Lost City reported some time ago that Rego Park’s Jay Dee Bakery, the 1940s Art Deco gem that closed back in July, was destined for Alabama, just like the Cheyenne Diner was. As you can see from these photos, the Cheyenne began its southward journey last week (it just left a secret holding spot in New Jersey this morning), and Michael Perlman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council tells us that parts of the Jay Dee Bakery are going with it.
The Cheyenne is being transported in two parts and should reach Alabama in about a week. Once it’s there, Perlman will apply for state and federal landmark status so that the diner’s new owner, Joel Owens, can receive grants and tax credits to restore it to its 1940s glory (among other things, Owens plans to peel back newer flooring to uncover the original mosaic tiles). The diner will be part of a “town” (spanning one or two blocks) incorporating other salvaged buildings, including, you guessed it, a re-creation of the Jay Dee Bakery.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Perlman
Perlman tells us that he originally tried to get the bakery’s new owner, Amnir Yelizarov, to incorporate the Art Deco elements into the “ethnic” restaurant he plans to open in the coming months, but Yelizarov opted for a gut renovation instead. He did, however, agree to let Perlman sell off the historic elements (including three Lucite doors, vintage models of birthday and wedding cakes, and the stainless-steel neon sign) to Joel Owens. Last night, working against a tight deadline set by Yelizarov, Perlman managed to salvage a hundred glass mosaic tiles from the bakery’s façade — a mere “sampling” that will be reproduced for the bakery’s Alabama twin. Perlman is working with the family of the bakery’s original owner, Theodore Strouman, to secure photos that will allow for faithful reproduction of the interior.
It seems like a Sisyphean adventure to us (the team is also looking to salvage a theater and a sheriff’s office, and they’re planning a Cheyenne museum), but here’s hoping that late next year we’ll again be able to break bread at these landmarks.