I was surprised to see the pastry shop closed, and at first I thought that some kind of itinerant florist was selling bouquets in front of their lowered metal gate.
Then I noticed a sign taped to the gate and crossed the street to read it. That was how I learned that Muyassar Moustapha, the man who ran the shop with his brothers, had been killed by a speeding motorist.
Oriental Pastry, along with the family that operates it, has been a Brooklyn fixture for decades. Walking through its doors is akin to taking a trip into the past or a foreign land, with heaps of spices and dried fruits spilling from bins and barrels, a small glass case filled with fragrant, freshly baked sweet and savory pastries, a revolving selection of purring resident cats, and friendly, caring proprietors.
As I gazed at the bouquets arrayed on the sidewalk, two neighborhood boys, both about 10 years old, came over to talk. They asked whether I’d known the man who died. Yes, I had.
Tremulously, one boy worried aloud about what would happen to the cats that lived in the store. They’ll be OK, I told the boys. They’ll still have good lives. But they’ll remember Mr. Moustapha, and they’ll miss him— just as we all will.
Flowers in front of the shop.
Gothamist: Owner Of Oriental Pastry In Cobble Hill Reportedly Killed By Driver
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Patch: Brooklyn Pedestrian Struck, Killed by Mercedes-Benz
NY Daily News: Man, 66, Mowed Down
Yelp: Oriental Pastry & Grocery