The 6 Train
The 6 train runs between Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and City Hall in Lower Manhattan. The route we know today went into effect in December of 1920. From north to south, it runs through Chinatown, Little Italy, Midtown, the Upper East Side, and Harlem before crossing into the South Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven and Port Morris. After the Hunts Point Avenue stop, it goes above ground, crosses the Bronx River and terminates at Pelham Bay Park, where you can either explore the park or catch a bus to Orchard Beach (the “Bronx Riviera”) or City Island.
Two of NYC’s original pizzerias are easily accessible via the 6 train. Since 2000, several Neapolitan-style pizzerias have opened all over Manhattan and the Bronx, some of which are located along the 6 train. There’s even Roman-style and star pizza in Kip’s Bay.
Patrizia's of Manhattan
La Grata (3 Av – 138 St)
Located in the newly revitalized Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, La Grata serves traditional Italian food in a modern setting. The restaurant opened in 2016 and is just a short walk (or one stop on the 6 train) from Manhattan. Pies come out in less than three minutes. Their Italian-made ovens can reach up to 900 degrees.
Patsy’s Pizzeria (116 St)
The walls at Patsy’s are lined with pictures of famous guests who have dined there since they opened in 1933. They include a who’s who of athletes, entertainers, and politicians, but the Frank Sinatra portrait stands out the most. It is, after all, more than double the size of the rest.
The restaurant itself is a cash-only, no-frills dining experience. It’s not difficult to imagine Frank Sinatra or Mayor LaGuardia dining there long before credit cards existed. Slices are sold to go next door, but the dining area only serves whole pies. The crust, however, is thin enough that you be able to eat a whole pie yourself. Like other classic NYC restaurants nearing their centennial, there’s a full menu, but the pizza is still the main attraction.
If you don’t feel like walking from the subway station, take the M116 bus to First Avenue.
Marta (28 St)
Located in the upscale Redbury Hotel, Marta is far removed from old-fashioned New York City pizza joints. They specialize in Roman-style pizza, which has a cracker-thin crust. Oven temperatures range between 700 and 900 degrees. When the doors close at night, the ovens remain hot. In fact, the fires have burned since Marta opened back in 2014.
Patrizia’s (23 St)
Patrizia’s started out in the Bronx and now has locations in every NYC borough except for Queens. The Manhattan restaurant is located along 2nd Avenue in Kip’s Bay. All pizzas are available in a star shape including the Nutella pizza. If you’ve never mixed Nutella and mascarpone, try the Nutella pizza with mascarpone.
Ribalta (Union Square)
Ribalta has the most convenient location in this list. Just a couple blocks south of Union Square (the place KRS-One raps about in “The Bridge Is Over“), Ribalta is a very short walk from seven different subway lines. If you show up during a soccer game, the staff may be a bit preoccupied, but the pizza is worth the wait. If you’re one of those people who have trouble deciding between Nutella pizza and tiramisu for dessert, try the babamisu!
Lombardi’s (Spring St)
Their website is firstpizza.com. Lombardi’s started as a grocery store on Spring Street in 1897. In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened what the Pizza Hall of Fame acknowledges as the first pizzeria in the United States. They do not sell slices, and although the price of a small pie is 370 ($18.50/$0.05) times more than it was back in 1905, there is often a line around the block. Like many other classic NYC pizzerias, the walls are lined with photos of celebrities who’ve dined there over the years.
Interested in Bronx Tours?
Do you agree with my list? Have other suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below!