I don't see it so much as N.Y. style pizza v/s whatever, but what is both regionally accepted and customer accepted. You can have a blond colored N.Y. style pizza, that is a given fact, no, you cannot have an authentic N.Y. style pizza without the char. In this case we're catering to customer demands/preferences, not what's authentic or not. This is what separated home pizza bakers from retail establishments, especially the box stores. At home we can make whatever we want, however we want it....if you don't like it, tough! But at the store you can't do business that way, so like it or not, we've got to prepare and serve the pizza the way the customer wants it, it may not be to our liking, but then again, we're not paying for it either, we're just paid to make it their way. This is frequently a serious road block to "newbies" just getting into the pizzeria business. One of the things that I always tell someone interested in opening a store (pizzeria) is that you must be like an honest politician (whatever that is), you don't have a vote in the matter, but instead your job is to represent the desires of your constituents (by giving them the pizza that they want).
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor