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    Sweets and the city: A visit to Magnolia Bakery

    Manager Erin Barry removes cupcakes from a pan at Magnolia Bakery.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Manager Erin Barry removes cupcakes from a pan at Magnolia Bakery.

    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    A cupcake receives a layer of frosting.

    Where to Magnolia Bakery, the first Boston branch of the New York shop that helped launch the cupcake craze. The Bleecker Street original came to fame when it was featured in a turn-of-the-century “Sex and the City” episode.

    What for That sweet, sweet sugar rush.

    The scene Quincy Market, around noon, hordes of tourists and college kids pouring in. Magnolia Bakery is right by the entrance, marked by signs advertising cupcakes, banana pudding, coffee, and more. On the counter are jars of sprinkles and cakes frosted in ombre green or pink with ornate squiggles at the base. Glass cases are filled with cupcakes and other baked goods. The decor is very retro pastel, with schoolhouse lamps and displays of cake stands in jadeite and rose glass. Next to the retail counter is a nook for consuming the treats, where people perch on metal stools at marble counters adorned with little flower arrangements. A sugary smell fills the air.


    What you’re eating Cupcakes in flavors such as classic vanilla with vanilla buttercream, lemon, red velvet, and Black Forest. Brownies and lemon bars. The much-billed banana pudding and its chocolaty cousin, the mysteriously less-billed Boston cream pie.

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    Care for a drink? There’s a full roster of coffee drinks, tea, hot cocoa, lemonade, and more.

    Overheard Confusion about ordering, “Sex and the City” nostalgia, cupcake envy. “I give it to you and then you go pay,” explains a patient staffer. “This is something new, huh?,” asks a man in a leather jacket carrying a Kenmore Army & Navy Store bag. “Um! I don’t know!,” says a girl in ripped jeans and a black hoodie, overcome with choices when it’s her turn to order. “Let me know if you have any questions. I’m just going to be sprinkling over here!,” sings the manic pixie dream girl behind the counter. “Did you get another one?,” a man asks his wife. “What’d you get? Oooh!” “Hey, they were on a TV show,” says a woman too young to have been a “Sex and the City” viewer. “At least I think so.”

    200-299 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, 617-904-1100,

    Devra First can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.