Passing by Moishe’s Bake Shop this week, we were delighted to see that after a few months of going relatively incognito, the East Village institution has finally gotten a new sign. But we couldn’t help but wonder, as fans of such things, about its lovably dilapidated original signage. Is it now in safe keeping, a la Kim’s Video? We asked owner Moishe Perlmutter, who told us the last thing we wanted to hear.
“It’s been stolen,” said Perlmutter of the three-dimensional lettering he claimed to have had up for four decades.
As Perlmutter explained it, he received a number of safety violations following the nearby gas explosion; inspectors told him his sign was hanging precariously.
“I needed to get the sign down, so I gave the job out to somebody. I told him to come on Thursday, but he never showed up,” Perlmutter said.
Not one for broken promises, Perlmutter promptly commissioned another contractor to take down the sign that following Sunday. That Friday night around midnight, however, the initial contractor arrived unbeknownst to Perlmutter and began taking down the sign, he said. (The April 18 take-down was documented by a Moishe’s fan on social media.)
Arriving at his shop on Sunday, Perlmutter was shocked to discover his beloved sign missing. He immediately contacted his suspect. “He told me, ‘I’m coming tomorrow to finish.’ And I said, ‘Please, I didn’t give you the job, just bring me back my sign.’”
In response, the sign swiper demanded payment for his services, holding Moishe’s lettering as collateral.
Perlmutter initially offered to put us in touch with the sign swiper, whom he didn’t name, but he eventually decided against it, telling us “nothing good will come of it.”
“It looks almost the same as the old one, you agree?” he said. “I’d rather let him run,” he said of its new owner. “If I have time one day, I’ll go after him.”