When I used to live in NYC, I used to average about a slice a day. Not too great for the diet, I know, but I’m a slave to the slice. Now I’ve been to so many pizza places in this town, and I’ve eaten out of coal, wood, brick, and gas ovens, and even though it’s not one of the fancy places, Joe’s Pizza has one of the best slices anywhere on this planet.

Back in late 2004 the city started to freak out because we heard that the original spot on Carmine and Bleeker was closing due to rising rents. Sure, they had another storefront on the same block (the place used to get so busy I guess they needed another counter), but it was sad to lose this cornerstone location. What made it even more insulting was that it wasn’t a Starbucks or Quiznos that took over the rent, but another pizza place - part of the Abitino’s chain that you can eat at JFK airport. It set-up a cruel joke that could be played on hundreds of tourists who come looking for an “authentic” slice. Do they go to this shiny new franchise (complete with the Italian colors) on the corner, or do they walk up the block a little for the real-deal?

Well it looks like they don’t have to answer that question anymore, as Abitino’s seems to be permenantly closed for renovation, leaving Joe’s to stand alone in victory!
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(From Joe’s website, here’s the original storefront and the now vacant Abitino’s)

Joe’s pizza doesn’t come out of a coal oven like Lombardi’s, but it’s still cooked to crispy perfection. Their sauce is rich, and a little sweet but not too sweet, and their cheese doesn’t weigh down the slice. It’s a pizza that you can fold and walk home with, or you can just chill and eat it right on the curb (it does get quite packed in there). My dream is that they just buy the old place back, but it shouldn’t matter just as long as people continue to support this local treasure. Movie buffs may like that it’s the same “Joe’s” where Peter Parker worked in Spiderman, but this is one case, where I just couldn’t care less - for me, slices come before cinema, and I’ve been going to the place years before Toby became a delivery man.
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The good news for people living in Los Angeles is that there’s a new Joe’s on Ocean Ave., right near the Santa Monica Pier. I will check that out just as soon as I get back to the west coast
Here’s the buzz about the Bleeker/Carmine shutdown:

slice ny
Gothamist