Pizza in my Heart

May 3, 2012 at 7:35 am | Posted in Playing with Food | Leave a comment
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pizzaThis past week, my favorite local pizzeria closed down.  The owner decided after 20 years to move the business to a larger space about 2 miles away.  For him, he was moving on to bigger and better things. To me, it was the end of an era.  I was happy to get my last slice on the last day.

As a New Yorker, born and raised, I have always had a strong connection to my neighborhood pizzerias.  I had birthday parties at my local pizzeria growing up, and when I was old enough to drive, I spent my school lunch breaks at the pizzeria.  I became very close to the owners of several pizzerias and made a lot of friends just by hanging out there.  I even called out to the pizzeria in my high school yearbook senior year.  The pizzeria was the center of much of my social activity, and when I went off to college, it was hard to adjust to not having that (and for those Western Mass college folk, Antonio’s just doesn’t do the trick.)

But the pizza runs deep in my blood, so when I came back to New York and moved into my apartment, it didn’t take long for me to connect with yet another local pizzeria and its owner.  I remember walking in there for the first time.  I had been recovering from an injury, unable to drive or walk well and had no food in the house. I came in with the dog to this small take out place and was welcomed immediately by the owner.  From that day on, I would never go to another pizzeria in the neighborhood.  It wouldn’t seem right.  He would always allow me in with the dog, and to top it off, he’d always give him a treat.  It got to a point where the dog would drag me to the pizzeria just so he could get his daily treat.  I still have yet to figure out how I’m going to explain to the dog that the freebies are over.

But good things have a way of coming to an end and forcing you to face what’s next.  The same time the pizzeria closed, our neighbors moved out.  We have known them for many years, and it made me realize how long I have been a part of this community.  I never thought I’d be here this long, and I have promised myself that after the wedding, we would be on the apartment hunt.  I hope to move on to bigger and better things.

But just like driving through my hometown, I will always remember this era in my life, this community, and the people who helped make me feel a part of it.

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