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NYC woman turns illness into opportunity, and her apartment into a bakery

NYC woman turns illness into opportunity, and her apartment into a bakery

She’s gonna cake it ‘til she makes it.

Every weekday, Oriana Molina Garcia rises at 5 a.m. to bake confectioneries, then spends the rest of the day peddling them from her Midtown apartment.

“Baking is amazing, I really love it – and it’s nice to hear the feedback that I get from people who really enjoy them,” Molina Garcia, 23, told The Post from her home on East 50th Street, between Second and Third avenues.

Molina Garcia had dreamed of becoming a psychologist for children with special needs and was even enrolled in an online master’s program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in the fall.

But after just one semester, the Gravesend native was forced to drop out of the program due to her battle with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a chronic illness that causes frequent lightheadedness and fainting.

“Unfortunately, the stress kept triggering all my symptoms. I kept going to the emergency room, going to the doctors. It wasn’t good for me,” she said.

Oriana Molina Garcia rises at 5 a.m. to bake her confectioneries, then spends the rest of the day peddling them from her Midtown apartment. Stefano Giovannini
Oriana Molina Garcia rises at 5 a.m. to bake her confectioneries, then spends the rest of the day peddling them from her Midtown apartment. Stefano Giovannini
Her makeshift bakery is permitted through the state’s Cottage Food Law, which makes it legal for New Yorkers to sell homemade food. Stefano Giovannini
Her makeshift bakery is permitted through the state’s Cottage Food Law, which makes it legal for New Yorkers to sell homemade food. Stefano Giovannini

After making the “difficult” decision to put her lifelong dream on hold to focus on her health, Molina Garcia resolved to capitalize on her passion for baking.

In March, she launched Oriana’s Cookies, sitting in front of her family’s ground-floor apartment with a tray of homemade cookies for sale each morning.

Her makeshift bakery is permitted through the state’s Cottage Food Law, which makes it legal for people to sell homemade food.

Molina Garcia has loved baking ever since she was little, she said. Stefano Giovannini
Molina Garcia has loved baking ever since she was little, she said. Stefano Giovannini
The sweets include Biscoff, coconut, and Oreo-flavored cookies. Stefano Giovannini
The sweets include Biscoff, coconut, and Oreo-flavored cookies. Stefano Giovannini

“When I was able to get a little bit better and start baking, it was almost like relighting my life. It really helped with my mental health, my physical health, I was able to move around a little bit more,” Molina Garcia recalled.

Since then, the young entrepreneur’s operation has grown enough for her to fill an entire kiosk’s worth of cookies, and sell them for $4 a pop during business days, which usually start around 9 a.m. and wrap up at 7 p.m., she said.

During slow hours, she hops back in the kitchen to fulfill special orders from her “regulars,” as well as people who find her through Instagram.

Indigo Murray and Duncan Forsyth walk all the way from 39th St. to 50th St. to buy Molina Garcia’s cookies. Stefano Giovannini
Indigo Murray and Duncan Forsyth walk all the way from 39th St. to 50th St. to buy Molina Garcia’s cookies. Stefano Giovannini
“We tried these cookies just by chance one time, and on the first bite we were like, ‘Oh my God, these are the best cookies,'” said customer Indigo Murray. Stefano Giovannini
“We tried these cookies just by chance one time, and on the first bite we were like, ‘Oh my God, these are the best cookies,'” said customer Indigo Murray. Stefano Giovannini

While The Post was visiting Molina Garcia, a pair of regular customers walked all the way from 39th St. to get their hands on an “Oreo Madness” cookie.

“We tried these cookies just by chance one time, and on the first bite we were like, ‘Oh my God, these are the best cookies.’ They’re really big, they’re really fluffy, they’re really flavorful. And Oriana herself is just so lovely, so delightful. So everything about this experience is just really great,” gushed Indigo Murray, 27.

“These are the most delicious, beautiful cookies in the city,” her boyfriend, 33-year-old Duncan Forsyth, added.

Although Molina Garcia’s ultimate goal is to open her own bakery with a proper storefront, “for right now, I think it’s great to be able to successfully run something,” she said. “I’m excited to see what the future holds.”