Against my better judgment, I braved the Shake Shack line on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 17th. While joining this impossibly-long queue is regularly regrettable, September 17th was no ordinary day. On this faux-holiday, Dominique Ansel himself hand-delivered “Cronut” holes early that morning for Shake Shack to use in a special, limited-edition “concrete” dessert–available exclusively at the Madison Square Park location. Ansel’s famed pastry has garnered considerable media attention over the past few months, so it was no surprise that tons of people, including myself, presumably planned their day around obtaining one of these buzzworthy desserts.
Only 1,000 cronut concretes were available, from 10:00am onward. According to Shake Shack’s Twitter account, sources depleted just shy of 2:00pm. The promotion raised over $5300 for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Widows and Children’s Fund and the Madison Square Park Conservancy, which is what I told those who raised an eyebrow at my willingness to “waste” an hour waiting on line. T-shirts were even created to commemorate the temporary fusion of the Shack and the bakery, so you know it was legit.
Apparently those first to receive the Cronut concrete were individuals who had camped out in Madison Square Park since 4:00am. While I admire the commitment and determination of these people, I found this absurd, considering the desserts contained mere Cronut “holes,” rather than the pastry in its entirety. To everyone’s delight, each butter caramel frozen custard was actually chock full of cinnamon sugar Cronut holes–I counted four in total.
I reached the park around 12:15pm, with half of the concretes gone and only 500 remaining. This alleviated any stress about arriving too late, as I could plainly see that there were significantly fewer than 500 people ahead of me. Shake Shack staff manned the growing queue, offering people cups of water and volunteering to take photographs. The weather straddled the line between summer and fall, making for a wait as pleasant as could be. Apparently, there were about 250 people ahead of me because that was the number of remaining desserts when I left with mine around 1:05pm.
Worth the wait? I genuinely thought the Cronut concrete was extraordinarily delicious…so yes, in my eyes, the treat was well-worth what in the grand scheme of things, was a mere fraction of my time.
By: Emily Giove