Goodbye To My Ray’s Pizza

The First Essential Scary Truth

The Famous Ray’s Pizza has closed.

Not the Original Ray’s on Lexington and 60th or the Famous Original Ray’s at 39th and Lexington and certainly not the Original Famous Ray’s at St. Marks and 3rd Ave below the St. Marks Hotel.  And it’s not the Original Original Ray’s on Prince Street, that joint closed in September.

No, we’re talking about the Famous Ray’s on 6th Ave and 11th Street, the Original Ray’s to those of us from NYU’s Rubin and Brittany Hall.  While all the other Ray’s in the borough of New York fought over the name and which Ray’s came first or last or had the better slice and begged for pizza connoisseurs to sample their fare, our Ray’s was our neighborhood pizza stand.

Why my pals and I went there, I’m still trying to figure out.  Perhaps because it was close to Rubin Hall’s dining room.  When we got sick of being food poisoned, Ray’s was close I suppose.  The pizza wasn’t all that good.  Granted the average slice was huge, with hot tomato sauce and massive amounts of cheese but it was nothing special.  I preferred the slice at St. Marks Pizza on 3rd Ave.  My roommate Josh Machlin thought I was crazy and went for a slice at some other joint I can’t really remember.  John Ott (rest in peace) was a St. Mark’s man as well.  Rob Lawson loved Ray’s but I can’t remember why.

Although the slice was lousy, I did have certain affection for the joint.  It was calm.  Even during the 3:58am rush, the place never seemed to allow the manic drug and boozed filled energy to overtake it’s bright beige, white and red interior.  A clean well lit place to refuel after an evening taking in the Dantesque weirdness of the Meat Packing District, Far West Chelsea and the West Village.

The Famous Ray’s closed overnight earlier this week, leaving a sign in the window blaming a rent increase and therefore a lost lease as the reasons for the end.  It’s just as well I suppose.  With the Meat Packing District/West Village and Far West Chelsea a playground for the rich, famous and those who need to be in that refracted/reflected light, the truck stop that used to service those on their way to and from the West Side’s Circles of Hell is no longer necessary.

And I’m still trying to figure out where we are any the better or worse for it.

(Hat Tip: Steve Otero)

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