The commission came in, hot off of the teletype from Snitton. “What is the low-down on New York Style Pizza?” was the urgent plea from Token Yank John Snyder of the Right Honorable White Ensign Models. Having been on a diet of Bubbles and Squeak, as well as Haggis for years, John could only dream of those delicious watercress and cucumber pizzas he had enjoyed in his favorite chi-chi fern bars in California . Well, never hesitant to aide the weary, I quickly booked a 06:30 AM non-stop into LaGuardia for a fun day trip to the Big Apple with a 9:00PM non-stop booked for departure for Thursday 25 October 2007. The preceding Tuesday I had solicited recommendations for good dives for NYC style pizza, as I have always been a great admirer of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza as exemplified by the incredible Pizzeria Uno or Due. I was quickly told by a Gothamite that comparing deep dish Chicago style with thin crust New York style was the same as comparing apples and oranges. He stated that thin crust NYC style was designed to have the toppings dominate the crust.


"Toto, We're not in Kansas Anymore!"
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There was rain all up the eastern seaboard, so visibility was obscured and the arrival of the flight was delayed. Finally the jet broke through the clouds flying northward parallel to the Jersey coast. The first clue that I had arrived was the sight of the USS Intrepid, sent south to Jersey for refurbishment. For all those who will scream “OFF TOPIC”, please notice that the first photograph in this report is this Essex class aircraft carrier. Now that I have the obligatory ship mention out of the way, I can get to the heart of this report, Pizza in New York . “Toto, we are not in Kansas Anymore!” Upon arriving at LaGuardia, I quickly boarded the Q33 bus to Jackson Heights where I purchased an all-day fun pass on the NYC Metro System. From there it was simple as stepping onto the number 7 train, which whisked me to Grand Central Station. There is a certain something about NYC, that is different from other large cities. Maybe it is stepping out of the station and seeing the Chrysler Building soaring upwards across the street. Maybe it is unusual street scenes not normally found in Smallville. However, my search was on. Although kabob vendors could be found on every corner, you actually had to look for pizza dives.


Empire Pizza 5th Avenue
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My first slice of Pizza was at Empire Pizza on 5th Avenue . For $3 I received a generously large slice of Pizza. This baby was true NY style. Toppings and cheese were piled on the thin crust and the advice I received was correct, the toppings did dominate the crust. I didn’t finish the piece for some time and the toppings held out to the very end. There were a couple of other less significant sites near Empire Pizza on 5th Avenue with the Empire State Building to the north and the Flat Iron Building to the south. After hopping the number 4 and number 6 trains to Bowling Green I walked along Dewey Promenade on the harbor side of Battery Park. George must have missed my e-mail to meet him on his promenade because he was a no show. After a not so brief sojourn on the Staten Island Ferry looking for the mythical Staten Island Pizza, which was never found, and another nautical interlude, it was back to Manhattan . At the South Ferry terminal, I jumped aboard the number 1 train, destination, Broadway! I actually got off at Penn Station, again looking for pizza and between Macy’s and the Madison Square Garden on 7th Avenue I found Spinelli’s. My carnivore special had a delicious crust, which reminded me of Pizzeria Uno but it was not NY style. The crust was thick, not thin and dominated the toppings. Although a good piece of pizza, the toppings on the slice gave out before the crust.


Spinelli's Pizza 7th Avenue
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To top off my trip I was looking for the Stage Door Deli, which was listed at 1600 Broadway on their web site. I wanted to score a genuine NY Reuben sandwich. During my wanderings up Broadway, I passed by many other pizza opportunities, including one apparently affiliated with Ray Bean. The affiliation is obvious when you notice the office next door. I had almost reached Central Park when I turned south again on 55th Street . I had missed it. Where was this deli? It turns out I missed it again as I walked south. The reason was simple, it was no longer there. At 1600 Broadway was a M&M candy store, right across the street from the Hershey store at 1601 Broadway. I asked a NYC cop about the deli and he told me it had closed its doors two years ago. I only could think of all those untasted pizza slices passed by in my hunt for this mythical Reuben. Ponce de Leon could not have been more crushed when he failed to find the Fountain of Youth. By then I was so tired that all I could do was plop down in the Roxy Deli and plop down $6 for a cold Sam Adams, which disappeared in about two gulps. Oh well back to LaGuardia but I’ll be back. Next time Lombardi’s in Little Italy and perhaps Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge . With only two slices tried, my initial award goes to Empire Pizza.


In Search of Eldorado
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Just to the west of LaGuardia is a small island and as my jet climbed skyward, I could just make out the form of Felix “Man About Town” Bustelo, waving from the top of one of the blocky buildings on Riker’s Island. Don’t worry Felix, I’ll be back. So many pizzas, So little time.

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