Head to 116-year-old Glaser’s Bakery before they close Sunday for NYC’s best black-and-white cookie

June 28, 2018

Photos © James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft

Four months after they announced their imminent closing, Yorkville’s 116-year-old German bakery Glaser’s will serve its final treats this Sunday. They shared the news via a bittersweet Facebook post that read, “After many years of daunting hours and hard work, the third generation of bakers have come to the difficult decision to hang up their bakers’ hat and move towards retirement.” Since last weekend, the lines have been wrapping around the block, with the bakers whipping up 1,650 of their black-and-white cookies at a time (they’re widely regarded as the original and the best in the city).

As 6sqft explained in a recent interview with Glaser’s co-owner Herb, “German immigrant John Glaser opened what was then primarily a bread shop in 1902, a time when the Upper East Side neighborhood of Yorkville was known as Germantown and the area was filled with German butchers, restaurants, and bakeries. Very few remain today, but Glaser’s has withstood the test of time.” This is in part due to the fact that the family still owns the building, but also because Glaser’s has kept their prices moderate and offers a nostalgia factor, preserving the shop’s original tile floors, apothecary-style wood cabinets, and tin ceilings.

A video posted on Glaser’s Facebook page shows the crowds this past Sunday

After running the business for 43 years, the third-generation co-owners, 65-year-old Herb and his 67-year-old brother John, told amNY when the news broke, “We struggled with it for quite a while. But we realize what’s involved keeping [the bakery] going, and we just can’t anymore.” Herb also told Eater, “I do enjoy it, and I know I’ll miss it, and I know the customers will miss us, so it is a sad thing. But I just think it is time.” They’ll also be selling the building.

Herb said he started every day making brownies. “I think it’s a great way to start a day.” © James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft

In our interview, Herb said he enjoys spending time at his house upstate and has “lots of hobbies,” including playing the piano and pipe organ. He added that he wished he had more time to practice, saying “maybe in retirement.”

In their Facebook post, Glaser’s said they have stopped taking special orders due to high demand. They’ll be open today, tomorrow, and Saturday until 7pm and Sunday until 3pm or until they sell out. If you’d like to honor Herb, he told us that he loves the brownies and the cookies. “The butter pecan is my favorite.” And in a 1998 New York Times article he also lovingly talked about the black-and-white cookies, which still use the same recipe from 116 years ago. “When I was growing up, I’d have two of them for dessert every day,” he said. And as a final goodbye (for those who can’t get there by Sunday!) here’s a look at those 1,650 black-and-whites.

Take a virtual tour of Glaser’s and read our interview with Herb here >>

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