In 1964 Alvin Lee Smalls, a South Carolina native who had recently moved to New York, was working in the bakery of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. While browsing a newspaper one day, he came across a recipe for rugelach. Smalls loved baking, and would often practice at home. He didn’t see the dessert as a traditional Jewish treat but rather as an opportunity to make something delicious. He made a batch of rugelach based on the recipe, and after experimenting for six months, Smalls finally perfected his own version of the unique pastry, leading to the beginning of a cross-cultural legend in the Village of Harlem.