While I realize few people will be reading this tonight or tomorrow, I have some sad news to report: Five Rose's Pizza on 1st Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets is closing. Saturday (11/29) will be the last day.
The tip came in from The Shadow's Chris Flash who writes that the "pizza is soooo special, with that crunchy crust that no other pizzeria can accomplish. It reminds me of the pizza I use to enjoy in NYC as a kid that is no longer available."
I went to say goodbye and chat with Christina, the proprietor and cook, a warm and lovely person who will touch your arm when she talks to you and call you "honey" at least a dozen times. While I was there, people came to bid farewell, hugging Christina and posing for pictures. John from DeRobertis across the street came bearing pastries.
Christina has been at Five Rose's for 27 years. It was her first job when she arrived in New York City from Poland in 1981. Eight years ago she became the owner. Now the landlords and original owners are hiking up the rent and Christina must move on.
[UPDATE 1/09: A daughter of the original owner wrote in to The Villager to correct information in a letter: "The fact is that the store’s current owner informed us that she was not going to continue running the store and that she would be closing. Since there was no discussion about future rent, her rent was not increased! She just decided to close." Upon the shop's closure, her family displayed historic, personal photos in the window, as reported by EV Grieve.]
The neighborhood has changed so much, Christina noted. The sidewalks are crowded with kids come to get drunk. It used to take her 10 minutes to walk to the F train, now it takes 20, "And all the way, it's excuse me, excuse me--they're bumping into me, all the way down honey!"
Christina is looking forward to a much needed vacation of 6 weeks in Krakow to visit family. She hopes to move the pizza place to a new location by March or April, maybe on 4th Street and Avenue A. She'll keep us posted with a note in the window of Something Sweet, the bakery on the corner.
She laments the timing, and the fact that many people will come back to town from Thanksgiving and be shocked to find her gone. So if you're in town and not too stuffed with leftover turkey, go on Saturday when Christina will be setting up a table full of pies for all her fans--and while you're there, say a prayer to the Virgin Mary that Christina's crunchy-crust pizza will live to see another day.