City of Pies
An Early Look at the New York Pizza Project
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The New York Pizza Project is the combined effort of five friends — Corey, Gabe, Ian, Nick, and Tim — born and raised in New York City to investigate and catalogue the narrowing sub-culture of pizza parlors in the city. Though it is about pizza, they say, “it’s not about food” — rather, what lies behind it: the makers, the shops, the blocks, and the eaters. They provided us with some photos and talked to us about what pizza still means to New York. — Jack Seemer
We grew up in pizza shops. Birthdays, weekends, the odd night out — they were always there for us. Dependable and delicious. Places to chat with family and friends, or seats to have a slice and watch the city’s tale unfold through the window.
Paper plates. Soda fountains. Fluorescent lights. Still today, it all conjures feelings of a New York brand of joy. Many shops have been around for 40, even 50 years; but none are safe from the wave of change that governs the city. Rising rents and shifting demographics have caused many joints to close shop, some of which we only remember from our childhoods.
In 2010, sensing this threat, we started the New York Pizza Project and began scouring the city for the pizza of our youth. It’s taken us across all five boroughs, to over 100 shops and counting. Our goal is to place stakes, in some way preserve what’s left. The result is a collection of anecdotes and portrait photography that captures, as it still stands, the most New York of New York institutions. Here’s a taste of what we found.