If a NY style pizza operator decides all of a sudden to make NY style pizzas using a natural starter, that operator will continue to call its pizzas NY style. And, no one is going to be able to stop them, no matter how passionate they feel on the matter.
Peter, how many pizzerias sell 'Neapolitan' pizza that is absolutely nothing like real Neapolitan pizza? Does this mean that authentic Neapolitan pizza is doomed? That we, as a community stop trying to preserve it?
Various members may have particular issues with aspects of the VPN rules, but this forum has a surprisingly well defined view of Neapolitan pizza. No one's saying it's baked for longer than 2 minutes, no one is saying it's traditionally made with anything but 00 pizzeria flour and no experienced member posts photos of what they consider to be Neapolitan pizza that anyone ever disputes as being authentic. New members may walk in not being on the right page, but that typically ends very quickly if they stick around. Collectively, we know the truth, and the public, for the most part, does not.
The countless fraudulent 'operators' who market faux Neapolitan pizza have no bearing here. The collective Neapolitan wisdom here isn't influenced by public ignorance. We influence the public. I've already started to see the effects of this influence beginning to manifest themselves on other websites. Is everyone in this nation, this world, eventually going to know what authentic Neapolitan pizza is? I doubt it. Does this forum have any chance in influencing even appreciable numbers? I don't know. But just because a restaurant owner is perverting history and falsely redefining tradition doesn't mean that we have to just roll over and accept the perversion.
The same unified and cohesive manner that this community approaches Naples can be applied to the manner in which it approaches NY. In many ways, it already has. John Q. (and Mary T.) forum member have a far far clearer picture of NY style pizza than the public. But we can go considerably further. Just because NY is inherently more difficult to classify, just because it's never really had a Marco equivalent for NY style, doesn't mean that we shouldn't attempt to respect the tradition. Do I pretend to be that 'Marco equivalent?' Absolutely not. I have gaps in my knowledge of NY pizza history that I know that Marco (and Omid) doesn't mirror on the Naples side.
But I do know, just as a guy that eats a crapload of pizza, and has talked about it with countless people, that sourdough is not a part of NY style history, not a part of it's tradition. It's my hope that, just as this forum, and the Italian authorities, have been respectful towards Marco's presentation of his area's culture, it can be respectful towards mine.
The unified Neapolitan voice of this forum didn't come about through the actions of moderators. It wasn't policed into effect. A special sub forum wasn't formed. It happened because knowledgeable people shared their experiences, and others resonated with that wisdom. Truths, no matter the stature of the people stating them or the amount of pain they generate, tend to survive. If one single person, after reading this thread, says "maybe NY style pizza is
defined by the tradition, by the history, and, maybe, sourdough isn't
a part of it" then I have achieved my goal. When you're up against entrenched beliefs and cronyism, you celebrate whatever victories you can get, however small. I'm in this for the long haul.
Look at the .1 recommended thickness factor on the dough calculator tool that you know darn well makes my blood boil and that you've refused to do anything about. How many members, at this present moment, believe that NY style should be .1? How many believed it last year? It may take years for this community to see the light on this issue, but the truth always wins.