There are a number of places that I just don't get—bakeries, noodle shops, and pizzerias I try to revisit every now and again on the off chance I've visited on an "off night." New Park Pizza has long been one of these places. I just could not see what all the fuss was about. On a recent visit, however, a light went on—like the gif above—and I finally got New Park Pizza. All for one simple reason.
New Park Pizzeria
In planning Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, I originally envisioned a chapter on "beach pizza," for pizzerias found along the boardwalk in places such as Ocean City and Atlantic City in New Jersey, and Rehobeth, Delaware. I eventually nixed the idea because my research revealed that most beach pizza is pretty awful (there are exceptions along the Jersey Shore that are written about elsewhere in the book). Another exception that I had to include is New Park Pizzeria, located in Howard Beach, Queens, right next to Kennedy Airport. New Park Pizzeria is the paradigm of a beach pizza joint....
As a New Yorker, I'm unfit to make the call on whether or not we have the best pizza in the world. It's against my basic upbringing to even entertain the notion that our pizza, bagels, pastrami, and hot dogs aren't the best. But if you, as a visitor to our fair city, want to make the call for yourself, you should start by getting the best that the city has to offer.
Paul Giannone, the wonderfully-obsessive, always outspoken, former-IT-guy-turned-pizzaiolo of Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint makes one of the finest—if not the finest—pizzas in the city. So when he buzzes you up and says, "hey, I'm going on a tour of my favorite pizzerias in each borough, wanna come?," your answer is not, "sounds fun, let me check my calendar," or "I don't know if I can keep up with you this time," your answer is "I will defy the laws of physics and perhaps my wife's will to go with you, when do we leave?"