Angelica's Bakery in Levittown.

Angelica's Bakery in Levittown. Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

How should we think of the closing of Angelica’s bakery in Levittown? One more sad testament? Yet another occasion for mass mourning? Further evidence of the ceaseless Dunkin’-ness of our island? No, we will not think of it that way. We will think of the almost-30 years of their lives that Frank and Angelica Nicoletta gave to the busy bakery on Newbridge Road, and the 10 years before that in Brooklyn honing their cannoli-making skills at a bakery they ran with Angelica’s brother. Those cannolis found their way to the tail end of countless meals at Caffe Napoli and other Little Italy landmarks. We will be grateful for Long Island’s schools, which led the Nicolettas to flee Brooklyn in 1994 when their children were 4 and 9, and for the couple’s skill at retrofitting a butcher shop into a bakery to satisfy the needs of a clientele that grew to include Irish and German and Jewish and Hispanic patrons, each with pastry demands of their own.

“We were forced to make a little bit of everything for our customers,” Angelica Nicoletta said with a laugh just days after the bakery’s closing last week. “Even though some of them were more like neighbors and family. Some were even personal friends. They saw my kids growing up, I saw their kids growing up. This is not going to be easy.”

Then again, running a bakery for decades — “a business so busy that you can’t sit down” — hasn’t been easy either. Think of all the cannoli — so many cannoli — and the cheesecakes, rainbow cookies, meltaways, marble cake loaves, lobster tails piped with whipped cream. “We are not 20 anymore,” Angelica said. (For the record, both Nicolettas are 66.) “We worked for 40 years really hard, really hard. It’s time for us to slow down.”

Weeks before the bakery closed, a sign appeared in the window not unlike those that have appeared in the windows of lots of eateries of late, the one thanking “all our customers for your support over the years. It’s been an honor to be a part of your daily routines, celebrations and holidays.”

But unlike similar Dear John efforts, the tone this time was not elegiac. The Nicolettas had not failed in any way. They weren’t driven out, they didn’t fall victim to rising costs or changing tastes. On the contrary, they had a very successful run. It was just time to say goodbye to this version of life. “We want to start a different chapter of our lives,” Angelica said. Nothing to be sad about.

What about the many friendships the Nicolettas forged with their customers over the years? Aren’t they doomed? Hardly. “We’re not going anywhere, at least for now. They know where to find us,” she said.

OK, but they won’t be able to find good quality pastry in the neighborhood anymore. Or will they?

The other day, just as the Nicolettas were locking up the bakery for the last time, a crestfallen regular showed up at the door. “Listen, the store is closed,” Angelica said. “But we are selling it to someone who wants to open it up as a bakery again.”

“Oh, good,” the man said, relieved. “Make sure they sell real good cannoli.”

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