>Passport New York: NYC Cupcake Capital of the World!

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New York NY – a wonderful town!

When we decided to have a Passport: New York feature week I was thrilled. New York City is my city. I spent my childhood in Queens but still remember my mom – one of the toughest teachers at my school, taking me on a “mommy and me” day in the city. It was usually just around the holiday season, so, freezing – which meant hot chocolate, watching the iceskating at Rockefeller Center, shopping for a new outfit and going to visit my dad at his office where we would get lunch then go see the Nutcracker ballet. Perfect.

These days, New York is my second home, and I still prefer to come during the winter months. Walking down the streets in the freezing cold weather, enjoying the endless variety of food, the museums (*sigh*) the plays and musicals and more than anything, the books! But over the past few years, a favorite delicacy has become the most popular thing on NY streets. It’s small, it’s frosted, and it has become part of my new “Perfect day in NY”. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you – the cupcake!

Thanksgiving Day Cupcake

The cupcake was always one of my favorite treats, perfectly sized cake in a flavor of your choice, filled with cream or frosting, and topped with the same? And lets not forget those sprinkles or toppings…mmm.

*Breaks to dream of coconut cupcake mmm*

I’m back, so where were we? Ah yes, well, two years ago I remember two of my NY friends filling my facebook page with pictures of decadent cupcakes from one of NY’s most famous bakeries (of Sex and the City fame) – Magnolia Bakery. The meanies posted pictures and more pictures of the little delights and so I vowed – as god and the spirits of baking were my witnesses, I would go to NY and I would have some cupcakes!

So I did. I also discovered that not only does each bakery have its own methods of pulling in the cupcake crowd, some bakeries also place themselves in the perfect location – near bookstores. Hello? Match made in heaven? Meant to be? I think so.

So I think it’s time to share the wealth, how to have a perfect cupcake day in New York .
First of all, you need to decide – What’s My Cupcake?

Crumbs collections

Want an over the top mountain of joy that will have you questioning your ability to ever eat sweets again? Well then, Crumbs bake shop is for you…Every flavor and combination, Sweet and delicious and obviously, not too nutritious these are serious cupcakes. Not for amateurs that’s for sure! So, if your heart is filled with fear at the idea of these mondo-sized treats, you could always get the mini versions. Crumbs also has some wonderful hot drinks, muffins and if you’re not in NY? They deliver!

I myself make sure to grab six of these treats whenever going back home to Israel – pack them up, and 24 hours later – everyone at home loves me!

Carrie with Magnolia
Cupcake

Feel like emulating Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte? Magnolia Bakery is the place for you. Enter Magnolia and you’ve entered a haven of sweet treats from traditional cupcakes in traditional flavors to puddings, pies and cakes Magnolia with it’s white decor (duh) and heavenly scents will make you want to sign up as an employee (or loiter till someone gives you strange looks). But if you visit the Bleecker st. location or even the main location on Columbus on a Sunday – you might have to wait. People will stand in line for these treats.

Buttercup Bakeshop – cupcake haven

Feeling like re-visiting your childhood? missing those colorful homemade treats that seemed to have joy in every bite? Well then, head over to the Buttercup Bakeshop – I love coming here, the colorful decor and oh-so yummy treats on display put a smile on my face every time. Like Magnolia they too offer many dessert like treats, puddings, layer cakes and all those classic flavors – Red Velvet, Carrot, Devils Food, German Chocolate and my personal favorite – Peanut butter and Jelly cupcakes. Yum!

I realize there are many other bakeries, some which are probably considered better than these three, but hey, this is my dream day in NYC right? So those are my top three, especially since for me, no cupcake is complete unless it comes after a long browse through shelves filled with books. I have my bakeries cross-checked with my favorite bookstores, and here they are for your enjoyment:

Union Sq. – Strand Bookstore/Crumbs

18 miles of books, yes, that is
what heaven is like.

Strand bookstore promises 18 miles of books and while I’ve never measured, I can’t help but believe them. This labyrinth for book lovers always makes me giddy because not only can you find used books for ridiculously low prices, you can also find books before their official publication day. Strand sells ARCs of different books – all for half price. I always find something there, and usually for bargain prices. Then it’s off to crumbs (right around the corner) for a celebratory cupcake.

For other used book stores – just continue walking – there are so many that line broadway and I never have the problem of not finding books – hence the never-ending overweight fines on my suitcases! Shakespeare &Co, Lonely Planet…and more and more – it is a book lover’s paradise.

Isn’t it Pretty? Partners &Crime

Bleecker St. – Partners & Crime/Magnolia

If you love mystery and crime – this store is a must. First of all, because they really do have a wonderful selection which includes imports from the UK and everywhere else and second of all, you find new books and new authors which is always fun. They don’t sell lots of used books, but as this is Greenwich Ave. (yes, not on Bleecker street – but cupcakes are worth walking for) there are plenty of other used bookstores along the way.

72nd St./Butter Cup Bakeshop

72nd St. station – see? Broadway
meets Amsterdam Ave.

Ok, so there isn’t one specific bookstore I love in this area. Broadway/Amsterdam Avenues going north from 72nd St. (Just take the 2/3 subway train) and boom! second hand bookstores galore! I just walk along browsing the books – lots of book racks outside too! and then I award myself a cupcake (or two…and one for the road) for all that walking by going back down to 72nd street and walking east towards columbus – there it is, the little bakery that could and a wonderful place to sit down and look through all your lucky purchases.

Now, I know, you must be thinking what about the big boys? Barnes and Noble, Borders and the like? Well, I love those stores too – the comfy couches and the smell of coffee as I shop? Joy! They also have their “buy one get one half off” 20%, 30% etc… discounts galore. I suppose I get a kick out of any bookstore – and most of the NYC locations have a cupcake shop nearby – just check out the locations on the website, but I just had to highlight a few of my favorites….

New York Public Library

Now, one place you might not be allowed to bring a cupcake to, but is a must when visiting NYC – and there is a Crumbs branch close by (would I ever send you somewhere with no cupcakes and/or coffee near by?) The NY Public Library – on 5th Ave and 42nd st. How can any book lover not visit this book Mecca? Just check out their website for tour ideas and opening hours. You won’t be sorry.

Well, now I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving Eve – far away from Autumnal NYC, wishing I was there…Well, maybe in the Spring. I think I’ll go check out some book websites now and maybe bake something – hummingbird cupcakes anyone?

Hope you all enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m just thankful I get to share my love of books (and cupcakes) with all of you. 😉

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