It could not have been a cakewalk for the descendants of the Huguenots to witness the invasion of hundreds of hippies during the 1960’s.
An atmosphere of frivolity and lunacy took hold on Main Street lasting for decades. Once again, there is a huge population change.
Since New Paltz has become a destination, I rarely go into the village and never on weekends. New bougie retail establishments appear every time I venture into the commercial arena. I search for faces, rarely seeing anyone familiar. Sometimes my generation complains about how much the town has changed since the Age of Aquarius. Only at The Bakery do I often encounter other grey-haired denizens from the olden days.
Everything has a life cycle — a beginning a middle and an end. The village is filled with ghosts of establishments gone but not forgotten. Remember Chez Joey’s? The Nuzzo family, the owners, regularly invited me to join them in the pizzeria for dinner when I was a college student living above Bomze and VanVlack Drug Store. A lot of my friends and I bought second-hand text books spending the extra money for trendy 60’s clothes at Campus Casuals.
P&G’s is still here, along with Manny’s Lounge. These are the only businesses I recall from 1966. At that time, the village was just one block, beginning at P&G’s and ending at the Homestead Bar, now Lola’s Cafe.
Yesterday, I spent an hour with Dawn Borrello, the new owner of The Bakery who intends to elongate the life span of this iconic eatery with a “woman’s touch,” making some changes while safe guarding the “vibe and atmosphere.”
She said, “I was looking for a business to buy. At first I thought of a gas station or convenience store. I sat outside The Bakery for a while just observing the ambience before I made the decision. This is the place for me. Since high school, I worked in the family business. I learned every aspect. I am approaching The Bakery with the same energy, teaching myself every facet, waiting on customers, all of it.”
Listening to Dawn enumerate her plans, her enthusiasm for the future of The Bakery is irresistible.
“I am hoping to offer Italian pastries. We have never had pumpernickel. I am bringing in games — Backgammon, Connect Four and Chess. We will string some beautiful lights outside. The wonderful staff will remain the same. They are a family already. I will consult them on all changes. Get ready this year to see the pumpkins again on Halloween. We will host community events, poetry readings, open mics and lots of music representing the diversity in ages and tastes of our patrons. No food will ever go to waste. We donate to the collection fridge in front of village hall. Charities like Local At Heart will have a home here too.”
During the interview, a long-time resident interrupted, “I just want to introduce myself. This place means so much to me, to all of the community. If you ever need any help of any kind, please call on me. We are so grateful for The Bakery.”
My daughter, like so many of our sons and daughters, worked at The Bakery during high school and college. I asked her what The Bakery meant to her.
“Then or now? I would like to tell you what it means to me now. I left home 18 years ago. I have been back to visit dozens of times. So have my friends, even those who are ex-pats living in different parts of the world. Every time we decide to meet up, it is always at The Bakery. We don’t even ask. It’s just assumed. It won’t feel like home any place else.