Joe writes in about the closure of Mariella's Pizza on 16th Street and 3rd Avenue:
"After 37 years, Mariella's bit the dust. I spoke to the owner and he was fuming over the long list of expenses, rent and rent tax being the biggest culprits.
He was so pissed as he explained it to me, you would have thought I was the one throwing him out. They had the best food hands down of any pizzeria around! They always hosted a brisk business no matter what time of the day I went there, but as he fumed, 'After a while, how much can I charge for a slice?'"
Back in February, I heard from Liz Solomon. She wrote:
"There is a pizza place on the corner of 16th Street and 3rd Avenue called Mariella's. It has been there since 1976. Everyone needs a place like Mariella's in their life or they need to go back to Iowa. Great slices, pies, and low-end Italian food.
Con-Ed workers came across the street in droves, kids from the extreme demographic divide of Friends Seminary and Washington Irving were after school slice regulars and there delivery business was enormous. I live in a medium sized building two blocks away and I could guarantee on any given night four or more Mariella's deliveries came through our building alone.
Then all of a sudden Mariella's shut down. This was about three weeks ago. They said it was due to a 'gas leak in the building' but nothing has happened and I don't see anyone working there. The metal gate has been down constantly. No one who generally knows everything that happens in the neighborhood knows anything.
If this is the end of Mariella's, it closes another door to MY New York and no doubt will open another for tourists and transplants and the kind of people who line up for farcical desecrations of the sacred bagel, the existence of which must be making my father spin in his grave."
Mariella's had reopened after the "gas leak," and then closed again for good, possibly in part to lost business during the forced closure.
Ever since the 2nd Avenue gas explosion, "gas leaks" have been killing small restaurants, shuttering them for months and requiring expensive upgrades. Is this necessary? Or is it the city asking too much of mom and pop? Why don't we ever see Starbucks shuttered due to a gas leak? Instead of the B&H Dairy, The Stage, La Taza de Oro, The Carnegie Deli, and other longtime locals? Someone needs to look into this.