CIZ28, I think, for the most part, we see completely eye to eye, but there are a few areas where our perspectives differ.
What they're making at that place is basically just a NY Style/Margherita hybrid.
Sure some people like it and owners like it because it's cheaper and easier to make than say Totonno's or Grimaldi's pizza, but coal oven "style" pizza is the original NY pizza. Some people have labeled it "elite," but it's not. It's just the correct way to make it.
Coal, especially in NYC, because of the innate nature of the inconsistent oven, is crap shoot pizza. One customer might get a sublime pie, but the next might get a pie that's incinerated. The deck oven came along and resolved the consistency issue with the coal oven. This is why there's only ever been a small handful of coal pizzerias. Coal was an inherently flawed beta test. NY was and is Pizza 1.0. Coal is the horse and carriage, NY is the car. NY fixed coal, and, because the new technology was so vastly superior, it was able to bring consistently earth shattering pizza to the masses. The Neapolitans might have invented the cheese and tomato pizza, but NY, armed with it's thousands of deck ovens, brought pizza to the world. Unless you're in Chicago or Naples, NY style IS pizza. Look at the top right of this forum. Ask 95 out of 100 Americans to describe pizza and NY is what they'll describe. Whenever you see pizza in TV or movies, it's always NY style. Everything else is niche.
Coal is pre-NY style pizza. It plays a vital historical role, and, when you're one of the few lucky customers to get a correctly baked pie from an establishment that gives a crap (a rapidly diminishing entity), it can be one of the best pies on the planet, but, it's not NY and it's not 'elite.' Just because coal began in NY and is the pre-cursor to NY style pizza, doesn't mean that it earns the right to be called NY style.
How often do you hear the term 'horseless carriage?' During the fledgling years of automobiles, the term 'horseless carriage' initially gained some traction because the American public needed to perceive innovation through the eyes of it's precursor, but it eventually died, because a car is too intrinsically different to a horse and carriage, too intrinsically superior, just as a deck oven is too intrinsically different to a coal oven. Deck oven pizza IS the innovation, it IS the car, and like the car, it gets it's own label- NY.
Now, deck oven pizza, as you're brutally aware, is not all good. It has seen far far better days. I think we can both agree on the fact that most of what passes as NY style these days is garbage. The degeneration has been so encompassing that NY style has, for a younger audience, been redefined. I've struggled with ways to classify redefined NY style, using terms like pre-1995 or post-95, old school, new school, fast baked or slow baked, or just simply good NY style (old) or bad (new). If there's any hope of bringing this sacred treasure back to a greater audience, a distinction is critical. The barrier that I'm running into, though, is that, for an entire generation of New Yorkers, the slow baked orange blanket stuff IS NY style, and, while terms like 'NY elite' are mostly confined to this forum, which, imo, makes them easier to challenge, the perception of post-95 pizza as 'NY style' is held by millions of younger New Yorkers. To tell millions of New Yorkers, "your pizza isn't NY style, the pizza from 20 years ago is NY stye" is pretty daunting, so, I've tended to prevaricate.
I think, though, that the time for prevarication is over. It's going to be an uphill battle, but I'm not calling post-1995 7-15 minute baked pizza 'NY style' any more. Just like coal doesn't deserve the label, neither does the post-95 aberration. Coal = pre york, orange blanket = post york. While I don't see faux York, usurper pizza going anywhere anytime soon (you wake up and there's a new dollar slice place almost daily), if this area is going to see any more Pizza Towns, any more New Parks, a line in the sand has to be drawn.
Which is why, when you use the term 'hybrid' to describe Pizza Town, even though you're using it in a complementary fashion as a way to delineate it from the orange blanket stuff, it gets my panties in a twist
The orange blanket stuff doesn't get the NY label. It doesn't represent my city. Pizza Town is one of the purest representations of NY style pizza you can find. At least the purest representation of NY style in the way I'm defining it now
As far as crispiness is concerned, no offense, but I think you're looking at this through a bit of a central NJ lens. Trenton style pizza should be crisp, and NY can be crisp, but it doesn't necessarily have to be crisp to be great. It can be puffy and chewy and still be quite sublime. While I do not subscribe to the The Pizza Cognition Theory
, I do believe that certain preferences can be imprinted in youth, and, even though the pizza I grew up on was quickly baked (and usually a bit charred), it was frequently soft, even straight out of the oven. For the majority of people lucky enough to be around during NYs golden age of pizza, puffy generally trumps crispy. This is a large part of why I push people towards generally softer 4 minute bakes, while, at the same time, explaining that crispy lovers should bake their pizzas longer.
Re; boxing... I do prefer eating whole pies in person, but if the pizza is made well, I don't think boxing inherently trashes pizza. Again, though, we've got different glasses in regards to crispiness.
Thanks for the background on the BPs. I've long known that ovens have lost a great deal of their gusto in recent decades, but it's nice to hear someone else confirm it with specifics. If the original style DS-805s are that common in the area, then it's an even greater crime that Pizza Town bake times are that scarce.