Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Really, Really, Swear to God, Original Famous Ray's

Perhaps the most important thing I learned while living in NYC was that, if you wanted good, authentic New York pizza, you pretty much had to go to Brooklyn. With the exception of a couple of places in Little Italy, Manhattan pizza was more serviceable than memorable. I also learned that if you wanted to open a pizza place on the island of Manhattan you appeared to be contractually bound to name it "Ray's."

The city was full of Ray's variants: Original Ray's; Famous Ray's; Original Famous Ray's; Famous Original Ray's; Ray's Original Famous; Ray's Famous Original; The Only Original Famous Ray's; and, my favorite, near Chinatown, No. 1 Original Ray's Best Pizza on the Bloock (sic). Rumor has it that there once was a guy named Ray who made good pizza. A family squabble led to one branch of the family running one Ray's while another branch of the family tried to capitalize on the name. Soon everyone wanted a piece of the Ray's action, so that now the name means nothing. When I moved back to PA I breathed a sigh of relief that pizza joints all had singular and authentically Italian names like Pino's, Morrici's, Rocco's. Not a Ray's in sight.

I was slightly concerned last summer when a place named Ray's Pizza opened in one of our surrounding suburbs, but I was told that it was in fact owned by someone named Ray, so I figured this had nothing to do with NY Ray's and the whole Ray's mess. But when I went through today's mail, there it was, a flyer for Ray's Famous II. The floodgates have officially opened. Reader, beware: blink, and you'll find a Ray's on every bloock.


Scott said...

how many blocks are in a bloock?

Sexy Witch said...

"No. 1 Original Ray's Best Pizza on the Bloock" You should submit that to