Nobody in the neighborhood seemed to notice, and the nannies continued to sweep into the bakery for cookies and milk with their young charges, just picked up from Greenwich Village’s P.S. 41 next door.
But Lafayette Bakery–which has rather grandly called itself a “French Bakery” for nearly 75 years, even though the owners are Greek–was the center of a shit storm on the internet, when Gothamist, Fox 5 News, NBC, and Fork in the Road, among a dozen other websites, reported that a racist “Drunken Negro Cookie” was being sold in honor dishonor of Obama’s inauguration.
While you might have expected a demonstration, picket line, or even brick-through-the-window, nothing happened, and nobody seemed to be boycotting or leafleting as I passed and re-passed the place on my bike during the day. Clearly, this is not the same neighborhood where activism was once the norm. In fact, the original home of the Village Voice is on the same block, and the Stonewall Bar, birthplace of the Gay Rights movement, is right around the corner.
No, this is now mainly a white-glove neighborhood, where the civil rights implications of a cookie are not a primary concern. Or maybe nobody who propels up and down Greenwich Avenue has much interest in an internet brouhaha. The owners have always seemed a little dim, anyway, and the pastries and cookies are so below par that I can only remember stopping there once or twice in the last decade.
But one can’t help thinking, What if the cookie had borne an anti-gay message? Then there might have been trouble. BTW–the cookie has been removed from the display cases.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 23, 2009