Customers were known to flow between the toy shop and Veselka. “If you took your sons to buy marbles at Dinosaur Hill, they’d probably need some raspberry pancakes to go with them,” said Kim Wurster, a preschool teacher at the nearby Third Street Music School. “And if you took your sons to get some pierogi at Veselka, they’d probably need a little toy to go with them.”
Rainelle Peters, a former Dinosaur Hill staff member, remembered children racing into the toy store while their parents waited for a table next door, turning her and her colleagues into impromptu babysitters.
And customers are loyal, too. Early this month, Ms. Ashcraft, of Middle Collegiate, said she took her three children, “one at a time, to the store to bid farewell and choose one special memento before the doors close.”
The restaurant where everyone is welcome
If it weren’t so popular, Veselka (Ukrainian for rainbow) would be a cult hangout. For many outsiders, that’s exactly how it comes across on television. A scene from “Billions” was shot there, and Anthony Bourdain interviewed the manager of the Ramones there for his final “Parts Unknown.”
Other notable guests through the years have included Jon Stewart, Philip Glass, Adam Sandler, Julianne Moore, Chloë Sevigny, Paul Giamatti (who orders the egg creams), Lou Reed, John F. Kennedy Jr. (escorting Madonna), Edward I. Koch and, when he was police commissioner, Ray Kelly, who “arrived with an entourage every two weeks, like clockwork,” Tom Birchard said.
If celebrities are noticed at all by the businesslike servers and the usual Veselka crowd, which ranges from punk rockers to retirees to Boy Scouts, it’s only with a shrug.