Correction: I was thrilled to see, on October 13th, that Rocco’s reopened after all. Sometimes, it’s good to find out you were wrong. Here’s a photo of the new look. Pasticceria Rocco, and humbly, our previous, inaccurate story follows.
Losing Greenwich Village sped up when Rocco’s Pasticceria, a Bleeker Street institution disappeared. Sure, the handwritten sign says they’re “Closed for Vacation.” And “We will be reopening on September 23rd (or shortly thereafter.) No, they won’t.
Will Rocco’s Pasticceria reopen? Maybe, but the signs are not promising.
Losing Greenwich Village: Rocco’s Pasticceria
When I first set foot in Greenwich Village, it was 1967, Thanksgiving weekend. My buddy Jon and I, on a lark, drove to New York City. We hung round for a few hours before driving back home overnight with snow falling through the Catskills.
Those were hippie days, and the Village was full of head shops, basement clubs and places like Rocco’s. Beatnik coffee shops dominated the corner of Bleecker and McDougal Streets. But Italian roots held steady.
For a while.
But the relentless crawl of gentrification creeps along Bleecker, raising prices, chasing away free spirits artists, singers and writers who defined the Village.
Just this year, out for a walk, we discovered that Porto Bello, a place we loved, one of the last authentic Italian restaurants, closed.
So, finding Rocco’s closed wasn’t a shock, just a disappointment.
Are we really losing Rocco’s Pasticceria in Greenwich Village?
It’s an open question, and as long as the interior remains gutted, it will be. But the answer grows clearer with time.
Whoever put up the sign promising a reopening this week (or soon after) meant it. There’s even a Department of Buildings permit posted, but somewhere, progress stopped.
It’s gutted inside. A glass covered counter where we used to pick out cookies to take home at Christmas is covered with dust. No pastries inside.
But there’s a hint about he future. A menu is posted on the window. It reads more like a deli than an Italian bakery.
Change is inevitable, and Rocco’s Pasticceria is gone. Even reopened, it will cater to a different crowd with different needs.
Are we losing Greenwich Village? The answer is “Yes.” Rocco’s was just one of the few remaining holdouts, symbols from the old days.