Return to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn–A Pilgrimage to Leske’s

For years now, Rory has been telling me about Leske’s, the great Scandinavian bakery in Bay Ridge, where his parents had moved during his college years. On what turned out to be a very rainy day, we took ship for Leske’s, riding the subways for more than an hour, across the Manhattan Bridge,

manhattan bridge 2getting out at 86th Street,

subway mosaicto get to the main shopping street in Bay Ridge, Fifth Avenue. This is almost a small town in itself, with local shopping, and some ethnic reminders.

fifth avenue buildingsWe stopped off for lunch at Mike’s Hinsch, the latest incarnation of the 100-year-old diner. It has moved from its previous location,

hinsch'sbut retains its old look, complete with soda fountain, homemade chocolates and ice cream and, of course, egg creams.

soda fountainThe portions were enormous, the food good and the prices, neighborhood low.

lunchOn our way to Leske’s, we stopped off at the Bay Ridge Bakery, established a mere 50 years ago, which is still owned and operated by the Nikolopoulos Family. They provide luscious Greek pastries

bay ridge bakery 2and bake in the back of the store. This is a required stopover in Bay Ridge.

We finally made it to Leske’s, a reminder of Bay Ridge’s once-flourishing Scandinavian population, going strong after closing and then reopening under new owners but with the same bakers,

leske's 2still providing almond paste and cheese filled rings to adoring fans.

leskes 4(Source:

Rumor has it that they make the best jelly doughnuts for Hanukah–possibly worth a trip back… Was it as good as Rory remembered? maybe not quite, but good enough to retain as a fond memory.

Walking back to the subway, we passed a row of limestone townhouses–the kind I used to scorn as a newly arrived Angeleno, but now appreciate as the true Brooklyn.

limestone housesAnd, after all, this is my borough too, although Bay Ridge is a long way from Flatbush.




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