Zaro’s Bread Basket cooks up mural

Bronx-based bakery Zaro’s brought in a Brooklyn street artist to spruce up their Brucker Boulevard headquarters.
Community News Group / Ben Kochman

Fresh out of the oven — some of the borough’s most exciting street art.

One family-owned bakery famous for its black-and-white cookies now boasts a 200-foot-long mural on Bruckner Boulevard that is anything but.

Zaro’s Bread Basket commissioned a Brooklyn street artist in November to paint a colorful mural on its Port Morris headquarters.

That’s a lot of cans

The family-owned bread company’s brass say the piece was simply a way to thank the borough they’ve called home since the 1920s.

“We just wanted to put something pretty out there on the street,” said Michael Zaro, whose family relocated bakery headquarters from Hunt’s Point to Bruckner Boulevard in 1982.

Michael’s father Stuart Zaro cooked up the idea, after being fed up with the cracked paint and overall bleak look of the bakery’s exterior. The Zaros then recruited artist R. Nick Kuszyk to do his thing.

The muralist used over 200 cans of spray paint to do the entire piece — with all its tangled cables and reclining robots — in less than a week.

It was the largest work the Brooklyn-based artist says he has ever completed.

“Because the wall was so damn big, we had the space to essentially do two murals,” said Kuszyk.

Spicing up a nabe

The futuristic mural soon had the thousands of motorists who drive by the factory every day turning heads, said Zaro. The bakery is located on a stretch of Bruckner Boulevard between the Willis Avenue Bridge and the well-traveled Bruckner Expressway.

“A lot of people stopped at the light and rolled down their windows,” said Zaro.

The artist said even he is not sure what exactly the mural “means,” — but he’s happy people seem to like it.

“I always hesitate to specify what my work is about,” said Kuszyk. “Words aren’t the point. It’s about what they think.”

Bagels here to stay

But the artist did not hesitate to rank the Bronx mural among his favorites — even though he says it has not received as much attention as some of his other works.

Kuszyk’s oeuvre includes a mural on the side of a prominent condominium tower in Williamsburg — a building on Metropolitan Avenue that crystallizes that neighborhood’s transition from industrial factories to a booming, and gentrifying, residential community.

The mural man said the main reason that he agreed to paint the Bronx piece was that Zaros was a local manufacturing business with no intention of going anywhere.

“We’re staying a bakery,” said Zaro. “I can promise you that.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
The artist, R. Nick Kuszyk, painted the entire 200-foot-long mural using just spray paint in under a week last November.
Community News Group / Ben Kochman

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