“Ugh, you really got up at 5am so you could get to the LES before 6:30 so you could wait an hour and a half for the bakery to open and then another 45 minutes to actually purchase a cronut?”
Yes, but keep in mind I once waited outside at 4am during a Boston February to buy Yankees/Red Sox tickets, and I also sat on the ground for 9 hours to get Shakespeare in the Park tickets, so my bar for uncomfortable waiting situations is pretty high. This experience was basically painless, considering the weather was pleasant (it being one of the 2 non-90 degree days we apparently get this summer), and I had a book, and once the line started moving at 8am someone came out with freshly-baked madeleines to sample. All in all, not so bad–for an experienced line-waiter.
For the many people who walked by and took pictures and asked what we were all doing at such an early hour, it was possibly insane. To them, no pastry could ever be worth it.
The thing is, this one wasn’t technically worth it since I didn’t actually like the cronut that much. But when I finally bit into the thing and discovered I didn’t care for the texture, I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t surprised either. There aren’t too many edible treats in existence that I’d say are objectively worth waiting 2 hours for the chance to pay $5 for.
Of course, it’s not really about that. It’s about the experience–which, had I been able to convince any of my friends to have it with me, would have been, I imagine, the unique bonding type that you remember forever. It’s about being able to know for myself, for once and for all, whether the hype is based on true merit of the pastry or simply, like almost all hype I’ve ever heard about, some strange combination of New Yorkers’ zeal for newness and their general willingness to generate buzz about something if it means they will seem cooler for having heard about it before you.
In my opinion, the cronut’s hype is the latter. But that doesn’t mean I regret trying it. Plus, thanks to the 2-per-customer rule, when the guy behind me found out I was only buying one pastry and agreed to get another one for him, he insisted on paying for mine. So I can’t complain.
Because anyone who gets to participate in a ridiculous piece of NYC food history for free and even thinks about complaining about it is sillier than the suggestion of waking up at the decent hour of 9am and heading over to Dominique Ansel Bakery expecting to procure a cronut.