I think I phrased it that way because since peps's opened in 1925 I consider it one of the oldest pizzerias in the united states AND the better than any of the oldest pizzerias in NY.
Oh, you're preaching to the choir there. Lombardi's (1905) and Totonno's (1924) are an embarrassment. At least, they are presently. 5-10 years ago, they might have given Pepe's a run for their money, but not now. Not the Pepe's pie I tasted.
Just to be clear, while places like Pizza Town have a trivial level of historical significance. (first slices in NJ), from a historical perspective, NY style deck oven pizza, even the 'classic' 'archetypal' pre-1990 pizza that I referred to earlier, is relatively meaningless. At least, meaningless in the circa xxxx context. The Neapolitans invented the tomato and cheese pizza, and the NY coal folks were the first to bring it to the new world, but the deck ovens put pizza on the map, and, for around 30 years, consistently made pizza that blew 99.999% of what passes for pizza today out of the water. It's these holdouts (Johnny's, Pizza Town, New Park) that are dying embers in a what used to be a roaring pizza paradise. NY is a vibrant domestic Neapolitan mecca, but for NY style, it's close to extinction. After tasting Pepe's and doing some research on CT pizza, I can't help but feel that NH didn't experience the same chain induced downfall that NY did- that NH isn't overrun by dollar pizza. Or maybe they did slide a bit, but not as much. Even if the stunning photos I'm seeing of CT pizza are completely nonrepresentational, from my Pepe's experience alone, I can say that NH has a massive leg up on present day NY.
The NY style in the NY area candle will never completely go dim, but I don't think it's going to improve much any time soon. I would guess that, for the next 10 or 15 years, individuals in other parts of the U.S./world are going to have to hold the torch. Then, when great NY style pizza has almost completely disappeared from NY, you'll see a resurgence. Like real ale, you'll have 'real pizza' and it will be big again. That's how I see it.