PATSY's in East Harlem (1933) - Coal oven pies, take-out window or full service restaurant, possibly America's first "slice"
Patsy's, East Harlem
One day each summer Patsy's rolls back prices to 1933 levels, plus they host a pizza-eating contest between the cops, firefighters, and EMS workers.
Patsy's, East Harlem - Pizza-eating contest
L&B Spumoni Garden, in Gravesend, Brooklyn - In business since 1939, L&B’s best pizza is their square: it's saucy and sweet, and combines a top pillowy top with a crunchy bottom.
L&B Spumoni Gardens, Gravesend - In the eyes of many native-Brooklynites, L&B is a pizza institution of the highest order.
L&B Spumoni Gardens, Gravesend
Checking a pizza for doneness at L&B Spumoni Gardens, in Gravesend
The pizza crew at L&B Spumoni Gardens, in Gravesend
A customer entering John's Pizza, in Elmhurst, Queens
This mother and daughter team, who together run the show at John's Pizza in Elmhurst, are a rare example of female pizza makers in NYC.
John's, Elmhurst gets a solid burst of business after school every day - and it's been that way for years.
The Sicilian slice at John's Pizza in Elmhurst is perhaps the standout offering here (though the regular slice is good too :-).
A bit of downtime at John's Pizza, in Elmhurst
Mark Iacono, a stone-mason-turned-pizzaiolo, makes sublime pizza at Lucali, his small restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Mark Iacono grew up just around the corner from Lucali, his pizza restaurant, and so employs many kids of his old friends at the restaurant.
Not that you wait long for your pizza once seated, but if you watch the cooking go down at Lucali, you'll witness a beautiful slo-mo performance of pizza making.
Domenick De Marco is perhaps New York's most famous pizza guy - and for good reason: he takes standard New York pizza (both square and round), and elevates it well beyond that of the average joint.
Dom De Marco puts finishing touches on a square pie as customers salivate and wish it was theirs.
Di Fara Pizza is a family affair. Here, one of Dom's son's chisels apart a hunk of cheese, while square pies with stretched dough rest in the foreground.
Di Fara's Square pie: unique and amazing.
It's rare to find slice ready with no need to wait for it, at Di Fara Pizza, in Midwood, Brooklyn. My suggestion: try on a rainy or cold weekday in the middle of the winter.
Totonno's in Coney Island has perhaps the best rendition around of New York pizza baked in a coal-burning oven.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Totonno's co-owner and lead devotee Louise "Cookie" Ciminieri, along with a crowd from the press.
Cookie Ciminieri, co-owner of Totonno's. She's the one who runs the place, which was opened by her grandfather in 1924 and has had just 5 pizza makers total in the past 90+ years.
Plain pizza at Totonno's, in Coney Island. But be sure to try the white pizza also :-)!
Carmine Gaudiosi slices up a to go pie at Sal & Carmine's on the Upper West Side, where a string is used to secure the box closed like at an old school bakery.
Sal & Carmine's owner Luciano Gaudiosi, slides a steaming pepperoni pie into a box.
One bite missing from this regular slice at Sal & Carmine's - I guess I couldn't wait for it. S&C's pizza has an added saltiness perhaps due to the inclusion of grated cheese in the red sauce. Amazing.
Carmine Gaudiosi and his nephew Luciano, at Sal & Carmine's, on the Upper West Side
The plate-sized pizzas at Motorino in the East Village (and in Williamsburg) are things of beauty (and of top notch good ingredients).
Motorino owner Mathieu Palombino in the kitchen at his excellent East Village pizza restaurant.
Close-up of Motorino's clam pizza, where the clams are shucked to order just before baking.
Motorino employees prefer their family meal pie on the spicy side.
Luigi's Pizza on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park harkens back to the idyllic pizza shop of many New Yorkers' youth: it's friendly and social, affordable, and most of all - both of its crusts - square and round - are fermented properly and treated with care.
The frontman at Luigi's Pizza is Luigi's son, Giovanni. His sister does much of the prep work in the kitchen.
Pizzaman at Luigi's in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Luigi's "Supreme" pie has sweet soppressata, green pepper, fresh garlic, and plenty of herbed olive oil drizzled on at the finish.
The round pizza at Luigi's has a perfect balance of crunch and chew. This slice was made with fresh tomatoes from Luigi's Staten Island garden.
Some people dispute Lombardi's claim-to-fame is that it is America's "first" pizza shop, but that shouldn't matter. The huge oven is completely coal fired, the pies are made with top notch ingredients, and these guys can sure churn 'em out in big numbers for the crowds.
A lunchtime "margherita" pizza at Lombardi's, in Little Italy.
Lombardi's top notch clam pie, fresh out of the oven.
"C'mon you can finish that!" - at Lombardi's Pizza, in Little Italy