Just how old is the lovely stained glass ceiling at Veniero’s pasticceria?

There’s a lot to love about Veniero’s, the cafe and bakery on East 11th Street since 1894. First and foremost are the pastries, but also the tin ceiling, the old-school glass bakery counters, and the wonderful pink and green neon sign on the facade.

But what I noticed for the first time during a recent visit for gelato was the spectacular stained glass panels spanning the length of the ceiling, with their unusual red, gold, and green floral motifs.

I knew they must have been in the cafe for decades, and I wanted to know just how long and where they came from. On one hand, a 1990 New York Times article about bakeries in Manhattan has it that the stained glass was only installed in 1984.

“The only change over the years [at Veniero’s] has been the addition six years ago of an adjoining warm enclave, with a ceiling of stained-glass panels and the original pressed tin,” the article stated.

However, Veniero’s own website suggests the stained glass dates to the 1930s. During the Depression, owner Michael Veniero left the day-to-day management of the store to his cousin Frank.

“Under Frank’s leadership and eventually ownership, Veniero’s evolved into what it is today,” the site says. Frank “filled his new kitchen with Italian bakers and decorated his new cafe with imported Neapolitan glass that still gracefully adorns our ceiling today.”

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10 Responses to “Just how old is the lovely stained glass ceiling at Veniero’s pasticceria?”

  1. countrypaul Says:

    Whenever it was installed, it’s beautiful.

  2. chas1133 Says:

    Love waddling over there after a sit down at John’s around the corner…

  3. Greg Says:

    I take it to mean the space was a recent addition to the pasticceria, not necessarily that the glass was a recent addition to the space. Could be the space was the same for decades, just part of a different establishment.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Yes, it’s a confusing phrasing. My first visit to the place wasn’t until the 2000s I believe, so I have no idea what the space was previously used for.

  4. Bloomingdaler Says:

    I recall when the store expanded, was remodeled and the ceiling installed. 1984 would be about right.

    PS: I was VERY young at the time – ahem………

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      You may not be VERY young anymore as you say, but you certainly have a good memory!

  5. Ricky Says:

    Great. Now I want a piece of chocolate cake…

  6. velovixen Says:

    Could it be the Sistene Chapel ceiling of NYC bakeries?

    It is indeed beautiful. So is its neon sign. And Veniero’s makes wonderful sfogliatelle. What’s not to like about that place?

  7. Marco Romano Says:

    My spouse and I were there once in the some years ago. A female employee began shouting at her boss and finally declared “I quit!” and stormed out of the place to the applause of many customers.

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