Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pizza Box


It happened. Pizza Box is gone, the windows covered in brown paper. The following photo appeared this morning on Facebook.

photo: Raphael D'Lugoff, on GV Kids 1960s

A comfortable neighborhood joint, beloved for its large backyard and good slices, Pizza Box opened in 1957. We first heard the news from DNAInfo in April that the place would be closing and that Spanish fast-food chain "100 Montaditos" would be moving in.

"It's affordable elegance with charcuterie and jamon at a reasonable price," said the franchisee.

I went in for a last slice. Later, a reader told me that Pizza Box would not be closing. That, obviously, turned out not to be true.

To Hell with Bleecker Street.


Anonymous said...

the 100 montaditos chain (there is one in every freaking city) is considered 'crap food' in Spain, cheap, prefrozen, sort of a Taco Bell if I had to compare.

It's the affordable alternative for 18-year-olds to have a beer while they gobble micro-'bocatas' (bocata = kind of a sub sandwich), traditionally called 'montaditos' in southern Spain.

As soon as they get some sense or money, they start going to the traditional tascas and have some real food with their beer and wine.

Oh, and if they do export all their wonderful idiosincrasies with them, they will call your name over an annoying loudspeaker when the food is ready. No matter how tiny the premises, they will also use the f***ing thing.

Not worse really than the average fast-food joint, and probably not worse than Pizza Box itself (never tried it) but an eyesore compared to it and with none of the charm.

I don't know how it will fare on that spot, but I'm pretty sure that it won't last 56 years there and nobody will make a blog post about it when it leaves...

What a pity.

Anonymous said...

I've been eating at Pizza Box once a week on average for the past 3 years or so and the owner assured me they are not closing. He said they're just getting a new pizza oven and fixing the place up. He said they'd be closed through August.
I don't know what else to do except to see how it goes.

Priscilla said...

I do believe that the Pizza Box was the last surviving relic of my years living on Bleecker Street. I've been gone for 12 years now and often think I should plan a trip back "home" if nor nothing else than to eat at all the wonderful restaurants that sustained me years ago. No point in that now. Bleecker Street is nothing like my home from years ago.

I've really missed the food since there is little on offer here in Florida that is not fast food. The Pizza Box provided me with an affordable, nutritious, filling meal more times than I can count while I attended NYU and worked in Murray Hill. Another piece of my past and the richness of NYC gone.

Unknown said...

Jeremiah, this is so sad. Not to say this was the best pizza in the world as Joe's is my easy favorite, but I loved coming here for a beer and a slice on the back patio (sometimes personally supplied beer, but I digress) Where else in the hood can you get a back patio chill spot for a $2.75 investment. To hell with fast food mexican (damn qdoba is up the street for your "afforable" mexican) I will miss you, pizza box, with your questionable pizza and cheap beer.

Little Earthquake said...

There's a lot of crap pizza in this town, but the Pizza Box was pretty reliable. I liked that place, sad to see it go. I wonder if the owner cashed in, or the landlord.

As for the chain place...anyone notice that (for instance) Qdoba is closing all of its Manhattan locations? They opened one down the street from Pizza Box a few years ago.

I wouldn't mind chains so much if they actually stuck around a decade or two. Instead they move in, do their damage, and leave.

Anonymous said...

probably last went to pizza box on an unseasonably warm winter day in 2005 or 2006. i remember sitting out back along with a few other new yorkers grateful for a nice day, reading and listening to the birds chirping. the slice wasn't anything stellar but definitely serviceable. i remember leaving and thinking, "i must come do this more often whenever i'm near bleecker."

and that's the shame of it, really. it's not just about losing places that you frequent regularly. it's about losing one more piece of the fantastic new york mosaic that you can always rely on, no matter what neighborhood you find yourself in. an accumulation of familiar, comforting places -- part of a network in your mind -- that only comes with the work and investment of giving your lifetime (or at the very least a part of it) to a city.

Marty Wombacher said...

Wow, I had a lot of slices at that place. One more place I won't be returning to when I come back in October. The list is getting pretty long.

Anonymous said...

WOW. That's sucks.

The pizza box was one of these old school NYC pizza places and one of the few left. (now of course it's 99 cent 2 Bros pizza) but this had the old Manhattan city feel to it.


BabyDave said...

Anonymous 9:53 – Sure hope your guy was telling you straight about reopening at summer’s end.
Anonymous 11.59 – Very nicely put.
That back patio is a sweet spot. A slice and a soda got you however long a nice, tranquil break you cared for

Anonymous said...

Having been born and raised in New York City, words cannot describe the frustration and devastation I feel as I watch all of its history and culture be disrespected, disregarded, and erased.

Anonymous said...

People keep complaining about these changes and I get that. But the reality is that more people want and like these changes. They want the chains. They want things that remind them of growing up in the country's heartland. They want the comfort foods and stores they grew up with. If they didn't these new businesses would fail. Instead, many are expanding.

This is what our mayor is giving us. What the majority want. He also realizes that very successful people like himself demand certain things too. Amenities. A city that works. Safety and security. Clean streets and nice parks. Top schools. Great restaurants and shopping. What is wrong with having these things? Everyone benefits from them. Instead of being confined to the Upper East Side like in the old days, they're all over the city now, making it much better than it was before.

If you are a New Yorker, ask yourself when you go vote this fall, do you want to go backwards or forwards? More housing, more nice parks, more excellent restaurants and retail outlets? More of all the things that people appreciate when they come to New York? Or more of the bad old days when the population fell and people were ready to leave the city for dead, like Detroit?

No president would dare tell New York to drop dead these days. Instead they all come begging, hat in hand.

Grand St. said...

Hospitals closing, the City selling off library, school and NYCHA property, the middle class getting squeezed out, but at least the 'successful people' have the 'amenities' they want and people from the heartland have the chains that make them comfortable. That's how a city 'works'? SMFH.

Last anon - I'd suggest you ask yourself before voting who avails themselves of these amenities ('excellent restaurants,' 'shopping' (!)), this new housing and the 'top schools', but you already know the answer and don't care about the ACTUAL majority.

So go for Quinn or Lhota, but be careful what you wish for. Rich folks have heart attacks, too, and there's no hospital serving today's lower west side.
...and when there's another Sandy, we're all going hat-in-hand to whoever the President is.