In the space of just a few months, two destination-worthy new bakeries have opened in East Harlem–and both are close to excellent free art, making for a perfect afternoon in El Barrio.
Start off at Pabade Bakery, which debuted in January at 135 E 110th Street. Chef and owner Yolfer Carvajal attended French-Jewish culinary school, an influence that's clear in his flaky croissants and buttery financiers (made with almond flour, they're gluten-free, too).
The pastry case is also filled with good old American cookies, brownies, pound cakes and muffins–including a vegan variety–so there's something for every sweet tooth, plus coffee.
Seven blocks up is the even newer Super Nice Coffee and Bakery at 156 E 117th Street. Opened by Dan Cohen, the founder of a 9-year-old line of handmade coconut macaroons called Danny Macaroons, the tiny shop sells not just his coconut confections but cinnamon rolls, olive oil cake and daily specials like sour cream coffee cake donuts. A variety of coffee and tea rounds out the offerings.
Grab a bag of goodies from each and head to the Hunter East Harlem Gallery at 2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street to see the deeply moving photographs that are the product of workshops offered by the NYC Department of Probation's Neighborhood Opportunity Network.
The 70-day cultural exchange space at La Galeria del Barrio at 162.5 E 104th Street, run by the East Harlem Culture Collective, is still in its first month of art exhibits, dance workshops, music lessons and more. Stop by this weekend to see the mosaic mural local artist Manny Vega has been assembling with help from the community.
Prefer to freestyle it? You won't have to walk far to find a colorful example of the neighborhood's long tradition of street art. And if you're not having much luck, Art Pigeon's guide to East Harlem's public art, curated by yours truly, is here to help.