My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
While I was standing at a counter at Pizza Wagon, I looked around me at the diverse group of people in the place and realized the magic of pizza. It brings people together from all walks of life. There were high school kids, construction workers, elderly couples, and young families all enjoying the wonder of a good slice. No troubles here. Just good old fashioned New York pizza.
I also wondered if most of the people in the crowded seating area lived in the Bay Ridge area because I was actually a visitor. Not sure how many of those this place gets. I had come to this residential neighborhood in Brooklyn (which I really love every time I visit) to find a great slice of cheesecake. I also ended up with a great slice of pizza.
Pizza Wagon is not a place I would have wandered into on my own. It looks like any other old school pizza joint. But I had read some articles about people who lived in the neighborhood (like Allison Robicelli) who proclaimed it a superior piece of pizza, especially for a late night visit.
Part of me wondered if I would be underwhlemed with this slice and if the devotees really loved the place for nostalgic reasons or if it was because of a drunken stupor. I was stoned cold sober and had no memories of this place from adolescence and yet I still fell for their slices.
I ordered both a Sicilian slice and a round one. They were $2.50 each and I needed to do the proper testing. The round slice tasted better than I expected. The tomato sauce wasn’t just an afterthought and while it didn’t have chunks of tomato, I could actually taste the acidity. That was balanced with the richness of the buttery cheese. My only complaint here was it was a bit stiff and when I attempted to fold it (as any good NY pizza eater would do), it broke in half and didn’t make the entire fold.
The Sicilian slice on the other hand didn’t have too many problems (I didn’t try to fold that one). Here, the tomato sauce was even more pronounced. The edges were charred with some nice crispy browned cheese and the soft doughy thickness contributed to a very pleasant textured experience.
I must have walked by a dozen other pizzerias on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge. Most of them were empty at this off-time of 3pm. But not Pizza Wagon. There’s something happening here. Granted there is nothing gourmet or overly special about the pizza, but it just tastes good. And it brings people together. And isn’t that what New York pizza is really all about?
Is Pizza Wagon the best pizza in NY? Probably not the best, but it’s a perfect example of the NY slice and it tastes cheesy, doughy, and bright. It earns a well-deserved 8 out of 10 in my book.
|8610 5th Avenue (between 86th and 87th Street),
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn