Monday, July 11, 2011

Friendly Gourmet Pizza: "No part of the name of this place has any resemblance to actual real life."

The other day I had the most post-internet experience I've ever had in my life. More post-internet than the handful of OKCupid dates I went on a few years ago (that's right, I'll own up to it)! I recently became aware of Internets Celebrities, a duo of native New Yorkers who make thought-provoking, oftentimes hilariously insightful videos about a variety of topics, most relating to New York City. Their most recent work, ostensibly about the rumored correlation between the price of a slice and the price of a single subway fare, but actually a biting commentary on the lack of services provided by the MTA despite consistent price increases. Their succinct findings: "The MTA is essentially charging us $2.50 for a $1 slice."

A week or two ago, Rafi Kam, one half of IC, twortled on twerter inviting strangers to meet him for lunch. I think I was the first and maybe only person to respond, and so a short few days later, we met up outside Friendly Gourmet Pizza to get a slice. Two strangers, joined by one common trait: an abundance of time on the internet. Would we butt heads, would a fast and enduring friendship form? My mind was full of questions as I made my way down the stairs of my building to unlock my bike and head to Nassau Street.

Sadly, when I got downstairs, someone had locked my brake cable into their u-lock! I was aghast and furious. In a hasty act of defiance, I took a permanent marker and wrote a note across their top tube that said "BE MORE CAREFUL NEXT TIME" and then got onto the J train, afraid that I might be late and miss out on meeting Rafi.

On the train, the reality of my situation began to set in: I had just deliberately vandalized a bike that my bike was still locked to. Ergo, I would likely return to Brooklyn to find my bike vandalized. There was no question that the party responsible for my misfortune got off easy. Locking up someone else's bike is an amateur mistake, and sharpie washes off easy enough. But I had set myself up to be the recipient of easy vengeance, and I was none too pleased with my own rash and amateurish behavior.

This picture was taken on a prior pizza mission, when I got to Friendly Gourmet too late and it was closing for the night.
By the time I got to Friendly Gourmet, I looked a mess, and I was feeling like a total greasy weirdo. I was positive this stranger would see me for the loathsome shitbreather I am and would turn around in disgust at the very sight of me, but I held my ground and stood around outside the pizza parlor, which was tiny and cute, with a constantly moving line out the door. There was no seating to speak of, just a hastily assembled "countertop jutting out of the side of the building. As I waiting for Rafi, I was transfixed watching the flow of people moving in and out of the tiny storefront, the line out front ebbing and flowing like the tide. The place was cute as hell and they seemed to be running a pretty professional operation. I was getting excited to try the slice, and pretty soon all my concerns melted away. By the time Rafi strolled over I was cool as a cucumber and we stepped inside to get our slices.

I got a plain slice and Rafi got a grandma slice (not pictured). Mine smelled good and looked like it could be anywhere from passably decent to absolutely great, but I knew it wouldn't be bad. This slice had too much sauce, but otherwise, it was totally good. The sauce taste was a little overwhelming, but I think in a more moderate quantity it could definitely be a more subtle component in the complex flavor of a good slice, as opposed to the edible equivalent your hamfisted, slightly drunk uncle who is nice when he's sober, but who, after his fifth beer, talks too loud about uncomfortable subjects on Thanksgiving. But even with the sauce acting like a dickhead, the quality of the rest of the slice shined through! The cheese, while nothing to write home about was actually decent. That shouldn't carry the weight that it does, but it seems that these days most pizza places are using pretty crummy ingredients. The dough was crunchy and maintained it's integrity. The crust was crunchy enough without being brittle, and salty enough, which is really all you can ask for.

Rafi didn't seem too awed by this piece of pizza, but he hasn't been in the trenches like I have. (No offense, dude!) Compared to most of the shit they are slinging in this town, this slice is incredible. I know I've said this a million times, but in my dreamworld Crimethinc Utopia ruled by a kindly wizard, a slice this good would be the worst pizza around. However, in our sick fucking society (SFS), where everything is so backwards that "progressive" media outlets discredit sexual assault survivors and support defense contractors, and in Oakland the BART cops seem to kill someone every time there's a holiday, there is obviously no justice or sanity, so most pizza sucks and this pizza, which is by all accounts totally good, just not great, stands out as a shining beacon of hope amidst the shit.

Fuck the world.


Friendly Gourmet Pizza - $2.50
59 Nassau St (at John)
New York, NY 10038

I got so worked up being angry about the pervasive rape culture and systematic violent oppression in this country, I forgot to talk about what happened to my bike! Are you ready for this? Take a deep breath...

Nothing. Nothing happened. My guess is that whoever was unobservant enough to lock my brake cables was also unobservant enough not to notice that I had written across their top tube in permanent marker! I was thinking on the bus ride home from my girlfriend's house that night that if I saw them, I would offer to wash off my graffito if they paid me the $9 I had to spend in public transit costs because my bike was stuck to a pole all day.

Also, while I'm talking about the pervasive rape culture:
Attn: All Male-Bodied Dudes! Every time your cousin or your coworker or your best friend from high school or your neighbor who you are having a beer with on the stoop makes a rape joke and you don't say shit, YOU are personally responsible for creating a climate in which survivors are not taken seriously. Don't forget that.


  1. love the downtown attention lately, keep on coming!

    financial district resident

  2. Quite liked it actually - I like a saucy slice. I'm just stoical and had to ponder for a while.

    I don't know if you saw my tweet that day or the next but I said I preferred Friendly Gourmet over Rosetti's. (obviously small sample size on both)

    Dining with strangers is clearly the big winner. Especially if they're pizza experts and good conversationalists.

  3. Yeah, Rafi, that was real fun! A+ social experiment.

  4. the BART shooting didn't happen in Oakland it happened at the Civic Center station in Downtown San Francisco.

  5. Hasty writing, conflating too many tragedies. Sorry about that.

  6. Linked from Serious Eats/Slice, and came just to peruse the pizza, but seriously, thanks for the truth re: rape culture.