We started our trip with a classic New York bagel at a historic New York deli…it just only felt right to end it with a classic New York-style pizza at a beloved New York pizzeria.
Now. We took our NY pizza very, very seriously. We even almost planned a full day of mostly pizzas. But because we are mere humans with insufficient stomach space (why couldn’t God have made it a few times bigger? Sigh…). And because it’s getting increasingly easy to get good pizza (yes, good!) in Los Angeles…We haggled and quibbled amongst ourselves until we finally shaved our big-ass list down to just one single pizzeria.
Dear New Yorkers, can you guess which famous pizzeria it is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s under the Brooklyn Bridge.
After our bacon-y, nutty, sweet frozen treat at Shake Shack, we headed towards the last eating stop of our trip: DUMBO.
DUMBO is also another very hipster-vibey town in Brooklyn. It’s a neighborhood that used to be very industrial-based and mostly dank with factories and warehouses. But now that those old industrial buildings have been reshaped into lofts and art galleries, DUMBO retains a unique, quirky characteristic that’s unlike other history-rich and brownstone neighborhoods in New York.
Because we needed to catch the bus back to Washington, D.C. that evening, we didn’t really have time to browse around. We charged straight towards our last meal of NY-style pizza.
We, of course, went to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
It’s been considered one of the “best pizzas” in New York City. It got so popular it’s got two more branches in Manhattan and a few more out of state.
Grimaldi’s fame is in the crust, from what I heard. They blast their hand-tossed dough in a super high heat coal-oven, which apparently sears a unique flavor and consistency into the pizza dough.
It’s not just a pizza chain though. It’s a landmark, like Russ & Daughters or Katz Deli. That’s why deep within our bottomless stomachs, we felt it was just so right to end the trip with Grimaldi’s.
We arrived a couple hours past lunchtime, but it was still humming with hungry customers and furiously working pizza-makers.
Tickets kept flying in, orders being shouted out, impatient customers were herded out the door because they were crowding up the entrance. We didn’t stay to dine in, so we were one of those pushed out the door.
Not every restaurant is lucky enough to get the traction of devoted fans that Grimaldi’s did, from both within the state and all over the country. But there’s something so appetizing about standing in the midst of such vigorous dynamics of cooking and feeding.
I think it’s part of a cycle; because there’s so much energy going on, more people get drawn in. And the more customers to feed, the fresher the ingredients and more practice the cook gets in flashing out pizza after pizza.
Before we were asked to wait outside, I managed to take a few pictures of the cook performing his expertise.
They seem to be very used to paparazzi like us. They just flashed us a bored “here’s another tourist” smile and continued tossing dough and flash-topping them.
I say “flash-topping” (not a word…is it?) because I could barely see their nimble fingers grabbing slices of fresh mozzarella and in less than a few seconds, slapping them in even patterns over the dough. They’ve clearly done this many, many times. No wonder their pizza is so good.
Finally, after several minutes, our pizza was finished.
We got the mushroom pizza, nice and simple. Love that it’s wrapped in a humongous paper parcel. Everything I see paper parcels, I want to sing “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music.
We carried the pizza and walked over to a park near the Brooklyn Bridge.
The mozzarella is just creamy and supple like a baby’s powdered butt. So fresh. And the tomato sauce? A-maz-ing~! It tastes as if Grimaldi’s has a tomato garden right out its backyard that they just plucked and crushed directly into the pie crust.
And yes, the crust is magic. It is chewy yet crispy with just the right amount of substance to hold all the zesty load of toppings on top.
This is bliss, baby, bliss.
It was perfect. We all had two slices each; one eaten sitting at the bench, the other folded over NY-style.
Carrying our folded second slice, we then walked towards the Brooklyn Bridge. So epic!!! We were eating a trademark New York pizza from a notable pizzeria on a landmark monument.
I’ve already been to the Brooklyn Bridge before, but I could always go on it over and over again! I wish I could just jog across it every morning. Preferably with a slice of Grimaldi’s pizza in my hand.
The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge was shorter than I remembered. It stretches out from Brooklyn to Manhattan at 1.8 km, which is just about a couple hundred feet over a mile’s length.
Turn your head to the right, and you get a magnificent view of the Manhattan Bridge as well:
Or you can look down and see the motley of tin cars just zooming past below you in swarms.
I did a little research and learned that the bridge construction started in 1869 and was completed in 1883. That kind of blows my mind, and it hit me especially as I walked across it just how flabbergasting this monument is. It’s a grandiose architecture that is a testament to the ingenuity of the human mind, not to include the sacrifice made by thousands who died while building it. I just can’t believe this project was accomplished almost 150 years ago and it still stands today, carrying tons and tons of vehicles and human beings across the East River.
We humans are so strange. We have such powerful yet frail minds. It takes so much yet so little to make us happy. Just a random thought that entered my mind as I walked this gorgeous bridge.
I think it took us much less than an hour to cross this bridge. Thankfully, we made it to the bus station in time. Before long we were settled back in a Greyhound bus (dude, their buses are much improved from the last time I rode them!) and on our way back to my parents’ home.
I hope to be back. And look out for the next post! It’s going to be a round-up video; basically a 4-minute summary of our NYC trip.
Question of the Day: What’s a landmark food/building/location in your neighborhood?