In planning Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, I originally envisioned a chapter on "beach pizza," for pizzerias found along the boardwalk in places such as Ocean City and Atlantic City in New Jersey, and Rehobeth, Delaware. I eventually nixed the idea because my research revealed that most beach pizza is pretty awful (there are exceptions along the Jersey Shore that are written about elsewhere in the book). Another exception that I had to include is New Park Pizzeria, located in Howard Beach, Queens, right next to Kennedy Airport.
New Park Pizzeria is the paradigm of a beach pizza joint. You order at the counter and take your slices to the outdoor eating patio in front of the restaurant. There's a small heated room in the back where people eat their pizza in cold weather. The guys behind the counter are invariably teenagers from the 'hood, and they wear their baseball caps backward, but don't be alarmed; they're reasonably friendly. The pizza comes out of a super-hot gas oven that produces charred-on-the-bottom, crisp-crusted slices topped with just a little too much good commercial mozzarella.
New Park Pizzeria
Address: 156-71 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach NY (at the corner of 157th Street; map)