A Photo Tour of the Cake Boss Queue at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken

Buddy Valastro, and his family, run Carlo’s bakery in Hoboken at 95 Washington Street.  Buddy is also the star of the television series — “Cake Boss” — on TLC, and that means Carlo’s Bakery is the hottest tourist spot in New Jersey and here is unequivocal proof:

Janna was in Hoboken yesterday doing some Vegan grocery shopping for us when she happened upon Carlo’s Bakery.  We enjoy watching “Cake Boss” and we always wondered if starring on a TLC show translated into more cupcake and cookie sales.  We now have Panopticonic, photographic, evidence that TLC is a kingmaker when it comes to selling sugar.

In the image below, people, for some reason, pose in front of Carlo’s to take a photograph.

Are these poseurs memorializing the moment for free without having to buy a sugary treat?

Or are they just giant Buddy fans?

Turning left, Janna took another image — this one shows the head of the Cake Boss queue as it stretches down a whole city block.

Notice the “Home of the Cake Boss” banner on the Hoboken-owned streetlamp?  City promotion at it’s best:  Hoboken knows which side of the sheet cake its revenue stream is buttercreamed.

See the CVS Pharmacy in the distance?  Keep that in mind as we continue our tour of the line.

Further on down the line — you can see the line is growing longer by the minute and steel barricades keep the people moving in place as they wait to feed their sugar addiction.

Just a few minutes later, more people join the queue and pack the line for Carlo’s Bakery.

I wonder if other businesses in Hoboken get some of Carlo’s runoff if folks get tired of standing in a never-ending queue for a slice of pie?

Remember when I asked you earlier to remember the CVS Pharmacy?  Well, here it is, featuring the queue for Carlo’s Bakery!

This line is actually across the street from the bakery block, and a person with a communication radio stands at the corner to safely move people across the busy street from the “CVS Pharmacy Carlo’s Line” to the end of the “Real Carlo’s Bakery Queue.”

I would estimate if you were at the end of the CVS line for Carlo’s Bakery, your wait time to get in the store would be at least five hours.  The bakery is incredibly small and crowded and only a few people at a time can be served by their tiny, family, staff.

Would you wait in a five hour line for a cookie?

Would you wait longer than five minutes to leap in front of Carlo’s to have your picture took so you could say you “saw Buddy” without actually entering the store or spending any money?

I am fascinated by fame and celebrity in America, and how willingly people give up their lives to viscerally glow in the celebrated light of others; and I am calcified by the very idea that people would care to spend longer than a glance at anything in Hoboken.

If you want to measure the power of television on the minds of the middling masses, look no further than 95 Washington Street, and be prepared to confess the demise of the American Dream as the unwashed wait in a queue that will never end just to — perhaps and just maybe — taste a sweet in person that they have been longing to bite, chew and swallow from afar.

Oh, if we only had the same demonstrated patience and dedicated appetite for educational advancement in America — we would finally be one incredible country to reckon with again in the arena of nations — instead of just jolly imbeciles peeling the fondant from our bloated cheeks and wiping the confectioner’s sugar from the corner of our mouths.

21 comments

  • When I was in high school, a lot of my peers would imitate goofy stuff they’d see on Saturday Night Live and get loads of laughs. When I would do equally goofy but not from TV (rather, from my brain) things, they would ostracize me. So it goes.

    • I’m not sure what your comments means, Gordon. Can you rephrase?

      • Sure. Many times a character created on the show Saturday Night Live would say a funny catchphrase. Example : The characters of Hanz and Franz would say, “You’re a girlie man!” The kids would repeat that and it was considered hilarious.

        Meanwhile, I would make up my own characters and sometimes play out a scene and my peers would deem me crazy for creating these characters. Sorry my comment was so obtuse!

        • Gordon —

          I’m still lost. What does that have to do with Cake Boss or standing in line or the impatience with the American educational system?

          • Only took me two years to respond. I guess what I was getting at was that even though the Cake Boss might make a mediocre product, he gets big lines because he is the Cake Boss. Meanwhile, an average person might outbake him by miles but never have a successful bakery. That was the intent of my analogy. :)

          • I appreciate the follow-up, Gordon, thanks!

  • I think Gordon needs to come from the other direction and jump the queue and eat some cupcakes, his sugar may be low.

    What with the money from the TV series and all these customers, Buddy and his family must be sitting pretty in all the dough.

    • Ha! Yes, we need to get Gordon back to the cogent world! SMILE!

      Buddy’s shop is doing phenomenally well. Just last week he was looking to “expand” his business into a massive NASA-looking airport hangar. He wants to go international, mainstream, mail-order and factory-like. I guess you can only make so many $5,000.00USD wedding cakes in Hoboken until you get bored, redline, and need to expand your user base and your employee reach to keep you interested.

  • Good question, David. The analogy I was trying to make (unsuccessfully) is that if people see something on television that has celebrity qualities, it becomes desirable while similar non-celebrity things don’t do as well or are questioned. Make a similar tv show about a used bookstore and there will be lines for that as well. There could be another independent bakery down the street in Hoboken (a nice city from what I have seen of it! :) that could even make better pastries yet suffer from lack of celebrity.

  • I have seen the show, David. It isn’t too bad. The family seems real enough. I would not stand in a line to say hello or to buy any desert. Don’t want a photograph of me posed in front of the store. I agree we need to take the Cake Boss stand in line mentality and apply it to thinking about higher education.

    • If we have the patience to wait in a long line, anne, then I agree, we have the capacity to concentrate and read and stay in school for a long time to learn more about the history of us.

  • David,
    I live nearby and am in that area often but I
    never knew they were waiting 5 hours on that line. Seven blocks from there and near Willow Street
    is a Cuban award
    winning restaurant with it’s satellite gourmet bread store….and there is never a line.
    It has rustic loaves with chocolate and olives inside and the loaves from the outside are so artistic looking, they make the kitchen look better. But….never a line of customers.

    • Thanks for the live report from the field, Bill!

      It saddens me that such a great restaurant is being ignored in favor of sugary, television fluff. I guess we need to get them their own TV show!

  • David,
    Mick Jagger on Larry King Live (the only time I’ve seen Larry perk up and be truly alive…he was so smitten) said that very large success always contained work but also luck…and he was firm on the latter. And I’ve heard others at that level mention luck as part of it….it’s a crazy universe in some aspects.

    • That’s a fine point, Bill. The great football coach Vince Lombardi was fond of saying, “Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.” I believe we can create out own luck if we work hard enough.

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