How the Slice Joint Made Pizza the Perfect New York City Food

Jan 19, 2019 305

BY: Korsha Wilson

Pizza can be a great divider in New York. In fact, one of the easiest ways to get into argument (without end) is to name a “best pizza in the city.” But at the same time, pizza — specifically the reheated, foldable, portable slice — is one of the city’s great uniters. There is no culinary experience that New Yorkers share more widely and more unanimously than the slice joint. Like catching a sunset over the skyline or stepping in an icy curbside puddle, the slice joint has, since its beginnings more than 50 years ago, become common currency.

The price has changed over the decades, but the scene and staging remain much the same. Look at the crowd of New Yorkers and tourists alike bundled in winter coats on a recent Wednesday night at Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street. The pies at Joe’s, which opened in 1975, are considered among the city’s best. See how the customers rotate in a perfect line through the door and up to the glass case, their orders ready and their money in hand. 

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