When my sister and I first moved to New York, I had one major goal above all else. Eat good pizza. Find my dream job? Maybe. Forge my own path in life? If it comes up. Feel as though I’ve come into my own as an adult and a human being? A nice-to-have.
New York is, of course, known for its pizza. This would surely not be a difficult task. Well let me tell you: it wasn’t. Because most pizza here is better than fine. And we moved into an apartment like 30 feet away from an extremely good pizza place. This is not a story about that pizza place. Because it changed hands a few times and now it’s kind of weird. Like they lost their “A” rating with the health department for a while and we didn’t want to eat there anymore, and then when they got it back it felt weird to go back in, like “oh you just want to support us when we’re definitely not cooking in proximity to rat feces.” It’s a whole thing.
Anyway yeah, this is about our second pizza place, three blocks down. We started ordering from them after we felt too uncomfortable going to our first love. And that’s when we discovered our new favorite weekly ritual: the full tray grandma.
I had not had a grandma pizza before moving to New York. I’m from Chicago, I’m not sure it’s made its way out there yet. Y’all, the people out here are on some wild pizza shit and I’m here for it. You can walk into any random corner joint and find no less than four types of ‘za sitting under heat lamps and ready to go. It was in our random corner joint – the first one – that we discovered and fell in love with grandma pizza.
Grandma pizza is a little thicker than a thin crust pie; sauce and cheese intermingle rather than sit in a defined relationship of one on top of the other. Basil’s there too, and they’re ready to party. But what really makes it grandma is that it’s square. It’s made in a square pan. It’s cut into squares. Chicagoans, I know you are no strangers to the square slices, you would love this, get on it.
But back to my point. Ever since falling in love with our new place’s pie, we just sort of slipped into a pattern of ordering a full tray grandma pie every Friday night. What started as a “should we do this…?” quickly turned into an expected weekly feature. It was one of our first regular New York things. A comforting punctuation mark on a long week of making this place our home.
You may be wondering when this becomes a coronavirus story, and I’m afraid it’s now because hey holy shit everything is different and our lives look nothing like they did before. It’s getting warm in New York City. Our phones are surfacing “On This Day” photos from just last year of us doing fun things outside. But we can’t go to any of our favorite places, or see any of our favorite people.
But god damn it, our pizza place is open and delivering.
I know there will not be a normal after this. At least not for a long while. I know that a lot of people will want to sell us on the idea of “normal” and “after,” and that a lot of people will want to buy. I also know that I don’t want to see my favorite places wither and die because of this. And I know that this is fucking hard for everyone.
I don’t know what it’s worth to feel normal again, if just for an evening. Or if not normal, then at least comforted. But it’s at least $22.95 plus tax and tip. Thank god for you, Friday pie.