September 8th, 2013. 2 days!!
Famous Joe's Pizza. Union Square.
Having worked up an appetite after what I hope to be the last of my errands, I figured I'd sneak in one last slice or two of New York pie. I went to the recently-opened second location of Joe's pizza - an NYC institution. After patiently waiting for my large take-out order, I opened it up and starting layering on all the typical toppings. Having barely sprinkled a nice dose of parmesan all over my pie, I hear the guy behind the counter howling at me - miss, come here! I sheepishly walked over, wondering what in the world he could be so upset at me over. He quickly closes the box, explaining that the pizza will get cold in minutes and that I should never open the box until I'm ready to eat it. He said he'd gladly give me containers of all the condiments I needed.
Ok, cute story - but what does this have to do with urban design? (These were my fiances exact words, by the way, when I told him what I was thinking about writing for my next to last blog in this series). A lot, actually. Pizza is so tied in with this City's identity. So is the way one eats it (i.e. folding it in half on a paper plate). And apparently, so is the proper way to take it out! Food is deeply tied into other places' identities as well - Philly's cheesesteaks, Kansas City BBQ, San Francisco's sourdough bread, etc. Food can elicit a powerful emotional response (today's pizza guy, a case in point) and can bring people together in ways the built environment alone doesn't. For that reason, food and urban design make quite nice bedfellows (and certainly helps me indulge in both my passions).
Just a few days from Shanghai, I wonder what food faux-pa I'll make there! I already know I have so far been incapable of ordering the right type of bao!
Photo from Serious Eats: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2013/03/review-joes-pizza-14th-street.html