Howard Beach, Queens, NYC: I Think I Finally Get New Park Pizza
Anyone who loves eating out has run into a HIGHLY ACCLAIMED PLACE that just doesn't do it for them, no matter how many times they try it, and retry it, and then try it again. Heck, any mention of Di Fara Pizza on these pages brings out as many haters as hagiographers.
There are a number of places that I just don't get—bakeries, noodle shops, and pizzerias I try to revisit every now and again on the off chance I've visited on an "off night." New Park Pizza has long been one of these places. I just could not see what all the fuss was about. On a recent visit, however, a light went on—like the gif above—and I finally got New Park Pizza. All for one simple reason.
You have to ask for your slice well-done. This intel wasn't new to me. I'd had longtime New Park partisans pass on this tip many a time, but I'd either forgotten it or had assumed that my slice was well-done just because it was hot from the beast of a brick-lined oven there.
But ask for it well-done, and they'll take a slice from a slice pie and throw it in their second set of ovens for a spell. The bottom will come close to being burnt. It's not, though. Just adds a bit more flavor. The cheese will brown and crisp in spots. The slice will have some serious pizza-burn potential—but you won't care. You will eat that slice and immediately order another.
That's not to say it's the most AMAZING slice out there. Just that it's pretty damn good—when it's on (quality control there is supposedly "wack"). Much better than all the other times I'd swung by on the way to or from JFK (because it is in a perfect location for a pre- or post-airport snack).
I had almost written New Park off. I'm glad I stopped by on my way back from Bensonhurst and Staten Island last week.
New Park's Salty Crust Explained
I'd long thought New Park had a saltier crust than usual. But I had never noticed why. "Pizzablogger" points out on the Pizzamaking.com forums that they throw handfuls of salt onto the bricks of the oven before cooking a pie.