Thursday, June 13, 2013

I should've posted this letter from Jeffrey Lewis a long time ago.

This letter I got from Jeff Lewis is the best email I've ever received and was the entire letters section of the final issue of Slice Harvester Quarterly. Seriously, it is so good, and it was really exciting to get a fan letter from him because I am a big fan of his and have been for years!

Okay, 

Well I'm slowly savoring Slice Harvester zine # 6, because that's the East Village issue and that's the not only the neighborhood I grew up in but is now the neighborhood I once again inhabit, so I was really looking forward to reading this issue, essentially saving it for special occasions and only reading a few reviews from it every day or two.  So I'm not even done with the issue, but there's a few  things I must comment on, at length (sorry).  Not complaints, just long-winded commentary!
 

1) Iggy's, on 1st Ave between 12th and 13th.  This place IS my childhood pizzeria, although it has gone thru many changes since those days 3 decades years ago.  It used to be Rosemary's, and in my mind is still Rosemary's - According to my own family legend, Rosemary (I assumed that was her name) and the rest of the people who worked there used to call me "The Calzone Kid" or even "The Calzone Baby" because I was such a fan of their ham & cheese calzones, even at a very young age.  This was also the very first place I ever saw a video game.  It was Pac Man, and I was very compelled by it because the arcade shell/frame/whatever you call it had images on it of the bad guy robots from The Black Hole, which had nothing to do with the disappointly dinky content of the game... they also had a "Breakout" arcade game there for some time in the early 80s (that was the precursor to Arkanoid) and at some points a pinball machine, and I think this was the pinball machine that involved the devil and literally gave me nightmares as a kid because it had a built-in "devil" voice that would say scary things like "I got you!"  All through the years, into my young adulthood, even when the place was in it's "Five Roses" name phase, this remained the ONLY place I would ever eat a calzone, especially after a couple of horrible calzone experiences elsewhere.  The calzones at Rosemary's/Five Roses were so superior to all other calzones, it was like a whole different food.  Holy cow, they were absolutely amazing.  Now that this place is called Iggy's, there is part of me that is absolutely overjoyed it still exists at all as a pizza shop and has not turned into a Starbucks (yet), but the fact that Iggy's does not make calzones is a personal tragedy to me.  Those calzones I guess are gone forever.  However, Iggy's currently has the best eggplant slice in the neighborhood by far, in my opinion.   I was glad you gave them a 7-slice pizza rating, just for old times sake, in fact I think this may be your highest-rated pizza slice for the entire East Village, nice for me to see that my old childhood pizzeria is holding up so well against all newcomers.

2) Concerning "Famous Joe's" pizza at 7 Carmine St (Bleecker & Ave of the Americas) - this is a tricky one.  I could be remembering things wrong, but I think this is an IMPOSTER place.  Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.  There WAS a "Joe's" pizza on the CORNER of Bleecker St., just a few storefronts down, and in days of yore it really was an excellent, top notch NYC street slice pizza joint, it was like the Slice Harvester ideal, and I always held it in very high regard.  At some point, perhaps within the past ten years, a competitor opened up just a few storefronts away, calling itself "Famous Joe's" and capitalizing on the well-deserved respect of the real Joe's, suckering in people who had heard that they should be looking for a great pizzeria on the block called Joe's - but this "Famous Joe's" was an imposter, and not as good as the real place on the corner.  Now, the original place on the corner has closed, replaced by some absolute nightmare yuppie desert-snack boutique or some such gentrification, and all that remains of Joe's is this imposter place "Famous Joe's" which is NOT in fact the actually famous one.  This "Famous Joe's" still probably serves the best slice of pizza for a few blocks around, but it is not to my mind a really exceptional slice, and definitely not as good as the original Joe's.  Am I having a paranoid fantasy?  
ALSO - anytime I'm on that corner, I can't resist walking into Bleecker Street Records JUST TO SEE THE CAT.  They have two cats, both grey, one of which is the fattest cat you have ever seen in your life, and the other one is even TWICE THE SIZE OF THE FIRST ONE.  So even if you walk in and only see the lesser cat, you'd still say "that's a huge fat cat, I'm glad I came in and saw him," but if you were lucky enough to see the bigger one you'd be taken aback at the size of that fat fuck.  It's a tourist attraction that I ALWAYS take visiting friends to see if they are in NYC. 

3) 2 Bros Pizza on St. Mark's Place - I'm really glad that we're on the same page with this one, I am a big fan of this $1 slice although I know you are often against the $1 slice phenomenon, this place has a really good slice for a buck and I was worried you were not going to see it that way when you finally arrived there.  I actually eat more of this $1 slice than any other pizza nowadays - I get at least one of these slices EVERY time I walk up St. Mark's Place - you can't afford NOT to!  BUT your review left out an important factor - there are actually TWO 2 Bros Pizza places here on St Mark's Place, and they are easy to confuse with each other because they are right next door to each other.  It's very strange, I know, but it's an important distinction.  They have different storefronts, different interiors, different employees, and most importantly different ovens - it is literally two different places, and should be judged separately.  In my experience, the one which is further west is way better than the other one.  You wouldn't think this could be the case, but it is.  Every time I recommend that people eat the $1 slice on St. Mark's Place I have to be very careful to specify they only eat from the 2 Bros which is two steps further west.  You need to go back and review which ever one it was that you missed, and specify which is which.

That's all for now!  keep up the great work!
Jeffrey

 Isn't that wonderfully thorough? Jeff is on tour in Europe right now or I would post about upcoming shows or something. If you ever get a chance to see him play, do it! The dude is a genius and a gem.

5 comments:

  1. Awesome, especially the tip about the cats in the record store.

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  2. Jeff Lewis is an amazing musician, songwriter, cartoonist and illustrator. Now I can add Pizza Aficianado to the that growing list.

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  3. I went into the "Famous Joe's" (the one that is still there) a long time ago, back when both of them were still open - I asked why they were two, and they said they thought they had to close the first one so they signed a lease on the second store, then didn't end up needing to close the first, so they both stayed open. But of course this is the story from the potential imposter, so who knows if its true. They had very similar pizza when they were both open, and the one that's there now still tastes more or less like the one that used to be on the corner. It also used to have a few tables, which I don't think it has anymore. Anyway...it's no Como Pizza.

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