Volume 79, Number 50 | May 19 -25, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


My ongoing adventures in unemployment: Bakery 44

By Jenny Klion

“Better than life.” — Ms. Goldsmith, art director, Greenwich Village Middle School, on Bakery 44’s strawberry pop tarts

A friend suggested I find someone to write up my latest Ralph Kramden-esque-type endeavor, Bakery 44, to submit to a local paper, but I’ve decided to take the matter into my own hands… .

There has been some movement since I last discussed my visit to the New York State Unemployment Office. First and foremost, I was laid off — again. This time from my freelance copyediting, proofreading and cover copywriting positions, at the same publishing house where I was originally laid off a number of months ago. Apparently, since the company had been fudging my employment status with them, now that I’ve rectified the situation and convinced the state I actually did have a job there for four years, the genre-fiction house decided I’m no longer eligible for freelance work with them, or some such income-losing nonsense.

Second, I did, for a modest fee, finish a copy edit (think line-by-line rewrite) of a chef’s memoir, which is now in the process of being sold to HBO as inspiration for a new series. My employer on that job told me she’s going to suggest to the chef that I receive a large bonus for my efforts, since I did take his unintelligible material and translate its street slang to something readable, and engaging even. Won’t be waiting at the mailbox for that, though the chef did give my name to a friend of his — a self-published former drug kingpin selling his new wares out of the back of a van — in case he wants to get his manuscript rewritten, too. Would just have to hope there wouldn’t be a problem, though, if for example the man wasn’t able to sell his story to HBO as well… .

Third, I’ve opened up a Sunday morning, donation-only underground breakfast bakery, Bakery 44. Though this isn’t the intense money-maker I’m looking for, seems I’ve truly hit upon something, which is: on Sunday mornings, from 10 a.m. to noonish, apparently the people in my neighborhood cannot get enough raspberry-jam-filled corn muffins (sold out in 10 minutes last weekend), homemade strawberry pop tarts (my personal favorite), walnut sour cream coffee bundt cake, mini blueberry muffins, traditional brownies and complimentary chocolate chip cookies. More than 150 items — gone in an hour and a half.

Perhaps it’s the cover allure of my recently turned teen money girl Judy, rocking the front of the operation. She receives 10 percent of the gross for her efforts, which she distributes at will to either her partner-in-crime Joy or our teen neighbor Henri, both of whom also play cashier and cuteness-factor decoy for Bakery 44.

Now the question is: How early can I get up on Sunday morning, and exactly how many raspberry-jam-filled corn muffins can I make? These are the kind of nickel-and-dime questions pressing hard upon me now as I continue to send off more résumés into the black hole of the unemployment abyss. I try not to cringe as my younger unemployed friends score job after job, and the possibility of even pretending to want to be part of the corporate world slips away. Instead, I sublimate my angst and frustration by trying out new baking recipes. Or writing my own reviews, though that’s not a first for me, either.

What else am I doing? Henna tattoos; my body is a wonderland. Watching “American Idol”; never again. (What a complete waste of time; there’s about 20 minutes of worthwhile programming per hour of broadcasting.) Reading Huffington Post and signing lots of petitions. Avoiding looking at my bank statements. Juggling. Hula hooping. Starting my fourth blog. Watching Judy grow up… . Hmm. Doesn’t sound so bad, really!

What am I not doing? Spending money. Buying stuff — important, unimportant or otherwise. Eating in restaurants. Going out. Taking taxis. Scratching off lottery tickets. Getting pedicures. Submitting a 26-page application to be in the pool of eligibles for “The Millionaire Matchmaker” (not that I’m opposed to marrying a millionaire per se, or meeting the awesome Patti Stanger!). Working for free on a musical book rewrite, though I did do that for a couple weeks somewhere in there.

Yes, I know about networking, and LinkedIn, and the dozens of other self-help-for-the-unemployed materials awaiting my attention. But for now, I’m sticking with my own Bakery 44. Sunday mornings, 10 a.m. to noonish; 44 Jane St., just west of Eighth Ave., on the stoop. Rain or shine. Donations only… .


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