Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Not Enough Dough
On March 27, 2009, I wrote of the legendary original Ray's Pizza at 27 Prince Street. Located around the corner from my office, I have frequented Ray's for over 20 years. I loved their pizza - classic with a few gourmet touches. Yesterday, when I recommended them to a customer for lunch, one of my employees informed me that would not be possible since Ray's had closed. When I asked to confirm that it was THE Ray's on Prince, she said yes, that it was the Ray's, and this was quite a big thing with plenty of local buzz.
I jogged out to see for myself with camera in hand, and sure enough, Ray's was not only closed, but there was absolutely no vestige whatsoever of its prior existence. Neither a smear of sauce nor a faded sign. After 52 years in business, it was another episode in New York City of the End of an Era. The closing involved a legal dispute. From the New York Times:
The closing, long story short, follows a legal dispute among heirs with various interests in the building at 27 Prince, which includes apartments and the two sides of Ray’s: the pizzeria and an Italian restaurant, each with its separate entrance, but sharing a kitchen and the corporation name, Ray’s of Prince Street. When the Ray in Ray’s, one of the owners of the building, died in 2008, a row arose over whether the restaurant’s lease was valid and whether it should pay rent. A lawsuit was filed in 2009 and settled this year.
I was sad to have missed their last day on Sunday and to not have met Helen Mistretta, the manager. According to the Times article, she did look for alternate space but cited extraordinary rents and cost of renovation as an impasse to moving to a new location. Instead, equipment will be sold at auction and mementos placed in storage. I will miss their pesto pizza - a rarity in town. The closing due to financial matters is a classic saga with the loss of iconic businesses that has been repeated around New York City many times. That's how the crust crumbles, when there's plenty of flour but not enough dough :)
Photo Note: Upper photo taken March 20, 2009; lower photo taken November 8, 2011.
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