Walter, I'm dead set on oil
At least, personally. As far as the authenticity of oil goes, that's a difficult question. The most vocal anti-oil delegation is the legendary coal places. Patsy's, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, John's, Tottono's- none of those guys will touch oil. It's important to bear in mind that when talking about NY style pizza, I don't include coal in that spectrum. For me, coal is pre-NY style pizza or Neo Neapolitan. Once you start looking at the (for the most part) less legendary NY style slice places, I don't have any first hand experience with formulas, but, based upon how oil effects crumb and appearance, I'm relatively certain that the vast majority of them use at least some oil. There is a quantity of oil, that, as you approach it (4% to 5%), the oil becomes discernible in the crust. I've never witness that in a NY area pizza. A little oil (1% to 3%) seems to be the norm, though.
But oil definitely promotes more even browning- and, in my experience, doesn't seem to impact crust crispiness all that much. In fact, for a while I thought oil might actually promote crispiness, but now I'm not certain. Deep frying seems to produce crunchy food.
The extreme of oil is the kind of golden brown you see with chain pizza. I'm not emulating/striving for that. But there is a middle ground where you get a bit more even browning with oil. That's, for the most part, what I grew up with.
Since NY was born from coal, and coal was no oil, I think it's safe to assume that as you go back in time, no oil was more prevalent. Perhaps, since you pre-date me by a couple years, no oil pies were more the norm when you were growing up here.