Reader John DeFore wrote in yesterday to let us know that another Ray's Pizza has vanished from New York City. Fork in the Road announced the closure. Panic ensued, as this shuttering follows the loss of the very first Ray's on Prince Street.
But all may not be exactly as it seems.
Until yesterday afternoon, a sign on the door said that the pizza shop, a beloved fixture on 11th St. and 6th Ave., had closed due to a rent increase. That sign is now gone and there is another notice in the window--a Department of Buildings 2012 illuminated sign permit which states that the wording on the sign will be: PRIMA PIZZA.
Notice also that only pieces of the shop's existing signage have been removed--namely, the RAY'S parts. Only "Famous Ray's" has been torn from the facade and cut from the awning, leaving behind PIZZA and OF GREENWICH VILLAGE (plus two oddly unmolested apostrophes, one on 6th and one on 11th).
Rather than a rent-related closure, this appears to be the result of another skirmish in the ongoing war over the name Ray's. Gothamist had this story in June: "a group called USA Famous Original Ray's Licensing Corp. trademarked the name in 1991 and wants a slice of the action coming out of the The Famous Ray's on Sixth Avenue and 11th Street."
It appears they won.
Village Voice close-up
So Ray's of 6th and 11th won't be Ray's anymore. But it might be becoming Prima Pizza, which is actually the same company.
A quick search for Prima Pizza Corp, with the address of 465 6th Avenue (at 11th), reveals it's been in business here since 1988 under the name Ray's (though the company president is named Manjindr). So this Ray's was a Prima in disguise all along. There's another Prima Pizza in Queens and another in Bayonne and another in Passaic. Is it all the same company--or will we soon see the battle for Prima?
Whichever way this is going, I still can't fathom what they plan to do with those apostrophes. Not to mention the The's.