As one Scandinavian institution returns to Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, another is leaving. Connoisseurs of limpa bread were disheartened in June when a classic local bakery in Bay Ridge unexpectedly shut its doors. But a new sign on the window announces that Leske’s has found new management, and will be re-open in May, the Home Reporter reports. “Same bakery, same bakers,” the sign says. “Opening May 2012.” The bakery, known in particular for its Scandinavian specialties, has been a community favorite since it opened its doors in 1961; Bay Ridge expats expect visitors from the old neighborhood to bring a few treats from Leske’s—a loaf of bread, maybe; an apricot stick, perhaps—with them on visits, as personal experience and a Home Reporter anecdote indicates.
The bakery held special importance in recent years, as fewer remnants of the neighborhood’s once dominant Scandinavian community remained. Where else could the Lutheran parents of a child about to have his or her confirmation get a celebratory kransekake? (Note to kransekake fans: when Leske’s gets an order for one, they make a few stick-cookies out of the leftover batter for general sale. You don’t need to get married just to get a taste of kransekake, like poor cousin Olaf.) Half a block away, the French bakery Jean Danet had tried to pick up some of the slack after Leske’s closed, announcing through window signage that they specialized in limpa bread, among other items.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Constitution Day Parade, held close to the 17th of May to celebrate the day Norway declared independence, declared its own independence—from Fifth Avenue. It will be held on Third Avenue for the first time after decades two blocks east, since it moved from Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park (after most of the remaining Scandinavians moved south). The reason? Organizers were able to find more financial support from Third Avenue merchants. “We hate to lose [the parade] but we wish them well,” the vice president of the Fifth Avenue BID told the Home Reporter. “We’re going to miss them because we have quite a bit of activity every time we have a special event. It brings people to the avenue, and we need that more than ever. But we wish them the best.”