Originally posted by UncleVic
Everyone knows it's in the water..
WARNING: Serious NY Chauvinism follows:
I think, honestly, that NYers just have a better sense of what good bread (and by extension, pizza crust) is than most of the rest of the country. I attribute it to the city's status as an international crossroads -- immigrants from all the great bread countries passed through Ellis Island.
When I used to spend a lot of time down south I'd see ads for bread where they'd have innocent 5-year-old waifs talking about how SOFT and LIGHT the bread was and it would almost make me physically ill. In NY we have solid, manly loaves like Italian and French country breads, German pumpernickel and Jewish rye. Not to mention the REAL bagels and bialys here (not those steamed jokes they sell at donut stores.) These are breads that you can break a tooth on, that aggravate TMJ, and that when dropped imperil the phalanges of anybody not wearing OSHA-approved footwear. I'll gladly take my bread with those steel toes -- Mary Janes are for little girls.
Many pizza makers outside the few bread oases on this continent seem to try to replicate the squishy abomination they know as bread in their crust. It is getting better as time goes on, but when many Americans prefer frozen pizza to store-bought, or at least think it's just as good, it's clear that some serious education is in order. And don't get me started on the sauce -- but I've had people from outside the NE describe Pasta Primavera as "spicy" and mean it...
I am not doubting that it's possible the best pizza in the country might be found in Arizona. But I think it's very sad that that might be seen as remarkable.
Okay -- I just read Venezia's web page and the Bianco's article and it turns out both places' founders are from NY. So obviously they have a good sense of crust.
P.S.: Just to start another Holy War here, when I say "NY-style" crust, throw New Haven in there too (heck, that's where my favorite pizza is from.) There may be significant differences between individual pizzerias in each city, but the general types are much closer to each other than either is to, say, the prevalent style I used to see in Jacksonville FL, Columbia SC and other towns outside the "bread belt."