If your visiting New York City and wondering what is the first thing you should do to begin to experience all that the city has to offer, we recommend that you hit a local pizzeria as one of your first stops. If you have never experienced New York City Pizza, your world is about to be turned upside down. First and foremost, you must remember what we call it here. It’s a “slice,” not a piece of pizza. In many places around the United States and especially around the world, pizza is sold as a small single-serving pie in a circular dish. That’s not New York City Pizza.
In New York, pizza is served by the slice or by a large pie that is usually sliced up into six to eight slices depending on the size of the pie. Most people who buy a complete pie are taking it home with them, although we have seen some exceptions. In the end, when you walk into a New York City Pizzeria, it’s all about the slice. Here’s how to order it, and even more specifically detailed….. how to eat it.
Why is pizza so big and successful in New York? Well, the first answer is easy, it’s one of the most delicious foods you will ever eat. It’s also one of the freshest, especially if you’re buying it from a busy pizzeria in New York City that is selling the slices as they come right out of the oven. The pizza ovens in the city are magical. It’s amazing what they can do with a cold slice of pizza in a minute or two, making it taste as fresh as it was maybe twenty minutes after it had come out of the oven. It’s very rare that you will ever get a slice of pizza that is not fresh in New York City. Of course, it can happen and most of the time when it does, it’s because you entered a pizzeria the minute they opened up at 11.00 am and they may be reheating a pie left over from the night before. Don’t do that. You got to give them a chance to take a fresh pie of the oven.
Now onto the second answer as to why pizza is so successful in New York City. If you live in New York City or work In New York City you already know the answers to the question. Things move fast in New York City, except for the traffic. People move fast. Anyone on foot in the city, especially in Manhattan is usually on the move heading to where they have to be. Many times, they are late because the subway was running behind, or the bus was stuck in traffic. People are running late and they are usually hungry because they didn’t have enough time to sit down and have a nice comforting meal. They need something quick that they can take with them and eat on the run.
Food trucks have really flourished in the city because they are everywhere. However, even the food trucks can have long lines, especially in the mid-afternoon, and it’s usually just one or two people cooking items which can also take time. With the exception of the hot dog stand, the food trucks and food stands are not always that quick. However, walk into any pizzeria and you will probably be walking out within a minute or two with a beautiful hot slice of New York City Pizza.
So how do New Yorkers eat those slices that can flop all over the place, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing? Here’s how to do it. Number one, tell the pizza man, the slice is to go. Number two, tell him or her (it’s usually a him) you don’t need a bag. Just say “on a plate.” Here’s the important part. When they are heating the slice up or cutting it from a fresh pie, make sure to grab a handful of napkins. This is important. When that beautiful slice of cheese pizza is delivered to your waiting hands, walk outside and make sure to spot a garbage can.
Take the slice off the plate and slowly fold it in your hand. Yes, that’s right, fold it in half so that the crust is held in the palm of your hands. Take the napkins and tuck them underneath the back of the slice at the fold line. This is crucial because the oil from the slices is going to start dripping backwards as soon as you start to eat it. Once that’s all set up, throw away the plate, you don’t need it anymore.
Now you are all set to walk down the street eating your slice of pizza like a real New Yorker. That’s how we do it in the city. It will feel good as you smell that New York City air mixed in with smog, bus, and car fumes, and the smell of so many ethnic foods and other odors we won’t mention. It all makes it into one of the most wonderful experiences man or woman could ask for. You may think we are crazy, but let me tell you something, once you experience it, you will understand.
Walking down the streets of New York City and eating a slice of pizza folded in half while you walk is a rite of passage. It’s a pure New York Experience that is as real as it gets. New Yorkers don’t think twice about it. We have been doing it this way our entire lives. You need to experience it too. Of course, you can always sit down at a table outside and eat the slice, but what’s the fun in that, you got things to do, and places to be, you’re a New Yorker now, at least for the moment!
Even though I’m not walking in the video below, check out how I hold the slice when I am eating it. That’s what I’m talking about baby!
How To Eat Pizza Like A New Yorker article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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