On What Side Of The Brooklyn Bridge Do You Eat Your Pizza?
New Yorkers like a good – – discussion. This is evident at any sporting event you go to in the city. But it doesn’t stop at arguing balls and strikes. Other New Yorkers, this very minute, are debating the burning questions; Bridge or Tunnel? Balducci’s or Dean & Deluca? And of course, Gramaldi’s or Lombardi’s?
Differences are good. I can make a living as a motivational speaker because different people are motivated by different things. Let’s face it, if everyone was motivated by the same thing, we’d only need one motivational speaker. And guess what? It wouldn’t be me. The French say, viva le difference. But remember … that’s the French saying that.
One topic that New Yorkers can debate for hours is the question, who makes the best pizza? Ask 100 New Yorkers, who has the best Pizza in the city, and you would get at 100 different answers. But ask New Yorkers to name the top 10 pizzas in New York and it’s a different story. You’ll see a pattern start to emerge. Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s make everyone’s top ten list.
Lombardi’s, opened by Gennaro Lombardi, started selling pizza in New York City in 1905. Nobody has come forward to say they were selling pizza before then, so we can assume that Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in America.
Grimaldi’s nestled snuggly under the Brooklyn Bridge, has a very colorful history and a very loyal following. Garmaldi’s is the perfect starting point for late morning lunch excursion. This time we’re going to have a pizza at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and up to Little Italy and have a pizza at Lombardi’s. You can make up you own mind which of the two have the best coal fired pizza.
From Manhattan take the A or C train to High St. Brooklyn or the, 2, or 3 train to Clark St. Brooklyn. Grimaldi’s is at 19 Old Fulton Street. Ask any New Yorker you see how to get to Cadman Plaza. Keep asking until one knows. It doesn’t hurt to ask more than one New Yorker. You see New Yorkers are so friendly and want to help that they’ll give you directions even if they’re wrong.
Once you get to the park find your way to the NW corner. Follow Cadman Plaza West around and down under the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) and down to Gramaldi’s.
You want to get there (preferably not on a weekend) just before they open at 11:30. Order a pizza anyway you like it. Keep in mind that you will be ordering the same pizza later at Lombardi’s. My preference is cheese pizza with fresh garlic.
Be sure to read Grimaldi’s history on the paper placemats. After lunch head back to Cadman Plaza and look for the stairs leading up to the Brooklyn Bridge on Cadman Plaza East. Take about 45 minutes to cross the bridge, stopping to take pictures and read the plaques. There is no cost to walk across the bridge. See Top 10 Free things to do in New York.
The foot path lets you off in Manhattan at City Hall. The street right in front of City Hall is Centre Street. Turn right and walk north for 8 blocks to Walker Street. Turn right on Walker. I hope your not afraid of fish or the smell of fish. Where Walker and Baxter intersect there are some funky Chinese fish markets and the fish smell permeates the air. One more block though, and your at Mulberry Street at Canal. Take a left and walk up Mulberry Street through the heart of Little Italy. Walk 5 blocks to Spring Street. Turn right. Lombardi’s is one block down at the corner of Mott and Spring. That walk from City Hall to Lombardi’s is less than a mile. But remember you’ve had one pizza and are about to eat another. You need the exercise.
If the walk over the bridge was too much for you, take the number 6 train from City Hall to Spring Street. Go East on Spring Street for 2 blocks you lazy bum.
Order the same pizza you ordered at Grimaldi’s and make up your own mind as to who has the better pizza. Below is my humble opinion.
Lombardi’s wins in my book on many levels. Better sauce, better cheese, crispier crust, friendlier serves and the best jukebox selection I’ve seen anywhere. And if that weren’t enough, the jamooks at Grimaldi’s wouldn’t let me take a picture of their oven!
Both pizzerias use coal fired brick ovens (reaching temperatures over 800 degrees) and both use fresh mozzarella and the finest ingredients. Although Grimaldi’s puts more cheese on their pizza the cheese Lombardi’s uses has more flavor. Oh, the flavor. So if you don’t have a cholesterol problem order extra cheese at Lombardi’s. You still come out even, price wise, as Grimaldi’s charges for fresh garlic (a must) and it’s free at Lombardi’s. And even with extra sauce (the way I like it) Lombardi’s crust was crispier than Grimaldi’s. What’s the point of having thin crust if it’s not crispy?
Gayot’s List of the 10 Best Pizza in NY – Vinny concurs.
• De Marco’s • Nick’s Pizza
• Grimaldi’s • No. 28 Carmine
• Joe’s Pizza • Patsy’s Pizza
• John’s • Totonno’s
• Lombardi’s • Una Pizza Napoletana
There is no way you’ll ever get a consensus as to who has the best pizza in New York, but one place that does a fantastic job of trying to make sense of it all is, “Slice,” America’s favorite Pizza Weblog.
Caio for now
Often called the Tony Soprano of Motivational Speakers, Vinny works with groups that want to laugh while they learn.