In what may be the most New York competition ever, the annual 5 Boro Pizza Challenge returns this month, asking participants to combine their love of slices and public transportation. The contest involves five pizzerias in five boroughs. On Saturday, Sept. 28, the list of shops will be revealed, sending racers off to plot their journeys. Another NYC twist? The use of cars to travel between destinations is not allowed.
Contest calls on New Yorkers to eat a slice of pizza in every borough in one day, using only public transit, Fri, September 6, 2019
Image via Flickr cc
When news broke yesterday that legendary Midwood pizzeria Di Fara was seized by authorities for failure to pay $167,506 in state taxes, many New Yorkers lamented the loss of what is widely considered to be the city’s best pizza—including Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Di Fara is THE best pizza place in New York City,” de Blasio tweeted early this morning. “I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened—as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers.”
Photo courtesy of Molly Tavoletti
How do you heighten something as ubiquitous in New York City as a slice of pizza? It’s all about the dough. Noam Grossman, the founder of Upside Pizza, which opened in the Garment District in January, uses a 100 percent naturally leavened dough with a sourdough starter, unbleached flour, and a rise time of 72 hours. Grossman credits this mixture, along with the use of a brick-lined oven and in-house ingredients, for making Upside Pizza stand out among the hundreds of other slice joints found across the city. With a team consisting of dollar-slice gurus Eli and Oren Halai, of 2 Bros. Pizza, and pizza consultant Anthony Falco, of Roberta’s fame, Grossman’s pizzeria elevates the New York slice experience while retaining its grab-and-go roots.
“We’re not cranking out quick-made pies,” Grossman told 6sqft. “We’re working tirelessly to make our pies memorable, and the absolute best they can be.” And all of this is happening in a 330-square-foot joint on the busy corner of 39th Street, across from the Port Authority. Boasting a colorful, in-your-face aesthetic, the inspiration for Upside Pizza’s design came from “the nostalgia of being a kid in the ’90s when hip hop and sports reigned supreme, and local pizza parlors were places of community gathering,” he said. Ahead, hear from Grossman on Upside Pizza’s plan to perfect the slice, the pizzeria’s expansion, and his favorite slice joint in the city.
Image via Flickr
For decades some New Yorkers have believed that the price of subway fares and pizza slices are linked. Known as the “Pizza Principle,” the economic theory/urban legend tries to account for the fact that, for the past 40 or so years, the cost of a plain slice of pizza has pretty much tracked with the cost of a single ride fare. So far nobody has been able to provide a clear explanation of why that might be—or if there’s more to it than coincidence. The latest MTA board vote on fare increases may have severed the connection between subway and pizza before we could fully understand it. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the “Pizza Principle” doesn’t hold now that gourmet offerings have bumped the average cost of a slice to the $3-$3.50 range while the MTA is maintaining the base fare at $2.75.
Pizza from Patsy’s in East Harlem, via Wiki Commons
By now you’ve surely heard that New York City’s pizza and bagels stand out because of our tap water. And now a New Jersey company is trying to capitalize on that widely-accepted theory by marketing a water-filtration system that can match the molecular makeup of NYC water, thereby allowing anyone anywhere to replicate our tasty dough (h/t NYP). This past Monday, the $2,890/year New York WaterMaker was unveiled at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, and apparently, it already has the approval of some old-school New York pizza makers.
It’s almost inconceivable to think of a New York without pizza–no dollar slices, no hitting up the latest wood/brick/coal-oven joint, no arguing over the city’s best slice. But until September 20, 1944, New Yorkers lived this deprived life. It was on this day that the New York Times first introduced the word “pizza.”
Around this time, American troops were plenty in Italy, and they were enjoying the saucy, cheesy delicacy of their host country. The article, titled “News of Food: Pizza, a Pie Popular in Southern Italy, Is Offered Here for Home Consumption,” describes the new food as “a pie made from a yeast dough and filled [their meaning for “topped”] with any number of different centers, each one containing tomatoes. Cheese, mushrooms, anchovies, capers, onions and so on may be used.”
The story behind cheese-aging facility Crown Finish Caves in Crown Heights tells of an enormous amount of risk and dedication to making something on a small scale; to doing one thing well. It also once again stirs the hive of buzz around today’s Brooklyn. Article after article raises the idea that Brooklyn’s moment as the new hot spot for excellence in food, culture and authentic, hand-crafted goods, is in some quarters regarded as trite and trendy hype with little substance to it.
For some, the underground cheese caves are just one more example: Cheese caves. How Brooklyn. Thirty feet below street level, in the lagering tunnels of a former brewery beneath the Monti Building in Crown Heights, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle spent several years renovating and creating “Brooklyn’s premier cheese-aging facility” complete with state-of-the-art humidity control and cooling systems. The couple created the 70-foot space with advice from the world’s top cheese experts; Crown Finish Caves opened in 2014. On an article in Cheese Notes, a commenter raves: “If I were a mouse, I would move to Crown Heights.”