutter-hocking days waiting for the evenings, when he can let loose his pent-up talent in the form of song and dance before facing throngs of smitten fans at the stage door. Unfortunately, no, that isn't the case either - I just watched his YouTube channel. Yikes. The guy's just an asshole and he's managed to give me yet another headache without even stepping foot into his store.
Look, I love New York attitude and character - it's part of what I find endearing about living in NYC, but it stops being fun when the 'tude being hurled doesn't match the quality of the shop we're all forced to patronize because, shockingly, there are no other real options in Manhattan that can compete with the amount of stuff they sell. They know this, and so they get away with the verbal abuse. They get away with the lousy window displays. The get away with the $300 cheap plastic wedding cake tier holders. They get away with the teensy $8 tubs of colored sugar, the stacked rows of chintzy sugar flowers not even fit for the most tacky of Latino weddings, the stale inventory that overwhelmingly reeks of 1982.
What we need is a better, cheaper, more current option to choose from in Manhattan. Sure, we can shop online, but wouldn't it be nice to walk into a pastry supply shop that is as beautiful, organized, modern and inviting as the goods we're creating?
The Pastry Police have spoken.