A recent post about the best sneaker store in Brooklyn begat the question: “Where is the best pizza in town?” After an exhaustive, two-decade study, whereby hundreds of slices were consumed, I can affirm with unequivocal certainty that this…
…is the best pizza parlor in the city. It’s a tiny runt of a joint. Typically, the four or five tables are all occupied and you have to stand at the counter. But standing with a slice of Ray’s pizza beats the living hell out of sitting in any other parlor.
It’s on 11th Street and 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village. I’ve been going there since I arrived in New York as a young punk circa 1980. The fact that it’s still there and has stood the test of time should tell you something. And I don’t want to hear any smack from anny a you fuggin’ goombahs in Bay Ridge.
There are dozens of pizza parlors who all claim to be the “Original” Ray’s or the “Famous” Ray’s. The urban legend I’ve always heard kicked around is that “Ray” is a derivative of the Italian Re for king. Hence, the King of Pizzas. Whatever. I can’t be certain this is, indeed, the “Famous” Ray’s, nor do I care. The fact is that there’s something about the cheese they use in concert with the texture of the crust that makes this:
There’s a somewhat famous Pizza joint on Bleecker Street called John’s. It’s in all the guide books. The pizza is decent and worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. Many years ago, legend had it that it was frequented by Woody Allen. Once, I was standing at the urinal in the men’s room and saw that someone had written “HI WOODY” on the wall at eye level. I thought of poor Woody Allen reading that while taking a piss and it made me laugh.
On another visit to John’s, Lou Reed and his then wife, Susan, came in and sat in the booth behind me.