Satisfying a niece's jones for some city life, we trekked out to Brooklyn yesterday to eat the best pizza I've ever had. DiFara is a little nondescript joint in a nice little neighborhood, nothing you'd ever notice if it wasn't pointed out to you. There, Dominick DeMarco has been crafting pizzas the old-fashioned way for more than 40 years: boiling fresh tomatoes, importing three kinds of cheese from a certain town in Italy, growing his own basil on the window ledge.
Where to find the best pizza is a topic of endless debate in NYC, and you can't go wrong with any of the top five or seven places people will argue for. But for my money, DiFara is the best, both for the taste of the pie, and the very satisfying experience of eating in Dominick's homey little joint.
In recent years DiFara has built up a huge following, having been featured in several high-profile reviews, including Mr DeMarco pictured on the cover of The Village Voice. Yesterday I overheard a walking Brooklyn stereotype yelling into his cell phone: "Yeah, I'm in Brooklyn! Eating pizza! It's the fuggin greatest pizza evah!"
We also went to the Brooklyn Museum, to check out the new (to me) entrance that is being touted as Great Public Space. Um, okay. Nice modern glass public space apparently stuck on to old classical building. Interesting building, strange effect.
We didn't end up seeing anything at the museum, not being in a patient or artsy mood. But from there, we wandered into Park Slope, where I lived when I first moved to the city, and where Allan and I first lived together. We drank coffee and walked around looking at the beautiful houses.
Then back into the city to meet a nephew, brother of aforementioned niece, both in town for a family event, for more wandering, plus eating and imbibing. A nice day, plus two Things To Do Before I Leave New York checked off the list.
Great Expectations. My last few "goodbye" excursions were a little disappointing, but that was a function of sights being overhyped, or over-anticipated in my own mind.
The Merchants House Museum is an interesting place, a rare opportunity to visualize how wealthy 19th Century New Yorkers lived. But after intending to go there for 15-some-odd years, then seeing it in all of 30 minutes, I was bound to be a little disappointed.
That was my own fault. But the Frank Gehry-designed Conde Nast cafeteria somehow looked better in photographs than it did in person. It's an extremely unusual and cool-looking room, no doubt about it, but these photos are more eye-popping than it is. Same for the Brooklyn Museum entrance. Nice, interesting, but... where's the greatest public space to be built in New York in 25 years? Hype ruins so many experiences.
Regardless, I'm glad I'm checking out these things and checking them off my list. I don't want to leave New York with a long list of things I meant to see.