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Gertel’s Last Stand

After 90 years, a Lower East Side institution shut its doors

Joanna Smith Rakoff
June 26, 2007
(Kristy Claire Katien via Flickr)
(Kristy Claire Katien via Flickr)

On a Friday back in 2007, Gertel’s Bakery—the most-loved of the Lower East Side’s then remaining kosher bakeries—permanently closed its doors after 90 years in business. Joanna Rakoff, a longtime consumer of Gertel’s prune danishes, talked to the shop’s final customers about rugelach, “water challah,” and the past and future of a neighborhood in flux.