Posts tagged with k. ryan jones
Pizza That Never Sleeps (Even in a Hurricane)
When Hurricane Sandy, with her innocent name, plunged New York City into infinite darkness, officials warned New Yorkers to be prepared: Stay inside. Stock up on tuna. Do whatever it took to feed yourself when the bodegas shut down. But in the city that never sleeps, there are certain things held to be self evident — even in a hurricane. One of them is that you’ll always be able to get a slice of pizza.
New York City Pizza makers didn’t take that expectation lightly. All over the city — whether they were operating on a car battery, a generator, or just giving out slices cold — pizzerias worked to keep New Yorkers fed. At Motorino, in the East Village, owners operated by candlelight. At Joe’s, in Soho, staffers used flashlights to peer into gas-fed ovens to see when their crust was baked. At 11B, in Alphabet City, they gave out slices cold. And at Lombardi’s, in downtown Soho — the first licensed pizzeria in America, opened more than 100 years ago — manager Gilbert Soto walked in, found a bit of coal in the oven, and decided to abandon the electric mixers and begin producing Lombardi’s famous thick-crust dough by hand. “They were just happy to come here,” Soto says of his staff, who trekked in from all over the five boroughs. “They said, ‘Hey, if we got a way to get there, we’ll make it.’”
At first, Soto’s pizza men worked under candelight and headlamps. Then they rigged up a power inverter to a car outside to fuel a few light bulbs. By Thursday, they had an intricate setup of batteries to power lights both inside and outside the restaurant.
Staying open through a blackout and a storm? It’s probably not the most cost-effective strategy. But in the city that never sleeps — and the pizzeria that’s fed it for more than a century — New Yorkers could find a bit of comfort in Lombardi’s perfectly cooked crust covered in melted cheese and tomato sauce.