second to the right, and then straight on ’till manhattan avenue.

peter pan bakery

peter pan donut and pastry shop is greenpoint’s most beloved bakery. its confections are both marvelous and treacherous: after a single bite of one of their locally renowned doughnuts, you’ll feel compelled to buy at least four more. upon completing the first, however, it will become apparent that you’ve already ingested twice as much doughnut as you need. ever. and then you will eat the other four.

theories abound as to the source of this beguiling richness. apparently, their dough boasts an unusually high shortening content, and it doesn’t take an educated tongue to identify their supremely liberal infusion of refined sugar. whatever it is customers may actually be eating, they can be certain of deliciousness procured cheaply from a friendly blond girl with a really charming accent.

the bakery named itself long before its environs became a haven for those hoping to evade adulthood, and in fact makes no discernible effort to court this burgeoning demographic. rather, it is often said to preserve the air of a bygone brooklyn. even relative newcomers to the borough, with no experience of its earlier incarnations, will likely recognize the patisserie as a ghost of greenpoint past, like the shop remembers something they don’t, and is trying to regale them with tales of yore, in a strange language with an unnervingly high consonant-to-vowel ratio.

unlike new york’s other famous sweet shops, where people line up only to pass in and back out again, peter pan is a genuine neighborhood haunt. polish is still the official language of its regulars, who sit at a long counter punctuated by periodic right angles that ensure people face each other, the better to strike up conversations with strangers. upon the burning of our beautiful waterfront rope factory, before the advent of twitter and social network news feeds, it was here that emily and i came to get the scoop. over egg-and-cheese sandwiches, we learned about the old maritime manufacturers and the area’s industrial past, the craven developer and the ambitious historical society, the squatters and the skate park, all long before any local news outlets were able to piece the story together.

we weren’t regulars, and i was surprised at this forthcomingness; i’d often encountered a palpable (and, let’s face it, justified) resentment from the neighborhood’s older residents. but everyone’s your friend at the peter pan bakery. also, everyone has a bit of a tummy-ache.

[ this illustration was requested by ayun halliday, editor of the zinester’s guide to n.y.c. (forthcoming from microcosm), wherein it will hopefully appear. as always, you can re-size the image to your screen by clicking on it. ]

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  1. Tanveer says:

    I have yet to start a Brooklyn-departing road trip without an egg-and-cheese-on-a-croissant stop at Peter Pan’s.

    • boy blue says:

      you know, i’ve never actually tried one of their croissants. i’m not even sure how someone walks in there and manages to leave with a croissant. that strikes me a tremendous display of self-control.

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