They have spawned lines more than 100 people deep, inspired black-market scalpers on Craigslist and become one of New York City’s edible tourist attractions.
But there is no testament to the deliciousness of Cronuts more convincing than this: On Friday, just after 6 a.m., a mysterious dead body within eyesight failed to persuade Cronut customers to give up their coveted places in line outside the beloved Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo.
“I didn’t see anyone leave the line,” Molly Young, 29, a city resident, told the New York Post. “It didn’t put a dent in anyone’s appetite.”
Jessica Wright, 26, told the paper that she saw one customer briefly leave his place in line to tell bakery employees about “the dead guy” slouching on a wooden sidewalk bench several dozen feet from the store.
“A guy in line was waiting for a Cronut and saw a body on the first bench,” she said. “He brought it to the attention of a Dominique Ansel Bakery employee. She saw the dead guy and called 911. They came and pronounced him dead.”
But when emergency responders arrived a few minutes later, nobody in line budged, according to CBS New York.
The Cronut is considered a hybrid between a croissant and doughnut. The pastry debuted in 2013 and quickly became so popular that lines of hungry customers outside the bakery stretched halfway down the block, sometimes longer, according to the New York Times.
“After the third day, we had a hundred people waiting outside,” Cronut creator Dominique Ansel told the paper in 2015.
Like birds that perch on larger mammals to eat insects off their back, there is even a man who will wait in line for you, the paper reported. His fee: $60 for two Cronuts.
“The lines outside Ansel’s bakery seemed to embody all that was wrong with New York in its new Gilded Age: its vulnerability to hype and its willingness to pay obscene prices and endure penitential inconveniences at the hands of culinary auteurs,” the Times reported. “Almost immediately after the Cronut’s debut, a Craigslist-based black-market economy of Cronut scalpers materialized, charging between $20 and $40 per Cronut. At the height of the craze, one group of scalpers was charging $100 per Cronut and $5,000 for a 20-piece order.”
The hype has died down, but Dominique Ansel Bakery makes about 350 of its confections each day, a number it routinely sells out of, according to the company’s website.
A police spokesperson told Gothamist that the body belonged to a 47-year-old man. The news outlet reported that the medical examiner had yet to determine the cause of death.
The New York Post identified the man as Andrew Lang and reported that his death was not considered suspicious. A source told the paper that Lang had been dead about 10 hours by the time he was discovered.
Molly Pohlig, who was at the scene, told Gothamist that the body was curled up, creating the impression that the man was sleeping when he died.
“The line had already been diverted by the time I walked past,” she said, “which seemed to suggest that people were continuing to show up, see what was going on, and not be all that bothered by it.”
One of Lang’s neighbors told the New York Post that Lang was “nice” and noted that he didn’t know if “he had a family or anything else.”