There are plenty of advantages to living in New York City's East Village: almost-unlimited dinner options, easy train access, vibrant street life, and access to near-daily farmers' markets, to start. But if my husband and I ever moved out of the neighborhood, one of the things we'd miss most is our proximity to pizza. And not just the trendy spots like Motorino's Manhattan branch. We'd really miss the ever-solid slices from our most convenient slice joint, Stromboli Pizza on St. Marks.
They're open late (till 4 or 5 a.m.) and there's good turnover most hours of the day and night. I usually order a plain slice, and since it's the pizza I eat most often, it's something of a benchmark for me. The crust is well-seasoned, crisp underneath and chewy on the edges. The sauce and cheese mingle nicely, and the top's just faintly greasy in the way you want it to be (especially post-drink or mid-hangover.) This is not the best pizza in the city, but it's a classic New York taste memory for me, one that's likely to linger long after we've left the first apartment we ever shared.
For a change of pace, I sometimes opt for the Margherita slice ($3.75). It's a simple olive-oiled crust topped with slabs of sweet mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan, torn fresh basil, and lots of chopped garlic. Each slice also has a few canned tomato halves on top. This isn't the kind of pizzeria where I'd expect fresh, in-season tomatoes, but I do wish they'd cut the canned ones a little smaller, since they slightly overpower the more delicate crust and cheese.
83 St. Marks Place, New York NY 10003 (at First Avenue; map)